Rice University climate-change expert available to comment on record US drought

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Rice University climate-change expert available to comment on record US drought
Sass: Droughts like the current one are not an anomaly and are likely to become more frequent

HOUSTON — (July 26, 2012) — Ron Sass, a fellow in global climate change at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is available to comment on the United States’ record drought this summer.

“This drought is not a unique event,” Sass said. “Droughts are a recurring thing. However, climate change is making droughts more frequent. The world’s temperature is changing and making the world a hotter place.”

Sass said this will force the world to adapt and mitigate. “Adapt means living in a hotter and hotter world. To mitigate, we have to stop producing greenhouse gases.”

To view a video clip of Sass discussing the current drought and the interplay between climate and weather, see http://youtu.be/QBRk49bsANw.

Ron Sass on the 2012 severe drought

More on Sass:

Sass is a fellow in global climate change at the Baker Institute and the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Natural Sciences emeritus at Rice University. Now retired, he joined the Rice faculty in 1958 and served as chairman of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department.

Sass’ current research interests are in climate change, wetland environments and estuary systems; he has also studied wetland sources of biogenic radiatively active atmospheric trace gases. He was a co-convener of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme focus group on exchange of methane and other trace gases in rice cultivation. Sass is an active consultant and an expert witness in legal cases involving environmental issues. He consulted for the Environmental Protection Agency and advised the United Nations Development Programme Interregional Research Program on methane emission from rice fields in Asia.

His work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) helped establish guidelines and values for national greenhouse gas inventories throughout the world. In 2008, the IPCC presented Sass with a special certificate acknowledging his contributions to research on global warming that helped the IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

To arrange an interview with Sass, contact Jeff Falk at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.


Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.