A West Virginia University professor is participating in the compilation of a prestigious international report on climate change.
Martina Angela Caretta, a feminist geographer and assistant professor at WVU, is serving as a coordinating lead author of the chapter on water in the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment, due out in 2021.
The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
Policymakers rely on their rigorous reports for the most up-to-date climate science.
Caretta is co-leading a group of more than two-dozen scientists assessing the existing research on water, climate change and adaptation.
“It’s a really rigorous scientific process in that we are expected to assess thousands of peer-reviewed publications and we are also going to be receiving and we’ve already received thousands of comments,” she said.
Caretta is from Sweden, but is the only scientist in the project who is currently working in West Virginia. She said she’s honored to represent the Mountain State, especially given the numerous ways scientists expect climate change to impact West Virginia’s water resources.
“I certainly think that my geographical positioning is very important, because when I write the report I think about the communities that I have studied here in the state and how they are experiencing the intensification of the hydrological cycle,” she said. “I'm also thinking about the fact that politicians in the state, not all of them, but at least for the widest majority of them, are not interested on acting on climate change, which should become a priority.”
Caretta has also been nominated by Sweden to be the coordinating lead author for another IPCC group, Working Group II, which is assessing the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity and the ways humans are adapting.