Don’t Mess With the Data:
Virginia Burkett on Louisiana’s Vanishing Coastline
Welcome back to What About Water? with Jay Famiglietti! In the first episode of our fourth season, Jay sits down with renowned scientist and IPCC author, Virginia Burkett, to talk about technology, its pitfalls and its promises for a water-secure future. Burkett is the Chief Scientist for Climate and Land Use Change at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), where she’s worked for over three decades. She is based in Louisiana and is an expert in global change and low-lying coastal zones.
We also get an update from Jay after a busy summer and a sneak peak at the season ahead. Here is The Deutsche Welle German Documentary, which now has nearly 4 million views in English alone, and the “Water” episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that Jay mentions. If you have any ideas, questions or comments for our new ‘Ask Jay’ segment, email us at [email protected] and you might hear your question in a future episode.
Virginia Burkett is the Chief Scientist for Climate and Land Use Change at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). She is Co-Chair of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the Principal U.S. Alternate to the International Group on Earth Observations. Former positions at the USGS include Chief of the Wetlands Ecology Branch at the National Wetlands Research Center, Deputy Regional Chief Biologist and, more recently, Associate Director, Climate and Land Use Change Mission Area.
Prior to federal service, Burkett was Secretary/Director of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, where she had formerly served as Deputy Secretary/Director. She has also directed the Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Program and was the Assistant Director of the Louisiana Geological Survey at Louisiana State University. Burkett was a member of the Science and Engineering Board that helped produce Louisiana’s first Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan during 2010-2012.
Dr. Burkett has published extensively on the topics of global change and low-lying coastal zones. She was a Lead Author of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports (2001, 2007, 2014) and the IPCC Technical Paper on Water (2008). She was a lead author of the First, Second, and Third National Climate Assessments (2001, 2009, 2014) produced by the United States Global Change Research Program. She has co-authored assessment reports for The Wildlife Society, the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, the Everglades Task Force, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that address climate change impacts and potential adaptation strategies. Burkett has been appointed to over 70 Commissions, Committees, Science Panels and Boards during her career. She is a Senior Editor of the journal Regional Environmental Change and she serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Ethics in Science and Environmental Policy.
Burkett received her Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees at Northwestern State University of Louisiana and her doctoral degree in forestry from Stephen F Austin State University.
- 100+ Years of Louisiana Land Change for Coastal Louisiana | USGS (This is the map that Jay and Virginia discuss in the episode)
- Land Loss in Louisiana – FactCheck.org
- Data analytics and climate resilience | The Economist Group | SAS
- Ida left behind a water crisis in the Gulf | Grist
- ‘There’s no alternative’: Louisiana’s ambitious plan to stay above water | Grist
Virginia Burkett – Brook Ford