News & Blog


14 posts in Publications

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

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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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

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

Graduate Student Representative, Greg Quetin, has a new paper in the Journal of Climate

Department of Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Student and PCC Graduate Student Representative, Greg Quetin, recently published a paper in the Journal of Climate on the interaction of vegetation and global climate. The study found that the composition of ecosystems can be shaped by climate in order to take advantage of local environmental conditions. Moreover, the interaction between photosynthesis and temperature can respond to different climatological states. The combination of these two factors determines ecological-climate interaction and the pattern can provide a functional constraint for process-based models, helping to improve predictions of the global-scale response of vegetation to a changing climate.

Read more at the Journal of Climate

UW Atmos and ESS collaboration—Arctic sea ice loss and natural variability

David Battisti, Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, Stephen Po-Chedley, and Ryan Eastman of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Eric Steig of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences recently published a paper in Nature about the influence of high-latitude atmospheric circulation changes on summertime Arctic sea ice. The study found that a substantial amount of summer sea ice loss in recent decades was due to natural variability in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean.

Read More in Nature

UW Glaciologists uncover truths about hidden lakes on West Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier

UW Glaciologists, Alexander Huth and Ian Joughin,and Noel Gourmele of the University of Edinburgh used data from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 to study a sudden drainage of large pools below Thwaites Glacier. Thwaites Glacier is one of two fast-moving glaciers at the edge of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The recently published study in The Cryosphere shows four interconnected lakes that drained in eight months. The glacier sped up by about 10 percent during that time, showing that the glacier’s long-term movement is fairly oblivious to trickles at its underside.

Read more at The Cryosphere
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