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 27, 2015 / Geology, M9

UW researchers prep for the next Cascadia megaquake

Earth and Space Sciences’ Frank Gonzalez, John Vidale, and Arthur Frankel, along with other scientists from across the University of Washington, are teaming up to better prepare our region for the next massive megaquake off the Pacific Northwest coast. Their efforts include designing the first tsunami evacuation structure in the United States, development of a campus-wide research project on major earthquakes, and the upcoming rollout of early earthquake alerts. 
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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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Jan 6, 2015 / Geology, M9

How the ‘Beast Quake’ is helping scientists track real earthquakes

It’s not just the football players who have spent a year training. University of Washington seismologists will again be monitoring the ground-shaking cheers of Seahawks fans, this year with a bigger team, better technology and faster response times. Scientists with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network will install instruments this Thursday to provide real-time monitoring of the stadium’s movement during the 2015 NFL playoffs. 
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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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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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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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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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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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