30 posts in Water

‘Black swan’ events strike animal populations

Black swan events are rare and surprising occurrences that happen without notice and often wreak havoc on society. The metaphor has been used to describe banking collapses, devastating earthquakes and other major surprises in financial, social and natural systems.
A new analysis by the University of Washington and Simon Fraser University is the first to document that black swan events also occur in animal populations and usually manifest as massive, unexpected die-offs. 
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UW’s Kristin Laidre awarded Pew marine fellowship to study effects of climate change, subsistence hunting on polar bears

Polar bears depend on sea ice for essential tasks like hunting and breeding. As Arctic sea ice disappears due to climate change, bears across the species’ 19 subpopulations are feeling the strain.
But even as scientists try to quantify just how much melting sea ice is affecting polar bears, another group that depends on the iconic mammal for subsistence also is at risk of losing an important nutritional and economic resource. 
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‘The blob’ of abnormal conditions boosted Western U.S. ozone levels

An unusually warm patch of seawater off the West Coast in late 2014 and 2015, nicknamed “the blob,” had cascading effects up and down the coast. Its sphere of influence was centered on the marine environment but extended to weather on land.
A University of Washington Bothell study now shows that this strong offshore pattern also influenced air quality. The climate pattern increased ozone levels above Washington, Oregon, western Utah and northern California, according to a study published Feb. 
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Will more snow over Antarctica offset rising seas? Don’t count on it

A new study out of Earth and Space Sciences finds that warmer temperatures don’t necessarily equal more snowfall in Antarctica after all.
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Scientists recommend immediate plan to combat changes to West Coast seawater chemistry

Global carbon dioxide emissions are triggering troubling changes to ocean chemistry along the West Coast that require immediate, decisive actions to combat through a coordinated regional approach, a panel of scientific experts has unanimously concluded.
A failure to adequately respond to this fundamental change in seawater chemistry, known as ocean acidification, is anticipated to have devastating ecological consequences for the West Coast in the decades to come, the 20-member West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) Science Panel warned in a comprehensive report unveiled April 4. 
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NOAA funds Washington Sea Grant to help communities protect their coasts

Washington SeaGrant was recently awarded nearly $900,000 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help coastal communities protect against hazards, including tsunamis, winter storms and sea-level rise.
The three-year project will help prepare Washington’s roughly 3,100 miles of coastline and more than 45 coastal cities for current and future hazards. The award is one of six NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grants awarded this year. 
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Jan 12, 2016 / Geology, Water

Ocean observatory comes alive

This month, researchers from across the globe gain unprecedented access to data from the U.S. Regional Cabled Ocean Observatory.
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The dream lab: UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories

Make no mistake, the sea is changing. Warming waters are causing some organisms to become more abundant, while undermining others’ ability to fight off disease. Invasive species, overfishing and mutated diseases are all signs and sources of changes to come. Increased acidity, whether from human activities like runoff and carbon emissions or from the upwelling of deeper waters, affects the ability of clams, oysters and fish to form shells and skeletons. 
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Oceans and ocean activism deserve broader role in climate change discussions

Less visible, but perhaps more indelible, signs of changing climate lie in the oceans. A University of Washington researcher in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs argues in the journal Science that people—including world leaders who will gather later this month in Paris for global climate change negotiations—should pay more attention to how climate change’s impacts on ocean and coastal environments affect societies around the globe. 
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Natural Hazards & Resilient Communities Lecture Recap: Team Rubicon’s Jake Wood

Jake Wood was submitting applications for MBA programs when a magnitude 7.0 struck Haiti in 2010. Having just returned from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was surprised by the similarities between the news footage from Port-au-Prince and what he had seen on the ground, during times of war as a marine. Unable to plug-in with traditional disaster relief organizations, who preferred monetary donations over extra hands, Wood and three friends charted their own path to Haiti and beyond. 
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