60 posts in Weather & Climate

Dec 8, 2014 / Weather & Climate

Warmer Pacific Ocean could release millions of tons of seafloor methane

Off the West Coast of the United States, methane gas is trapped in frozen layers below the seafloor. New research from the University of Washington shows that water at intermediate depths is warming enough to cause these carbon deposits to melt, releasing methane into the sediments and surrounding water. Researchers found that water off the coast of Washington is gradually warming at a depth of 500 meters, about a third of a mile down. 
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Nov 20, 2014 / Weather & Climate, Water

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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Oct 28, 2014 / Weather & Climate, Water

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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Oct 28, 2014 / Weather & Climate

Climate Impacts Group partners with Swinomish Tribe to reduce climate effects

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, located on the southeastern peninsula of Fidalgo Island in Washington State, was recognized at the 2014 National Congress of American Indians’ annual meeting in Atlanta for their remarkable efforts to address climate change impacts on tribal lands. The UW Climate Impacts Group was a key partner in helping secure the recognition, which was given by the Honoring Nations Program from Harvard University’s Project on American Indian Economic Development. 
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Sep 3, 2014 / Weather & Climate, Water

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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Sep 2, 2014 / Weather & Climate

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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Aug 7, 2014 / Weather & Climate

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 2, 2014 / Weather & Climate

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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May 11, 2014 / Weather & Climate, Water

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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May 5, 2014 / Weather & Climate

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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