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Food Security in a Changing Hydroclimate

Jennifer Burney, Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego

Nov 6 2023 | 11:00am to 12:00pm PT Bren Hall 1414 / Online

Headshot of Jen Burney
Jen Burney

Jen is a leading environmental scientist whose interdisciplinary scholarship has unpacked some of the most complex and important linkages between a changing climate and global food security. Her seminar will shed light on understudied impacts of a shifting hydroclimate on agricultural systems, providing policy-relevant insights for adaptation. 
—Tamma Carleton, Assistant Professor, Bren School

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Agricultural adaptation is critical for achieving the twin goals of eliminating global hunger and stabilizing earth’s climate. Yet while the whole planet is warming, the evolution of hydrological conditions for crop growth is heterogeneous. Here I will present work from my research group on several underexplored dimensions of hydroclimatic variability – seasonal shifts, reliance on water from land versus water from the oceans, and hydrological impacts of aerosol emissions – and their implications. Each of these hydroclimatic changes poses distinct risks to agriculture and food security, but by starting from physical principles, each of these cases also leads to concrete priorities for adaptation.


Jen Burney is an environmental scientist and holds the Marshall Saunders Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Global Climate Policy and Research at the School of Global Policy & Strategy and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on the relationships between climate and food security – including quantifying the effects of climate and air pollution on land use and food systems, understanding how food production and consumption contribute to climate change, and designing and evaluating technologies and strategies for adaptation and mitigation among the world’s farmers. She earned a PhD in physics in 2007, completed postdoctoral fellowships in both food security and climate science, was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2011, and joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2012.

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