53 posts in Weather & Climate

‘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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Jan 19, 2017 / Weather & Climate

Listen to the Earth smash another global temperature record

Federal science agencies announced Wednesday that 2016 was the warmest year on record, beating the previous global temperature record set in 2015, which itself had beat the previous record set in 2014. Now atmospheric scientists at the University of Washington have set the new temperature record to an electronic dance beat.

This is their second project to convert scientific data to an audio track, a process known as sonification. 

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Dec 12, 2016 / Weather & Climate

Mountain glaciers are showing some of the strongest responses to climate change

A new study analyzing 37 glaciers around the world shows that because of their decades-long response times, glaciers are among the purest signals of human-driven climate change.
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Nov 16, 2016 / Weather & Climate

UW Program on Climate Change Director LuAnne Thompson on being a climate scientist

The College of the Environment’s LuAnne Thompson, a faculty member in the School of Oceanography and the director of the Program on Climate Change, has dedicated her career to researching the ocean’s role in climate variability. Having recently returned from France, where she delved into the specifics of measuring an interpreting sea levels from radar altimetry with her academic peers, Thompson reflects on her feelings about the state of climate science and her hopes for the future of climate science outreach and education. 
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Nov 13, 2016 / Weather & Climate

UW Environment scientists discuss what the current political climate will mean for climate education

Sarah E. Myhre, a postdoctoral scholar with the Future of Ice Initiative and the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington, and Marisa J. Borreggine, an undergraduate in the UW School of Oceanography, discuss what the election of President-elect Donald Trump will mean for their professions, their futures and our planet. Here’s a snippet of their conversation via Medium.com. Follow the link for more. 
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Aug 28, 2016 / Weather & Climate

Interactive map shows where animals will move under climate change

Scientists predict that as Earth warms and climate patterns morph in response, animals will be forced to move to survive. That usually means hightailing it to higher latitudes as equatorial areas become too hot and dry.
The University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy have created an animated map showing where mammals, birds and amphibians are projected to move in the Western Hemisphere in response to climate change. 
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Jun 13, 2016 / Weather & Climate

Eastern U.S. needs ‘connectivity’ to help species escape climate change

For plants and animals fleeing the effects of climate change for a better shot at survival, the eastern United States will need to improve “climate connectivity.”
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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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