News & Blog


Stephanie Rushley summarizes her interdisciplinary fellowship research “Examination of intraseasonal coral luminescence peaks during the Mid-Holocene”

In this project, Dr. Daehyun Kim (Dept. Atmospheric Sciences) and I partnered with Dr. Julian Sachs (Dept. Oceanography) to examine a hypothesis presented by Lough et al. (2014).  The authors examined streamflow and rainfall in the current and mid-Holocene climates using coral luminescence and found that there was an increase in the number of peaks in coral luminescence, hence heavy rain events, per year during the mid-Holocene, indicating an increase in intraseasonal variability of precipitation.  In the modern climate, more than one annual peak of luminescence is rare.  Lough et al. (2014) hypothesized that the increase in intraseasonal peaks in the mid-Holocene were driven by a stronger Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), which is the dominant source of intraseasonal precipitation variability in the tropics. This fellowship project opened many doors to me that I would have never experienced.  Through Dr. Sachs I was introduced to Dr. Janice Lough, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, who not only shared her monthly coral data from the modern period and mid-Holocene period from three different sites in the Great Barrier Reef, but also took the time to help me understand how to correctly use the data by answering numerous questions.  For example, Dr. Lough highlighted some possible errors that can cause unrealistic trends in the coral data that are caused by decay in skeletal density.  Dr. Lough has been extremely helpful and I am very grateful to have gotten connected with her during the course of this project.  Working with experts in very different areas I found a way to connect my work with the MJO to streamflow and coral proxy which I had never worked with before and find interesting results. One of the most interesting results we found was related to the seasonal cycle of the coral luminescence.

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Teachings kids about climate change where most parents are skeptics

A partner with the PCC and the UW in the High Schools Program, Jamie Esler, was recently featured in The Washington Post. Jamie was a part of the PCC Education's Climate Science for the Classroom and has been allowing students to understand the meaning of climate change on their own terms. The course allows students to actively investigate the most current scientific research behind the nature of Earth's global climate system, and the factors influencing this system. His actions represents a greater struggle to teach climate change in high schools.

Read more at The Washington Post

Climate Science on Tap!

The Climate Science on Tap panel discussed sea level rise, its causes and impacts around Puget Sound, and what is being done to prepare and respond in the future. LuAnne Thompson, Director of the UW Program on the Climate Change, was a part of the panel discussing last week.

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PCC Funding for mini symposia is available

The PCC is pleased to welcome proposals for mini symposia held at University of Washington or nearby for the PCC community and visitors. Symposia should be planned to occur before the end of 2018 on topics grounded in climate science broadly considered and must clearly meet the mission of the PCC. The PCC can provide financial support up to $5,000 to pay for a venue, food and travel for a few visitors for up to 2 symposia. 

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Applications for PCC Interdisciplinary Fellowships are available

A new graduate fellowship opportunity to begin between winter 2018 and winter 2019 is being offered to support one or more students with a clear passion for working across academic boundaries on projects grounded in climate science. The application includes a written proposal for research that is not currently defined as the students’ dissertation research, and that has the support of faculty/staff in two different units (academic departments, research units, etc.). The goal of this opportunity is to build collaboration across disciplines while addressing a proposed climate related research, communication, data driven etc. goal. We have a total of 9 months (3 quarters) of support for this opportunity, and proposals asking for 3, 6 or 9 months of support will be considered. We will also entertain proposals for joint projects that include two graduate students that are matriculated in different departments. These funds will only be awarded if the applicant(s) and the proposed project(s) and collaborations clearly meet the goals and criteria described in the announcement. The application period will end October 15, 2017 and awards to be made by December 2017. This fellowship opportunity will be made available again in 2018.

Find out more here

Refuting EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's claim

Qiang Fu (UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences), and Stephen Po-Chedley (recent grad of UW Atmos), are coauthors on the recently published paper refuting EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's claim that, "over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming". The group instead goes back to 1979 and uses satellite data to illustrate the warming over the past 40 years.

Read more at The Washington Post

Eric Steig is in The New York Times

The New York Times has been doing a series on Antarctica and the signals of climate change over the past few weeks. In Part 3 of their series, they talk about the culprit for the loss of ice around West Antarctica. Some point to the strengthening of the winds, churning up more warm ocean water. however, Eric Steig, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, mentions that "we’re not sure because we don’t have enough data, for long enough, to separate signal from noise".

Read more at The New York Times

Former PCC graduate student of ESS says goodbye to glaciers

Twila Moon, a PCC Fellow and former Department of Earth and Space Sciences graduate student recently wrote an article in Science talking about the the global retreat of glaciers. Moon states that "photographs and aerial and satellite images of glaciers show consistent, substantial, and anomalous retreat from the Antarctic Peninsula through Patagonia, Kilimanjaro, and the Himalayas to Greenland and the Arctic. Iconic glaciers—such as many in Glacier National Park, Montana—have already disappeared".

Read more at Science

Surprising results with the atmosphere from looking at ice cores, bacteria and isotopes!

UW researchers, Lei Geng, Qiang Fu, and Becky Alexander published a study in the journal Nature that shows during large climate swings, oxidants shift in a opposite direction than researchers had expected, which means they need to rethink what controls these chemicals in our air. In their study, they analyzed slices from a Greenland ice core in the UW’s isotope chemistry lab. A new method was created to get a read on changes in the atmospheric oxidants.

Read more at UW News
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