Global Climate Change

Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Jonathan T. Overpeck to Speak Feb. 27 at Ohio Wesleyan

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Jonathan T. Overpeck currently is conducting drought-related climate research on five continents. He is a member of the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and he is the author of more than 210 published works on climate and the environmental sciences.

On Feb. 27, Overpeck will visit Ohio Wesleyan University to discuss “Global Climate Change, Water Security, and Ecosystem Disruption: Higher Scientific Confidence than You Might Think.” He will speak at 7 p.m. in the Benes Rooms of OWU’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.

Overpeck, Ph.D., also is the Samuel A. Graham Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and the school’s William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor of Environmental Education.

In August, he was part of a team that used fossil records from around the world to explore how the planet’s vegetation changed during a period of post-glacial warming. The group’s mission was to project future ecosystem transformations under different scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we allow climate change to go unchecked, the vegetation of this planet is going to look completely different than it does today, and that means a huge risk to the diversity of the planet,” Overpeck said in an interview about the study. “We’re talking about global landscape change that is ubiquitous and dramatic. And we’re already starting to see it in the United States, as well as around the globe.”

In addition to his global drought research, Overpeck also studies climate and paleoclimate dynamics, ice sheets and the sea level, climate-vegetation interaction, conservation biology, legal issues related to climate change, environmental communication, and environmental education.

Along with being part of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (an honor shared with former Vice President Al Gore), Overpeck also has earned U.S. Department of Commerce Gold and Bronze Medals, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Walter Orr Roberts award of the American Meteorological Society, and the Quivira Coalition’s Radical Center Award for his work with rural ranchers and land managers.

His affiliations include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, American Quaternary Association, Ecological Society of America, Geological Society of America, and Sigma Xi (scientific research honor society).

Learn more about Overpeck at and follow his tweets about climate-related issues @TucsonPeck.

Overpeck’s Ohio Wesleyan presentation represents the university’s 30th Annual John Kennard Eddy Memorial Lecture on World Politics. The lecture honors the life of student “Jeff” Eddy, killed in an automobile accident in 1988. The event is sponsored by the OWU International Studies Program and the Department of Politics and Government. Learn more at and

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at