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13 posts in Education

Abby Swann seeks to explain the importance of land-atmosphere interactions through a brand-new course

A brand-new course called “ATM S 493: Ecological Climatology” is being offered this Autumn quarter. Abby Swann, an assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Department of Biology will be teaching the course. Her research focuses in on global scale interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and atmospheric circulation. Not surprisingly, the course will investigate the connection between ecosystems and climate including physical, chemical, and biological interactions. 

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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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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.

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GCeCS and Capstone Meeting: April 4 at 2:30

The Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS) combines coursework and a capstone experience, and one important step is identifying a capstone project. To help students frame a project, and to connect with mentors/project partners, we are holding an informal gathering on April 4 from 2:30-3:30 in OCN 310. We will divide into small groups, and those interested in education will have the opportunity to learn more about our annual workshop with high school teachers. 

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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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GCeCS Capstone Opportunity

Posted January 26, 2017 The Northwest Climate Science Center (NW CSC) has an opportunity for a graduate student to develop a GCeCS capstone project that will help them with their ongoing climate science communication efforts. The NW CSC provides climate science support to managers of our region’s natural resources. The UW office is looking for a student interested in helping improve their communication projects while also working on a capstone project. 

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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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Congratulations to Miriam Calkins and Stephanie Rushley, awarded the new PCC interdisciplinary fellowships!

These awards are to encourage students to think across disciplinary boundaries and engage in research that is distinct from their dissertation research. Proposed research must have the support of advisors in two different departments.  Two awards were made for 2017/2018.  Miriam Calkins, a graduate student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) will be working on “Near future projections of heat-related workers compensation injury claims in Washington State, 2020-2050” and will be advised by Kris Ebi (Global Health), Tania Busch-Isaksen (DEOHS) and Karin Bumbaco (JISAO/State Climatologists Office).   

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GCC's 10th Anniversary - 93 graduate students from near and far talking and tweeting climate

GCC 2016 Summary -Greg Quetin, Atmospheric Sciences,  PCC Graduate Student Representative The 10th Annual Graduate Climate Conference (GCC) was hosted between October 28th and 30th at the University of Washington Pack Forest Facility. 93 graduate students from both USA and international institutions gathered to discuss climate science, with sessions including talks and posters on “Atmospheric Dynamics, Clouds and Chemistry”, “Ocean Dynamics and Interactions”, “Biosphere Interactions”, “Biogeochemistry”, “Water, Ice, and Snow”, “Paleoclimate” and “Human Dimensions”. 

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