Greenland ice sheet carries evidence of increased atmospheric acidity

Research has shown a decrease in levels of the isotope nitrogen-15 in core samples from Greenland ice starting around the time of the Industrial Revolution. The decrease has been attributed to a corresponding increase in nitrates associated with the burning of fossil fuels.

However, new University of Washington research suggests that the decline in nitrogen-15 is more directly related to increased acidity in the atmosphere.

Turning tires into technology

Where others see piles of rubber, Ricky Holm eyes a heap of opportunity. Mountains of used tires once littered his favorite drag race entryways and rimmed the tracks at his motocross competitions. But with encouragement from his father, Ricky developed a way to recycle old tires into a new technology.

“Innovation is in our blood – I knew I could solve this huge environmental problem,” says Ricky, a senior in the Foster School of Business. “The UW gave me the resources and the motivation to really flesh out my idea.”

UW researchers monitor bees in local gardens

Nov. 29, 2012

In Seattle, the native bumblebee, Bombus occidentalis, is endangered. To monitor the survival of these bees, a group of graduate students in the UW Department of Biology developed the Urban Pollination Project (UPP) earlier this year.

Because of the connection between bees and food production, Susan Waters, a Ph.D. candidate in the UW Department of Biology and a researcher for UPP, said this research affects humans as well. One-third of the food humans consume could not be produced without bees.

International study provides more solid measure of shrinking in polar ice sheets

The planet’s two largest ice sheets have been losing ice faster during the past decade, causing widespread confusion and concern. A new international study provides a firmer read on the state of continental ice sheets and how much they are contributing to sea-level rise.

Dozens of climate scientists have reconciled their measurements of ice sheet changes in Antarctica and Greenland during the past two decades. The results, published Nov. 29 in the journal Science, roughly halve the uncertainty and discard some conflicting observations.

UW to work with state agencies to reduce ocean acidification

Gov. Christine Gregoire announced Tuesday that state agencies will be taking action to combat the problem of ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest, including the potential opening of a research center at the UW, as an executive order.

The Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, appointed by Gregoire to review the subject, recommended Gregoire take steps to reduce harm on marine wildlife from ocean acidification. When pH levels drop in seawater, the water becomes acidic. The effects of this on shellfish and marine life are detrimental.

APHA passes UW student clean water resolution

The American Public Health Association (APHA) approved a resolution written by six UW public-health graduate students calling for a thorough approach to protecting coastal water quality last month.

The resolution, which recommends modernizing and enforcing the Clean Water Act originally passed by Congress in 1972, was the culminating assignment for the students as part of their master of public-health training program.

UW, WSU compete in environmental pledge

November 15, 2012

As the Apple Cup approaches, the UW and Washington State University (WSU) rivalry strengthens. This rivalry isn’t just limited to sports. Most recently, it has extended to environmental issues. UW and WSU are currently competing in the One Thing Challenge, a competition to get students to pledge to change one thing in their daily routines to help the environment.

The One Thing Challenge began in 2008 when Clive Pursehouse, diversity initiatives administrator for UW Housing & Food Services (HFS), created the challenge and circulated it through the residence halls.