Photo of Holly Olivarez
PhD StudentNSF Graduate Research Fellow
• Ocean biogeochemistry • Air-sea CO2 flux • Ocean carbon cycle
Environmental Studies

Office: SEEC N151
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Ocean Biogeochemistry Research Group
Advisor: Nikki Lovenduski 

Bio

Climate change is more than parts per million and greenhouse gases... The people who are feeling the worst impacts of climate, their voices have got to be heard” - Robert D. Bullard, professor at Texas Southern University.  From the New York Times article: Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism.

Holly Olivarez is a PhD student in the Environmental Studies Program and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Holly began her undergraduate studies at Central New Mexico Community College, participated in the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation program, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Earth & Planetary Sciences from University of New Mexico in 2019. Holly also participated in the SOARS program, a ten-week research internship at the University Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in 2018 and 2019 for underrepresented and minority students. Also in 2019, Holly was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) and is studying the absorption of carbon in the ocean.

Education

  • BS (Earth & Planetary Sciences): University of New Mexico, 2019
  • AS (Mathematics): Central New Mexico Community College, 2017

Awards

  • Environmental Studies Program Graduate Service Award, University of Colorado Boulder, 2021
  • Graduate Research Fellowship Program, National Science Foundation, 2019
  • Graduate School Diversity Fellowship, University of Colorado Boulder, 2019
  • Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS), University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), 2019
  • Stuart A. Northrop Award, University of New Mexico, 2019
  • 2019 Featured Inspiring Graduate, University of New Mexico, 2019
  • Leadership and Involvement Award, University of New Mexico, 2019
  • Leonard Undergraduate Research Fellowship, University of New Mexico, 2019
  • University Research Scholarship Assistantship, University of New Mexico, 2019
  • J. P. Fitzsimmons Award, University of New Mexico, 2018
  • Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS), University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), 2018
  • Lucille H. Pipkin Senior Scholarship, New Mexico Geological Society, 2018
  • Outstanding Student Award, Association for Women Geoscientists, Laramide Chapter, 2018
  • Summer Community College Opportunities for Research Experience (SCCORE), Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP), 2017
  • Excellence in Education Scholarship, Trythall Family Foundation, 2017
  • John Boydstun Scholarship for Mathematics, Central New Mexico Community College Foundation, 2017
  • Suncat Scholar, Central New Mexico Community College, 2015

Research

The burning of fossil fuels is rapidly increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and leading to global warming. The ocean takes up a large fraction of fossil fuel carbon and acts to slow the rate of global warming. At the same time, however, the ocean becomes more acidic as it takes up more and more carbon. Measurements suggest that this absorption has changed a lot from one year to the next and from one decade to the next, and because of this, it is difficult to predict how it will evolve in the future. I am studying the absorption of carbon by the ocean, and analyzing the drivers of variability of ocean carbon absorption.

Selected publications

Coupe, J., Stevenson, S., Lovenduski, N., Rohr, T., Harrison, C. S., Robock, A., Olivarez H., Bardeen, C. G., Toon, O. B. 2021: Nuclear Niño response observed in simulations of nuclear war simulations. Nature Communications Earth and Environment, 2(1): 18. DOI: 10.1038/s43247-020-00088-1

Lovenduski, N., Harrison, C., Olivarez, H., Bardeen, C. G., Toon, O. B., Coupe, J., Robock, A., Rohr, T., Stevenson, S. 2020: The potential impact of nuclear conflict on ocean acidification. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(3): e2019GL086246. DOI: 10.1029/2019GL086246


Outreach

I am interested in science outreach and education.  Here is an example of a public online discussion that I led in coordination with science educators at the National Center for Atmospheric Research:

Ask NCAR: Climate Change and Our Ocean (30 min)

 

I am also interested in talking about climate change. For example, I teamed up with an illustrator, Cal Brackin from On Board Innovations for an online discussion about art and climate communication:

Creating the Intersection of the Arts and Climate Change Communication (1.25 hrs)