32 posts in Water

Aug 19, 2015 / Water

UW researchers model tsunami hazards on the Northwest coast

Recent press coverage and conversations on social media have been a good reminder for Pacific Northwesterners that they live in a seismically active region. Stretching from northern California to British Columbia, the Cascadia subduction zone could slip at any time, causing a powerful earthquake and triggering a tsunami that would impact coastal communities.
Scientists from multiple disciplines at the University of Washington and other institutions are working to learn more about this natural hazard. 
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JISAO scientists play critical role in ocean health XPRIZE

Sunburst Sensors, based out of Missoula, MT, grabbed the two top spots in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, receiving a $1.5 million award for advancing scientist’s ability to measure ocean chemistry as it relates to ocean acidification. Designed as a competition to spur innovation, teams from around the globe competed to develop the most promising technologies in two categories: a device that is easy to use and cost effective and a device that is highly accurate when tracking ocean acidification. 
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Scientists weigh in on carbon emissions’ effect on future ocean conditions

Ahead of major climate talks at COP21 this year in Paris, scientists are offering insights to the far-reaching effects of rising carbon dioxide levels on the ocean. Spearheaded by the Oceans 2015 Initiative, which brought together 22 scientists and policy experts from nine different countries, the results were published this week in the journal Science and focus on how warming waters, rising seas, and ocean acidification drive changes to the global ocean. 
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Researcher at UW’s Olympic Natural Resources Center helps pinpoint massive harmful algal bloom

The algal bloom that shut down several shellfish fisheries along the West Coast earlier this year has developed into the largest and most severe in a decade or more—stretching from at least central California to as far north as Alaska. UW research analyst Anthony Odell is part of a NOAA-led team of harmful algae experts who are surveying the extent of the patch and searching for the swirling eddies that can become toxic to marine mammals and humans. 
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Warmer, lower-oxygen oceans will shift marine habitats

A research team that includes scientists from the College of the Environment’s School of Oceanography found that warmer ocean temperatures and decreasing levels of dissolved oxygen as a result of climate change will increase metabolic stress on marine animals. These new findings suggest that warmer water will speed up animals’ metabolic need for oxygen, but will simultaneously hold less of the oxygen needed to fuel their bodies. 
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New knowledge and technology help scientists track harmful algae

Though the waters of Puget Sound are full of beneficial algae, which provide oxygen, food, and shelter for other creatures, it’s the nasty ones that usually make the news, when they “bloom” into toxic pools, harming fish and humans. Now, researchers working with Washington Sea Grant have started to narrow in on harmful algae’s behaviors, and are developing some slick techniques that they hope will lead to much more effective detection and monitoring.
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UW’s Friday Harbor Labs prove to be a prime spot to study ocean acidification

For more than a century, scientists at UW have utilized Friday Harbor Laboratories’ unique location on the shores of the Puget Sound to study a variety of marine species. With the debut of the Ocean Acidification Environmental Laboratory in 2011, research at Friday Harbor Labs expanded into monitoring the water’s pH and dissolved oxygen levels, total alkalinity, effects of ocean acidification, and strategies for adaptation. 
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Washington Sea Grant explores relative sea-level rise to prepare Pacific Coast communities

Washington Sea Grant, a unit in the College of the Environment, works to restore and protect marine environments through addressing important issues, providing better tools for marine management, and supporting strategic partnerships within the marine community. Coastal hazards specialist and resident geologist Ian Miller embodies this approach, and is studying changes in local sea level over time in order to help coastal communities plan for rising seas along their shores. 
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UW-made tool displays West Coast ocean acidification data

Increasing carbon dioxide in the air penetrates into the ocean and makes it more acidic, while robbing seawater of minerals that give shellfish their crunch. The West Coast is one of the first marine ecosystems to feel its effects. A new tool doesn’t alter that reality, but it does allow scientists to better understand what’s happening and provide data to help the shellfish industry adapt to these changes. 
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Fires and floods: North Cascades federal lands prepare for climate change

In a country that boasts an awe-inspiring system of national parks, the Pacific Northwest may be especially lucky. But even remote parks and forests can’t escape the problem of human-induced climate change. Future shifts could affect everything from how people access the parks to what activities are possible once they arrive—not to mention the plants and animals that call those places home. 
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