Jul 7, 2015 / Geology

UW oceanographers wire up an undersea volcano to study Earth’s most extreme environment

Several hundred miles off the coast of Oregon and Washington, there’s an undersea volcano known as Axial Seamount. Thanks to a set of high-tech instruments installed last summer by a team of scientists, many from the College of the Environment, the deep sea is online and oceanographers were able to observe an eruption of the Axial Volcano in April 2015. PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan recently spoke with the School of Oceanography‘s John Delaney and Debbie Kelley about their team’s deep sea observatory, including a network of sensors, moorings, and cameras that collect troves of new information about this underwater world. 
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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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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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May 18, 2015 / Geology

UW’s Deborah Kelley publishes atlas of seafloor volcanoes and deep-ocean life

A University of Washington oceanographer has helped create the first photographic atlas of the ocean floor. “Discovering the Deep: A Photographic Atlas of the Seafloor and Ocean Crust” (Cambridge University Press, 2015) was almost a decade in the making and contains more than 500 original illustrations and color photos, and access to online educational resources and high-definition videos.
Its pages contain a history of deep-sea science and a global tour of the volcanoes, hot springs, rocks and animals that exist in extreme environments in the ocean depths. 
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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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Apr 30, 2015 / Geology

Seafloor sensors record possible eruption of underwater volcano

Thanks to a set of high-tech instruments installed last summer by a team of scientists, many at the College of the Environment, the deep sea is online and scientists were able to observe the eruption of the Axial Volcano on April 23. About 300 miles offshore from Astoria, Oregon, and one mile deep, the data collected flowed back to the land at the speed of light through fiber optic cable. 
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Apr 26, 2015 / Geology, M9

Tidal tugs on Teflon faults drive slow-slipping earthquakes

Unknown to most people, the Pacific Northwest experiences a magnitude-6.6 earthquake about once a year. The reason nobody notices is that the movement happens slowly and deep underground, in a part of the fault whose behavior, known as slow-slip, was only recently discovered.
A University of Washington seismologist who studies slow-slip quakes has looked at how they respond to tidal forces from celestial bodies and used the result to make a first direct calculation of friction deep on the fault. 
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Mar 19, 2015 / Geology

A year later, UW geologist reflects on Oso and the need for better application of landslide science

Earth and Space Sciences’ David Montgomery is one of many University of Washington researchers who have been working to develop and analyze critical data in the aftermath of last year’s landslide in Oso. March 22, 2015 marked one year since the largest recorded landslide in U.S. history decimated a western Washington community and killed 43 people. In the wake of that disaster, Montgomery has some thoughts about how to make landslides less deadly. 
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