News & Blog

19 posts in Publications

Ice-sheets in the Northern Hemisphere drove climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere

A new study by PCC community members, Eric Steig and Brad Markle, is out in Nature. The team, led by researchers at University of Colorado, Boulder, demonstrated that climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere was forced by ice-sheet topography in the Northern Hemisphere. By using a fully-coupled climate model, the team determined the reason for the observed change in the ice core. They demonstrate that the retreat of the Laurentide–Cordilleran ice-sheets fundamentally altered the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere by reducing the strength of interactions between the tropical Pacific and high southern latitudes. Their results show that interannual and decadal variability in West Antarctica was reduced by nearly half during this retreat.

Read More in Nature

Forcing and variability on Southern Ocean surface temperature trends

A new paper out in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) highlights the contribution of both anthropogenic forcing and natural variability on Southern Ocean surface temperature trends. Kyle Armour, of the School of Oceanography and Department of Atmospheric Sciences, was part of a team that helped to shed light on this. Using an ensemble of coupled general circulation models, they evaluated possible causes of the models’ inability to reproduce the observed Southern Ocean cooling. Their research found that the CMIP5 models have diverse Southern Ocean sea-surface temperature (SST) responses to the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and greenhouse gas forcing. Through this they show that the biases in the simulated SAM trends strongly affect the models’ historical Southern Ocean SST trends.

Read More at Geophysical Research Letters (GRL)

New species relationships and interactions due to climate change

A new study led by doctoral student Elli Theobald, doctoral student Ian Breckheimer and biology professor Janneke Hille Ris Lambers help to uncover what subalpine communities may look like by the end of this century. Over the course of a few summers, the researchers studied the flowering patterns among the alpine species. They noted that the anomalous conditions of the 2015 suggested that new patterns of reassembled wildflower communities will occur, with unknown ecological consequences. However, there is not enough information to know who the "winners" and "losers" of reassembly will be, or even what "winning" or "losing" in this scenario would look like.

Read More at ESA

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

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
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