Photo above:  the SoMAS table at Stony Brook University’s CommUniversity Day.

Welcome to SoMAS! Or if you are a SoMAS veteran (you know, like me!), welcome back!

I hope you had a great summer, got a lot done, and are eager to get back to your good work! This is an exciting time to be studying and working at SoMAS. We have recently slightly reorganized, formalizing three Divisions (Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Sciences, and Sustainability Studies) within SoMAS, with three great Division Heads, in Brian Colle, Bob Cerrato, and Kate Aubrecht, respectively. These Divisions exist to help give our educational and research initiatives some organizational structure and leadership. But, otherwise, we resist any thoughts of a divided SoMAS!

Indeed, as discussed in our strategic plan, we are all about working with our colleagues in SoMAS and across campus on doing integrated studies of Earth environment challenges, such as clean water availability, food security, waste management, climate change and associated challenges such as ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries, sea level rise, storm surge and coastal flooding, and predictability of extreme events. The past year made it clear that climate change is here. As examples, July was the warmest year on record; the West Antarctic Ice sheet is thinning, and this summer, the Greenland ice sheet experienced record melt rates. But there is encouraging news on the New York State horizon, with the recent passing of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which mandates aggressive CO2 reductions for New York State, e.g. 40% reduction by 2030. This means both massive change and challenges for New York, but also great opportunities for new businesses.

This also means opportunities for those of us at Stony Brook University to help the State find viable paths to meet the exciting goals established in this law. And we have good ideas about how to do that. How exciting that Stony Brook can be a partner in building a better, stronger, economically vibrant New York State! And SoMAS endeavors to be a leader in this process. But, whether you are a marine science, or atmospheric science, or sustainability studies student, you should know (I think you do!) that you have made a wise choice in choosing a field that is about understanding and protecting Earth resources. The world needs you, literally! I look forward to meeting you, and contributing to and celebrating your success.

Go Seawolves!

Paul Shepson
Dean, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

P.S. We hope you can join us on the Academic Mall for Stony Brook University’s CommUniversity Day on Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 12 – 4 p.m

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