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Mountain glacier change from space

David Shean, a soon-to-be assistant professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering, has developed a new way of measuring mountain glacier change. Shean uses high-resolution satellite images to track elevation changes on local mountain glacier regions. His hope is to integrate the observations of glaciers with climate models and ask, "based on what we know now, where are these systems headed?". This prediction could be used to better manage water supplies and flood risks in a warmer world.  

Read More at UW News

PCC Director Cecilia Bitz helps explain Antarctica's massive polyna

A polyna is an area of open water in sea-ice. Polynas are special because they are formed by either warm oceanic upwelling beneath sea-ice or strong katabatic winds from above—or both. Polynas give scientists a view into the processes underneath sea-ice. This specific polyna is the size of Maine and has not been seen since the 1970s. Bitz ("Dr. Sea Ice"), was interviewed by Bustle to help explain this odd event and what it means for sea-ice research.

Read More at Bustle

Former PCC member, Mark Zelinka, tries to clear the cloud-feedback problem

In a recent paper in Nature Climate Change, Mark Zelinka (former PCC member) adds to the discussion of the cloud-feedback problem. Zelinka proposes that the cloud feedback is likely positive rather than negative. Zelinka states that our understanding of the uncertainty "in cloud feedback is a dominant cause of uncertainty in projections of global warming and hence more societal relevant aspects of climate, such as sea-level rise and changes in precipitation, continued progress is necessary".

Read more at Nature Climate Change

Distorted news and scientific studies

Abby Swann, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences and biology at the University of Washington, recently talked to Earth & Space Science News (EOS) about the rise in disinformation of scientific results. A study she conducted in 2016 about modeling found that forest loss in the southwestern United States and the Amazon could actually cause trees to grow faster in the southeastern United States and eastern South America. Ready to combat articles that were going to skew the results, Swann armed herself with talking points on non-climate-related benefits of trees. As of right now, only one right-wing newspaper in Australia has written a misleading article about her work.

Read More at EOS

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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Greg Johnson, of NOAA's PMEL, will lead massive Deep ARGO project

Greg Johnson, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle received a $4 million grant from Paul G. Allen Philanthropies to deploy the first large-scale array of the new sensors, called Deep Argo floats. Johnson states that “understanding ocean temperatures is vital to understanding climate and climate change. Since 1970, the oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the excess heat from greenhouse warming”. 

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Earth likely to warm more than 2 degrees this century says Dr. Frierson

A recent paper published in Nature Climate Change by a group of UW researchers, including Dr. Dargan Frierson, explains just how critical climate action is. The authors use a fully statistical approach based on country-specific variables to forecast CO2 emissions and temperature change to the year 2100. The study is based on the already implemented emission mitigation policies seen today and finds that it is unlikely that the increase in global temperature will stay under the 2°C mark, and that a change between 2°C and 4.9°C globally is more likely.

Read More at UW News
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