McMaster University, BA Sc
Duke University, MEM
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002, PhD


Why does climate matter? This question is the basis of a broad program of field and model research at the interface of climate science, marine science, and public policy. This research provides insight into the causes and effects of human-induced climate change, the efficacy of policy and mitigation options, and the consequences for human welfare. Current areas of research include climate change and coral reefs; ocean warming and El Nino; climate change adaptation in the developing world; Canadian and international climate policy; public engagement on climate change. I’m also the director of UBC’s new “Ocean Leaders” program, which provides young researchers with the skills to address tomorrow’s interdisciplinary ocean and climate challenges.


DONNER, S. D. and CARILLI, J. 2019 ‘Resilience of Central Pacific coral reefs subject to frequent heat stress and human disturbance’ Scientific Reports 9(3484)

TSURUTA, K., HASSAN, M. A., DONNER, S. D. and ALILA, Y. 2019 ‘Modelling the effects of climatic and hydrological regime changes on the sediment dynamics of the Fraser River Basin, British Columbia, Canada’ Hydrological Processes 33(2), 244-260


TSURUTA, K., HASSAN, M. A., DONNER, S. D. and ALILA, Y. 2018 ‘Development and Application of a Large‐Scale, Physically Based, Distributed Suspended Sediment Transport Model on the Fraser River Basin, British Columbia, Canada’ JGR Earth Surface 123(10), 2481-2508

WYNES, S., NICHOLAS, K. A., ZHAO, J. and DONNER, S. D. 2018 ‘Measuring what works: quantifying greenhouse gas emission reductions of behavioural interventions to reduce driving, meat consumption, and household energy use’ Environmental Research Letters 13(11), 113002

FINDLATER, K. M., SATTERFIELD, T., KANDLIKAR, M. and DONNER, S. D. 2018 ‘Six languages for a risky climate: how farmers react to weather and climate change’ Climatic Change 148(4), 451-465

FINDLATER, K. M., DONNER, S. D., SATTERFIELD, T. and KANDLIKAR, M. 2018 ‘Integration anxiety: The cognitive isolation of climate change’ Global Environmental Change 50, 178-189


HASSAN, M. A., DONNER, S. D., CHURCH, M. A., ROBERGE, L., MORE, M., LEACH, J., and ALI, F. 2017 ‘What are the sources of sediment into the Mississippi River?’ Geophysical Research Letters 44, 8919-8924  doi: 10.1002/2017GL074046

DONNER, S. D., RICKBEIL, G. J. M., and HERON, S. F. 2017 ‘A new, high-resolution global mass coral bleaching database’ PLoS-One 12(4), e0175490

DONNER, S. D. 2017 ‘Publicity or Perish: Finding the balance in science communication’ Biogeochemistry DOI 10.1007/s10533-017-0344-7

DONNER,  S. D. 2017 ‘Risk and Responsibility in Public Engagement by Climate Scientists: Reconsidering Advocacy During the Trump Era’ Environmental Communication 1–4, DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2017.1291101

MOTEW, M., CHEN, X., BOOTH, E. G., CARPENTER, S. R., PINKAS, P., ZIPPER, S. C., LOHEIDE II, S. P., DONNER, S. D. et al. 2017 ‘The Influence of Legacy P on Lake Water Quality in a Midwestern Agricultural Watershed’ Ecosystems 1–15 DOI:10.1007/s10021-017-0125-0

WEBBER, S. and DONNER, S. D. 2017 ‘Climate service warnings: cautions about commercializing climate science for adaptation in the developing world’ WIREs Climate Change 8(1) DOI: 10.1002/wcc.424



DONNER, S. D., KANDLIKAR, M., and WEBBER, S. 2016 ‘Measuring and tracking the flow of climate change adaptation aid to the developing world’ Environmental Research Letters 11(5) 054006, DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/5/054006

LEONG, D. N. S. and DONNER, S. D. 2016 ‘Future Water Supply and Demand Management Options in the Athabasca Oil Sands’ River Research and Applications 32(9), 1853-1861 DOI: 10.1002/rra.3033

BUGLASS, S., DONNER, S. D., and ALEMU, J. B. (2016) ‘A study on the recovery of Tobago’s coral reefs following the 2010 mass bleaching event’ Marine Pollution Bulletin 104(1-2), 198-206 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.01.038



DONNER, S. D. 2015 ‘The legacy of migration in response to climate stress: learning from the Gilbertese resettlement in the Solomon Islands’ Natural Resources Forum 39, 191-201 DOI: 10.1111/1477-8947.12082

LEONG, D. N. S. and DONNER, S. D. 2015 ‘Climate change impacts on streamflow availability for the Athabasca Oil Sands’ Climatic Change 133(4), 651-663 DOI: 10.1007/s10584-015-1479-y

WOLFF, N. H., DONNER, S. D., CAO, L., IGLESIAS-PRIETO, R., SALE, P. F., and MUMBY, P. J. 2015 ‘Global inequities between polluters and the polluted: climate change impacts on coral reefs’ Global Change Biology 21(11), 3982-3994 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13015

CARILLI, J., MCGREGOR, H. V., GAUDRY, J., DONNER, S. D., STEVENSON, S., GAGAN, M., WONG, H., and FINK, D. 2015 Reply to Comment on ‘Equatorial Pacific coral geochemical records show recent weakening of the Walker Circulation’ Paleoceanography 30 (5), 575-582 DOI: 10.1002/2015PA002783


CARILLI, J., MCGREGOR, H. V., GAUDRY, J., STEVENSON, S., DONNER, S. D., GAGAN, M., WONG, H. and FINK, D. 2014 ‘Equatorial Pacific coral geochemical records show recent weakening of the Walker circulation’ Paleooceanography 29(11), 1031-1045 DOI: 10.1002/2014PA002683

LEONG, D. N. S., DONNER, S. D., HASSAN, M. A., GABOR, R. and DRUMMOND, J. D. 2014 ‘Sensitivity of stoichiometric ratios in the Mississippi River to hydrologic variability’ Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 119(6), 1049-1062 DOI: 10.1002/2013JG002585

DONNER, S. D. 2014 ‘Finding your place on the Science-Advocacy continuum’ Climatic Change 124(1-2), 1–8 DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1108-1

BANHOLZER, S. and DONNER, S. D. 2014 ‘The influence of different El Niño types on global average temperature’ Geophysical Research Letters 41(6), 2093–2099 DOI: 10.1002/2014GL059520

DONNER, S. D. and WEBBER, S. 2014 ‘Obstacles to climate change adaptation decisions: a case study of sea-level rise and coastal protection measures in Kiribati’ Sustainability Science 9(3), 331-345 DOI: 10.1007/s11625-014-0242-z

LOGAN, C. A., DUNNE, J., EAKIN, C. M., and DONNER, S. D. 2014 ‘Incorporating adaptive responses into future projections of coral bleaching’ Global Change Biology 20(1), 125-139 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12390



Winter 2019

GEOG314 Analysing Environmental Problems Sections

Concepts and techniques employed in environmental research; challenges in the areas of climate change, water use, knowledge translation and natural hazards.

Winter 2019

GEOG312 Climate Change: Science and Society Sections

Climates over the geological, historical and instrument periods. Theories of climatic change. Monitoring and modelling the climate system. Impacts of change on environmental and socio-economic systems.