What climate change means for federally protected marine species

December 10, 2013

As the Endangered Species Act nears its 40th birthday at the end of December, conservation biologists are coming to terms with a danger not foreseen in the early 1970s: global climate change.

Federal fisheries scientists have published a special section in this month’s issue of Conservation Biology that outlines some considerations for coming decades. A University of Washington climate scientist helped biologists determine the long-term forecast for aquatic animals.

UW researchers mapping changes in glacier ice

November 25, 2013

University of Washington researchers are working with NASA to create digital maps of glaciers in Greenland.

For the first time this November, an airplane was able to take measurements during the fall to document any changes, according to UW researcher Ben Smith. Typically, the data is collected during the summer.

The information will be turned over to a team of UW researchers. Smith said their previous maps indicate that Greenland’s glaciers are shrinking.

More wildfires, earlier snowmelt, coastal threats top Northwest climate risks

November 4, 2013

The Pacific Northwest will face increased risks from declining forest health, earlier snowmelt and an array of coastal issues, according to a new comprehensive report on what climate change means for Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Amy Snover, director of the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group, was one of three editors of the 270-page report published this week by Island Press.

Peak Oil May Keep Catastrophic Climate Change in Check

October 29, 2013

Even as governments worldwide have largely failed to limit emissions of global warming gases, the decline of fossil fuel production may reduce those emissions significantly, experts said yesterday during a panel discussion at the Geological Society of America meeting.

Conventional production of oil has been on a plateau since 2005, said James Murray, a professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, who chaired the panel.

McGinn and Sawant discuss climate change at UW forum

October 30, 2013

Climate change was the core topic of conversation on Wednesday night when Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and City Council candidate Kshama Sawant spoke to students in Miller Hall. Councilmember Mike O’Brien also made a short appearance.

Divest UW and Confronting Climate Change, co-sponsors of the event, endorse both candidates and sought their support for their five-part climate change initiative, which they recently proposed to the Board of Regents in October.

New system could predict how climate change will affect future fishing conditions

October 28, 2013

Fishermen often find themselves at the mercy of conditions that exist well outside of their control: extreme weather, temperature, breeding cycles, fuel prices, dock prices for their catch and so much more. But what if some of those conditions could be predicted not just days but months into the future? Would the fishing industry be better able to adapt?

New study explains increase in Antarctic sea ice

October 20, 2013

As the Arctic sea ice melt continues to concern many within the scientific community, it is an increase in Antarctic sea ice that has raised questions. UW research scientist and associate professor Jinlun Zhang recently released a study examining the reason for this phenomenon.

Although global sea ice is still in decline, certain areas of Antarctica have experienced an increase in sea ice thickness. According to Zhang’s research, this trend is due to an increase in winds in the southern oceans that decrease surface air temperature, causing the sea ice to ridge more often.

UW researchers helped draft international assessment of climate change

September 30, 2013

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change late last week released its summary for policy-makers, the Cliffs Notes version of the massive international assessment released about every six years.

The full text of the fifth IPCC report was released today, and University of Washington atmospheric science professors Dennis Hartmann and Chris Bretherton were among 209 researchers from 39 countries who were lead authors on the 900-page report.