60 posts in Weather & Climate

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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Jun 17, 2015 / Weather & Climate

What does it take to catalogue every glacier in a mountain range?

After days of waiting around in Port Angeles, Washington, Earth and Space Sciences’ T.J. Fudge finally got some good news: a helicopter would be able to drop him and another researcher into the wilderness of Olympic National Park. Fudge didn’t know it yet, but nasty weather would prevent the helicopter from returning to pick them up, leaving the scientists no choice but to hike out. 
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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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Mar 16, 2015 / Weather & Climate

UW scientist leads multinational study on the future of Arctic marine mammals

Aquatic and Fishery Sciences’ Kristin Laidre and a team from across the globe just published their findings on what the future looks like for Arctic marine mammals, whose fragile habitats are shifting as a result of sea ice loss and warming temperatures. Their recent study, published in Conservation Biology, found that reductions in sea ice cover are “profound” and that the Arctic’s traditionally short, cool summers are growing longer in most regions by five to 10 weeks. 
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Mar 15, 2015 / Weather & Climate

Kill two birds with one dead tree? Beetle-killed pines could fuel machines instead of fires

Across western North America you can see them: hills blanketed with swaths of red and gray trees. These dead and dying stands of pine, aspen, and fir, totaling around 42 million acres—roughly the size of the state of Washington—are victims of bark beetles. And the dry, decaying trees that the beetles leave in their wake are not just eyesores; they also fuel hotter and larger wildfires. 
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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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Climate Impact Group’s director recognized as White House Champion of Change

Amy Snover, director of the Climate Impacts Group at the College of the Environment, has been named a White House Champion of Change. The Champions of Change program celebrates Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their community, and for Snover it focuses on her work to enhance climate education and literacy in classrooms and communities across the country. She traveled to the White House for a ceremony on February 9th, and wrote a blog post for the honor titled Building Climate Resilience through Action Today. 
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Jan 14, 2015 / Weather & Climate

Could brighter clouds offset warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions?

Atmospheric Sciences’ Tom Ackerman and Rob Wood recently contributed to a proposal that would test the effectiveness of spraying sea-salt particles into marine clouds in order to make them brighter. According to The Economist, cloud physicist John Latham hypothesized that brighter clouds could cool the Earth enough to compensate for increased warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions in 1990. Several decades later and with the help of the two UW scientists, field tests on the subject could come to fruition. 
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