Predicting when toxic algae will reach Washington and Oregon coasts

Late summer is the peak time for harmful algae that can turn lakes into toxic scum, cancelling fishing trips and fouling water supplies. While the Pacific Northwest doesn’t get anything near the activity that turned parts of Lake Erie into bright green slime, our coasts are vulnerable in late summer to this largely unpredictable – and in our case unseen – menace. 
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Dwindling waterways challenge desert fish in warming world

One of Arizona’s largest watersheds – home to many native species of fish already threatened by extinction – is providing a grim snapshot of what could happen to watersheds and fish in arid areas around the world as climate warming occurs. New research by scientists in the College of the Environment and Ohio State University suggests that by 2050, one-fifth more streams will dry up along the Verde River Basin in Arizona each season, and at least a quarter more days with no water flow — a problem when fish are trying to reach spawning habitats and refuges where water still remains. 
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Ocean’s most oxygen-deprived zones to shrink under climate change

Climate change is complex, no doubt about it. Much of that complexity lies in the interconnectedness of our world, where scientists are continually striving to increase our understanding of how natural systems function and may be affected with the ripple effects associated with a changing climate. Sharpening our understanding helps us better predict what the future holds. In a recent paper published in Science, College of the Environment’s Oceanography associate professor Curtis Deutsch talks about a new link in the climate change story, and how it may play out in terms of the oxygen depleted zones of our oceans. 
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Jul 22, 2014 / Geology

Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides

An interdisciplinary team of risk analysis experts, engineers, and scientists — including Earth and Spaces Sciences’ David Montgomery — released a report on Tuesday offering details about the Oso landslide that happened earlier this year. The  report focuses on observations and data collection where the landslide occurred, reviews nearby geologic conditions and land-use and landslide risk assessments, and collects eyewitness accounts of the disaster. 
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Jul 16, 2014 / Geology, M9

Geophysicists prep for massive ‘ultrasound’ of Mount St. Helens

Scientists are gearing up to get started in earnest this weekend on a massive collaborative effort to map the internal plumbing of Mount St. Helens. The College of the Environment’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences is playing a major role–lead by professor Kenneth Creager–along with numerous other institutions. The researcher’s goal is to better understand the inner workings of the mountain and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range as in order to better protect nearby urban areas. 
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Ocean upwelling becoming more intense with a changing climate

Our Washington coastline is one of the most prolific and productive in the world, teeming with abundant plant and animal life. In fact, much of entire U.S. west coast is the same, and we can largely thank a strong upwelling system for driving this bounty. New research published in Science has shown that upwelling in the eastern boundary current systems – meaning, the eastern edges of ocean basins across the globe where winds, currents, and geological formations create a prime environment for upwelling – has increased globally over the past 60 years. 
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Jun 23, 2014 / Geology, M9

Scientists ready to study magma formation beneath Mount St. Helens

University and government scientists are embarking on a collaborative research expedition to improve volcanic eruption forecasting by learning more about how a deep-underground feeder system creates and supplies magma to Mount St. Helens. They hope the research will produce science that will lead to better understanding of eruptions, which in turn could lead to greater public safety.
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Jun 8, 2014 / Geology

Meet Kate Allstadt, self-described “present-day geologist”

What would you do in a big earthquake? Do you know how your neighborhood would fare? Would the ground beneath your house hold firm, or turn into liquid, or break loose in a landslide? If you had a few seconds or minutes warning, how would you prepare knowing a devastating earthquake was about to be unleashed?
In the wake of the nearby 530 Landslide, these are the kinds of questions researchers like Kate Allstadt ask with increasing urgency. 
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West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which holds enough water to raise global seas by several feet, is thinning. Ian Joughin and other University of Washington researchers used detailed topography maps and computer modeling to show that the collapse appears to have already begun. The Thwaites Glacier will likely disappear in a matter of centuries, researchers say, raising sea level by nearly 2 feet. 
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UW Climate Impacts Group plays major role in newest National Climate Assessment

The Obama Administration released the third National Climate Assessment, Climate Change Impacts in the United States, on May 6.  Amy Snover, director of the Climate Impacts Group and assistant dean for applied research at the College of the Environment, served as a co-convening lead author of the assessment; additionally, the chapter focused on the Northwest drew heavily from the Climate Impact Group’s body of research, including the 2009 Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment. 
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