Southwest Environment

Stories written by University of Arizona students

Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science
About the Instructor
Dr Melanie LenartDr. Lenart is an environmental scientist, teacher and writer.

Melanie Lenart is an environmental scientist and writer. Since 1996, she has dedicated most of her time to understanding how the planet changes with climate – and conveying this information to the public.

After receiving her Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Global Change (2003) from the University of Arizona in Tucson, she took a postdoctoral research position with the UA's Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, now the Institute of the Environment (IE). In this position, Lenart worked to inform a variety of stakeholders throughout the Southwest on climate variability and change.

Lenart also holds a master’s degree in forestry (1992) from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a bachelor’s degree in journalism (1984) from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Her scientific research has involved studying carbon cycling, the effect of high carbon dioxide levels on plants, tree-ring dating and tree uprooting dynamics. She has explored both physical and social questions working in subtropical, temperate and tropical forests.

From 1982 through 1996, she worked primarily as a newspaper reporter and editor, including at Puerto Rico’s English-language daily newspaper The San Juan Star and several papers in the Chicago area. Since then, she has continued to report on climate and its impacts for a variety of venues, including Landscape Architecture and Nature Reports Climate Change. She teaches environmental writing at the university and in workshops.

book cover Life in the Hothouse



In 2010, the University of Arizona Press released her book
Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change.





Global Warming book cover

In 2007, the UA Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) project published her book compilation, Global Warming in the Southwest.






For more information about Dr. Lenart visit her personal website