Remote clouds responsible for climate models’ glitch in tropical rainfall

It seems counterintuitive that clouds over the Southern Ocean, which circles Antarctica, would cause rain in Zambia or the tropical island of Java. But new research finds that one of the most persistent biases in global climate models – a phantom band of rainfall just south of the equator that does not occur in reality – is caused by poor simulation of the cloud cover thousands of miles farther to the south.

Tracking sediments’ fate in largest-ever dam removal

Salmon are beginning to swim up the Elwha River for the first time in more than a century. But University of Washington marine geologists are watching what’s beginning to flow downstream — sediments from the largest dam-removal project ever undertaken.

The 108-foot Elwha Dam was built in 1910, and after decades of debate it was finally dismantled last year. Roughly a third of the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam still stands, holding back a mountain of silt, sand and gravel.

Changes in cloud distribution explain some weather patterns

Regional cloud changes, such as those that result in less rain during monsoons in India and those that indicate a widening of the tropics, may be as important to watch as the overall amount of cloud cover, new University of Washington research indicates.

Authors of the paper, led by Ryan Eastman, a UW research scientist in atmospheric sciences, set out to examine observations collected from weather stations around the world as a way to study the distribution of clouds. The research was recently published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.

European satellite confirms UW numbers: Arctic Ocean is on thin ice

The September 2012 record low in Arctic sea-ice extent was big news, but a missing piece of the puzzle was lurking below the ocean’s surface. What volume of ice floats on Arctic waters? And how does that compare to previous summers? These are difficult but important questions, because how much ice actually remains suggests how vulnerable the ice pack will be to more warming.

UW professor studies global warming

In the face of rising levels of human-produced greenhouse gases, one UW professor is part of a Greenland ice-drilling project that aims to better understand future global warming.

Edwin Waddington, UW professor of earth and space sciences, is one of 133 members involved in the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project, working with project leader Dorthe Dahl-Jensen of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Greenland ice core shows Antarctica vulnerable to warming

An international study indicates the last interglacial period more than 100,000 years ago could be a good indicator of where the planet is heading in the face of increasing greenhouse gases and warming temperatures globally.

The new results from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project, led by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, shows that during the Eemian interglacial period 130,000 to 115,000 years ago the climate in North Greenland was about 8 degrees Celsius (14.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than it is now.

International study: Where there’s smoke or smog, there’s climate change

January 15, 2013

In addition to causing smoggy skies and chronic coughs, soot – or black carbon – turns out to be the number two contributor to global warming. It’s second only to carbon dioxide, according to a four-year assessment by an international panel.

The new study concludes that black carbon, the soot particles in smoke and smog, contributes about twice as much to global warming as previously estimated, even by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Salmon runs boom, go bust over centuries

Salmon runs are notoriously variable: strong one year, and weak the next. New research shows that the same may be true from one century to the next.

Scientists in the past 20 years have recognized that salmon stocks vary not only year to year, but also on decades-long time cycles. One example is the 30-year to 80-year booms and busts in salmon runs in Alaska and on the West Coast driven by the climate pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.