Much attention is paid to melting sea ice in the Arctic. But less clear is the situation on the other side of the planet. Despite warmer air and oceans, there’s more sea ice in Antarctica now than in the 1970s – a fact often pounced on by global warming skeptics. The latest numbers suggest the Antarctic sea ice may be heading toward a record high this year.
Waves breaking over sandy beaches are captured in countless tourist photos. But enormous waves breaking deep in the ocean are seldom seen, although they play a crucial role in long-term climate cycles.
A University of Washington study for the first time recorded such a wave breaking in a key bottleneck for circulation in the world’s largest ocean. The study was published online this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
For more than a century scientists have known that Earth’s ice ages are caused by the wobbling of the planet’s orbit, which changes its orientation to the sun and affects the amount of sunlight reaching higher latitudes, particularly the polar regions.
The Northern Hemisphere’s last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago, and most evidence has indicated that the ice age in the Southern Hemisphere ended about 2,000 years later, suggesting that the south was responding to warming in the north.
Washington’s governor and state legislators in the last session created a hub at the University of Washington to coordinate research and monitoring of ocean acidification and its effects on local sea life such as oysters, clams and fish.
Based on what’s learned, the center will marshal efforts to improve the ability to forecast when and where corrosive waters might occur and suggest adaptive strategies to mitigate the effects.
The trick with climate change is that there is no trick: No easy solutions exist, period. Thus, groups that claim to offer a simple way to help mitigate global warming deserve a high level of scrutiny. It is time to investigate the promises and realities of divestment campaigns.
The Arctic Ocean has more open water each summer, a trend most scientists predict will continue in coming years. September 2012 set the record for the most open water since satellite observations began.
A University of Washington researcher is co-author on a review paper published this week (Aug. 2) in the journal Science looking at the ecological consequences of sea ice decline.
Santa’s workshop at the North Pole is not under water, despite recent reports. A dramatic image captured by a University of Washington monitoring buoy reportedly shows a lake at the North Pole. But Santa doesn’t yet need to buy a snorkel.
“Every summer when the sun melts the surface the water has to go someplace, so it accumulates in these ponds,” said Jamie Morison, a polar scientist at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and principal investigator since 2000 of the North Pole Environmental Observatory. “This doesn’t look particularly extreme.”
Nighttime heat waves are becoming more frequent in western Washington and Oregon.
And if you don’t sleep well in hot weather, this might be a good time to buy a fan, since records show that on average heat waves tend to strike around the last week of July.
As the effort to get universities to stop investing in the top 200 oil, gas, and coal companies continues, a group of undergraduate and graduate students are spearheading the movement at the UW.
Divest UW joined a movement that has spread to more than 300 colleges and universities in the United States, urging educational institutions to freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies and to divest from current holdings.
Currently, the UW has an endowment of about $2.2 billion, of which about 2 percent, goes into the fossil fuel industry.
Economists and environmental groups need to become friends fast if climate change is going to be slowed down. They’ve been adversaries for far too long.