Sep 17, 2015 / Weather & Climate

Scientists: Let wildfires burn when prudent

With nearly 9 million acres burned this year across the nation, 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most destructive wildfire seasons yet. And with drought and climate change, wildfires are only predicted to get worse. In a commentary published Sept. 17 in Science, a team of scientists, including School of Environmental and Forest Sciences‘ researchers Jerry Franklin and James Agee, describe unique opportunities and provide suggestions to reform forest fire management to reduce the impacts of inevitable wildfires in future years. 
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Sep 15, 2015 / Weather & Climate

Seattle Times lauds UW’s Climate Impacts Group and Arctic studies program

In a piece published by The Seattle Times, the editorial board calls for the United States to get out from behind the curve in addressing emerging challenges and opportunities in the Arctic. They call for comprehensive policies that will position the U.S. to capitalize on the upcoming changes — many of which are already here — and cite the University of Washington’s new Arctic Studies Program and the Climate Impacts Group as leaders in the kind of interdisciplinary thinking and approach it will take to be successful. 
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Climate change could leave Pacific Northwest amphibians high and dry

Far above the wildfires raging in Washington’s forests, a less noticeable consequence of this dry year is taking place in mountain ponds. The minimal snowpack and long summer drought that have left the Pacific Northwest lowlands parched have also affected the region’s amphibians through loss of mountain pond habitat. According to a new paper published Sept. 2 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, this summer’s severe conditions may be the new normal within just a few decades. 
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Surviving Disaster Speaker Series – register now!

The College of the Environment in partnership with The Graduate School and the UW Alumni Association is pleased to present the fall speaker series Surviving Disaster: Natural Hazards & Resilient Communities. Join us for a series of discussions centered around natural disasters — like earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and hurricanes — and how they can affect the lives and livelihoods of people here in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 
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Exploring wilderness in one of the lower forty-eight’s most untamed landscapes

What is wilderness?
As we sit at our computers or scroll through on tablets or smart phones, perhaps we picture the opposite of our current locales—mountainous terrain, soaring evergreens, and a variety of critters that depend on each other to maintain balanced ecosystems. Maybe thoughts of flora and fauna, untamed and unexposed to an otherwise modern, industrialized, human-centric world swirl around. 
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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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Aug 6, 2015 / Geology

UW oceanographers explore recently erupted deep-sea volcano

This spring, seafloor seismometers connected to shore by a new Internet cable showed that the 3,600-foot-tall underwater Axial Volcano started shaking April 24, 2015 and shook continuously for several days. University of Washington oceanographers visited the deep-ocean volcano in late July and parts of the seafloor were still warm, giving the team a glimpse into the changes that happened around the the mile-deep volcano 300 miles off the Oregon coast. 
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Jul 29, 2015 / Geology, M9

Earthquake early warning system funding awarded to UW, West Coast universities

A recent article published by The New Yorker has resulted in widespread talks and panic about the risk of a mega-earthquake off the Pacific Northwest coast. While the seismic hazard is real, the article’s tone may have been overly fatalistic and didn’t highlight earthquake preparedness tools that are now being developed. The U.S. Geological Survey announced today that $5 million will go to the University of Washington and three other institutions to help transition the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system to a public-facing tool. 
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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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Jul 14, 2015 / Geology

College of the Environment students, researchers at sea to learn more about deep-sea volcano eruption

When the Axial Seamount, an underwater volcano, erupted off the coast of Oregon in April, researchers knew within minutes that something spectacular was happening more than 300 miles offshore. Precision hardware installed by the University of Washington last summer let scientists see its effects almost instantly from shore.­­ A team of researchers, engineers and students is now at sea working t­o maintain that equipment and assess the volcano’s aftermath. 
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