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65 posts in People

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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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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Becoming a Scientist 4.0

By Michelle Tigchelaar & Johanna Goldman As the District of Columbia was preparing itself to watch the James Comey hearing the way soccer fans watch World Cup matches — in a bar at 10am — we were huddled together in a building just blocks away from the center of action, preparing ourselves instead for Day 4 of the AMS Summer Policy Colloquium.   

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PCC-IGERT students write New York Times article to advise state policy makers

By Katherine Crosman (Evans School of Public Policy and Governance), Leah Johnson (Applied Physics Laboratory & School of Oceanography), Eleni Petrou (School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences), and Hillary Scannell (School of Oceanography) Feverish conditions in the Pacific Ocean in recent years sparked a global conversation on the impacts of a changing climate on coastal ecosystems and communities. In response, The New York Times (NYT) published an article, which became the focus of a Pacific-wide competition. 

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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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