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8 posts in Blog Post

Things I learned from leading the PCC

The 2017 Program on Climate Change Summer Institute on “Population Health and Climate Change” that took place at the beautiful UW Friday Harbor Laboratory last week gave me the opportunity to reflect on my tenure as Director of the Program on Climate Change that started in fall 2011. In fall of 2010 at the beginning of my last sabbatical, I joined an effort to build collaborations between the newly formed College of the Environment and the also young Department of Global Health to focus on global environmental change and human health. 

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Bridging science and economics in the study of contemporary Arctic issues

by Michelle Dvorak 25 June 2017 I am a 24-year old and recent graduate from the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. I came to University somewhat reluctantly, after finishing my Bachelor’s in chemistry and spending four months abroad on an extended skiing and climbing vacation. I was born and bred in the Pacific Northwest, and a big part of me lives to experience the mountains – it was difficult to return to academia with this kind of appetite for lofty adventure. 

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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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ICYMI: Union of Concerned Scientists Science (UCS) Advocacy Workshop

by Emma Kahle On April 12th, a lovely spring afternoon, students, faculty, and staff gathered to learn about science advocacy. OCN 425 filled to the brim with folks interested in how to address the topic of climate with audiences skeptical of climate change or of science in general. These “hostile” audiences could include reporters (getting interviewed for your latest climate publication?), legislators (testifying before the House Science Committee?), or members of the public you meet in person or on the Internet. 

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David Bonan, PCC Undergraduate Assistant, interviews Inez Fung

The undergraduate assistant for the PCC, David Bonan, interviewed Dr. Inez Fung during her visit to the University of Washington as the 2017 Distinguished Visiting Atmospheric Scientist Lecturer. They discussed the current state of climate and climate change research, better climate communication, and her relationship with a close colleague of hers that recently passed away, Piers Sellers.  

Read "Making the Esoteric Pertinent: A talk with Inez Fung"

Translating science into policy: the power of boiling it down

I am not the typical graduate student. Before starting graduate school, I served as a submarine officer in the Navy for seven years. While I was on active duty, I served at a command where scientists frequently briefed us on how their research would impact our work. Sitting in many of these presentations, I noticed that the scientists often spoke exclusively in technical jargon – to the extent that the military-minded decision-makers did not know what questions to ask for clarification. 

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If I were going to blog ….or guidelines for grad students blogging about their capstone communication

Miriam Bertram, January 23, 2017 You’ve completed your capstone project; maybe you gave a series of presentations on “The Road to Paris: Climate Change Science and Policy” or developed a lab for a high school classroom.  You’ve evaluated what your audience retained or learned, written your capstone report.  Now those Program on Climate Change tyrants want you to write a blog.  

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On being a climate scientist

By LuAnne Thompson Director, University of Washington Program on Climate Change Walters Professor of Oceanography, Adjunct Professor Physics and Atmospheric Sciences This past week has been a whirlwind and I feel like I am finally catching my breath and wanted to share my reflections on what role the Program on Climate Change should play both on and off campus over the next year.  

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