Kappe Lecturer

2015 Kappe Lecturer

Jay Banner, Ph.D., BCES
Professor/ Director
University of Texas at Austin
Environmental Science Institute


  • BA, Geology, University of Pennsylvania, 1978
  • MS, Earth Sciences, State University of New York, 1981
  • PhD, Earth Sciences, State University of New York, 1986

Professional Associations

  • American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists
  • Geological Society of America

Jay Banner was born and raised in New York City and was interested in science from an early age. He attended the University of Pennsylvania as a Chemistry major and switched majors to Geology partway through to his Bachelor's degree. He pursued graduate studies in geology and geochemistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he received his MS and Ph.D.

After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Banner was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology and Louisiana State University. He joined the faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas in 1990 in Austin, Texas. He is presently the Fred M. Bullard Professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences and Director of the Environmental Science Institute at UT-Austin.

Dr. Banner is a geochemist who investigates the impacts of urbanization on aquifers and streams, and the reconstruction of past climate change, soil erosion and ocean chemistry. His field research sites include Texas, Guam, Western Australia, the midcontinent and Great Basin USA, Barbados, and the Bahamas. Banner co-developed and teaches UT-Austin's first Signature Course, Sustaining a Planet, and helped develop the university's newest interdisciplinary degree, a B.S. in Environmental Science.

Dr. Banner is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, and was the first person certified as an Environmental Scientist by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. Among the recent honors he has received are the UT Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award (2013), the Texas Exes Teaching Award (2012), the Friar's Centennial Teaching Fellowship Award (2011), induction into UT-Austin's Academy of Distinguished Teachers (2011), and the Jackson School of Geosciences Outstanding Educator Award (2010).

Abstracts of Lectures Offered

Past, Present, and Future Climate Change Impacts on Water in a Semi-Arid Region: Science and Policy

Texas comprises the eastern portion of the Southwest region, where the convergence of climatological and geopolitical forces has the potential to put extreme stress on water resources. Geologic records indicate that Texas experienced large changes in moisture sources and amounts on millennial time scales in the past, and over the last thousand years, tree-ring records indicate that there were significant periods of drought in Texas. These droughts were of longer duration than the 1950s "drought of record" that is commonly used in planning, and they occurred independently of human-induced global climate change. Although there has been a negligible net temperature increase in Texas over the past century, temperatures have increased more significantly over the past three decades, and the region experienced a record drought in 2011 that is ongoing. Under essentially all climate model projections, Texas is susceptible to significant climate change in the future. Most projections for the 21st century show that with increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, there will be an increase in temperatures across Texas and a shift to a more arid average climate. Studies agree that Texas will likely become significantly warmer and drier, yet the magnitude, timing, and regional distribution of these changes are uncertain. With a projected doubling of the state's population by 2065, science, engineering, and economics are essential elements needed for the state's planning for the projected changes.

Cave Mineral Deposits as Proxies for Past Climate Change

Cave mineral deposits, or 'speleothems', provide a record of past changes in the composition and amounts of cave drip water that feed their growth. In turn, these changes in drip water may be used to infer past changes in climate above caves. Given that caves occur on all continents and that speleothems can grow continuously on time scales of decades to over 100,000 years, there is much interest in their application to reconstructing large and abrupt Pleistocene climate changes and Holocene changes that influenced early civilizations. With modern mass spectrometry, methods for dating and geochemical analysis of speleothem growth layers offer the prospect of high resolution reconstructions. These prospects are balanced by the complexity of non-climatic processes that can affect speleothem compositions, during transmission of water through the vadose zone and in the cave environment. These processes are addressed through examination of modern karst systems, including monitoring of physical and chemical hydrology, cave meteorology, speleothem growth on artificial substrates, and chemical and isotopic equilibrium. Studies from Texas and the tropics portray the information speleothems provide regarding past changes in temperature, rainfall sources and amounts, vadose flow paths, and seasonality.

How Can I Get the Kappe Lecturer to Visit My School?

Simply complete the reservation form below and return to AAEES by March 1.

Kappe Lecture 2015 Reservation Form
Kappe Lecture 2015 Brochure

Past Kappe Lecturers

2014 -- JB Neethling
2013 -- George Tchobanoglous
2012 -- Vladimir Novotny
2011 -- James W. Patterson
2010 -- Morton A. Barlaz
2009 -- Rao Y. Surampalli
2008 -- Jeanette A. Brown
2007 -- Rudy J. Tekippe
2006 -- Jerome B. Gilbert
2005 -- N.C. Vasuki
2004 -- Gary S. Logsdon
2003 -- Cecil Lue-Hing
2002 -- James Crook
2001 -- Glen T. Daigger
2000 -- W. Wesley Eckenfelde
1999 -- R. Rhodes Trussel
1998 -- Richard D. Kuchenrither
1997 -- Orris E. Albertson
1996 -- Ira L. Whitman
1995 -- Daniel A. Okun
1994 -- Davis L. Ford
1993 -- Michael C. Kavanaugh
1992 -- C. Joseph Touhill
1991 -- William J. Carrol
1990 -- Paul L. Busch
1989 -- H. Gerard Schwartz, Jr.

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