Early transplanting of rice under SRI, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. August 2018. Lakshmanan Arunachalam

A discussion with Climate Scientist, Sonali McDermid


Online Talk

Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 4:00 pm

In conjunction with Meteorological Mobilities

Climate change is here. We must act determinedly and equitably to minimize damages – we must mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, we must do that now while simultaneously living with changes already upon us and preparing for those that will inevitably come, and in short order. Some of these changes (e.g. rising temperatures) will demand that we be smarter, more nimble, and more responsible in managing our resources and designing our systems; we must adapt in a “climate-smart” way. Other changes (e.g. rising sea levels) may preclude adaptation in-situ, and force us to look for new places to live and work, either temporarily or permanently. In this talk, Sonali McDermid will discuss what we are starting to learn about climate adaptation, specifically across agricultural contexts for the “global majority”, major focus regions of her research. McDermid will also discuss a new project evaluating the role of climate change in human migration, which is wholly complex: though destabilizing to migration, climate change is often superimposed on existing precarity. Through these examples, McDermid will discuss outstanding needs and emerging thoughts for crafting a way forward in a climate, changed.


Sonali McDermid is a climate scientist and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU. Her research, which uses global climate models, crop models, and observational datasets, focuses on understanding how agriculture has transformed our climate and regional environments. She also served as Climate Co-Lead for the Agricultural Intercomparison and Improvement Project (www.agmip.org), which assessed the impact of climate change on food security and livelihoods across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. McDermid holds a B.A. in Physics from NYU (2006), and an M.Phil and Ph.D. (2012) from the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University in Atmospheric Science and Climatology. Prior to NYU, she was NASA Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NYC.