News & Blog


“Climate change could heighten risk of global food production ‘shocks’”–Michelle Tigchelaar writes about her recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Michelle Tichelaar, a postdoctoral researcher at UW Atmospheric Sciences and others show in the PNAS paper that climate change will increase the likelihood of major crop failures of corn, and other crops, and provides context for the article in her piece for "Carbon Brief" Tigchelaar, M., Battisti, D. S., Naylor, R. L. and Ray, D. K. (2018) Future warming increases probability of globally synchronized maize production shocks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1718031115

Michelle's opinion post in Carbon Brief

Communicating Sea Level Rise to Coastal Washington Communities: Opportunities, Challenges, and Concerns

-by Diana Perry, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs Graduate and Graduate Certificate in Climate Science Recipient, Spring 2018 The beach on Cape Cod where I grew up exploring looks different—a thinner, steeper backshore and steeper nearshore leading to a larger shallower point—than it did when I first stepped foot on it. In a few decades, it may not exist, or at the very least, will look dramatically different. 

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PCC members part of massive international project to monitor Thwaites Glacier

Knut Christianson, an assistant professor of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, and Nick Holschuh, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, are helping to lead a massive international collaboration to better understand the fate of Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the "world's most dangerous glacier". Their work is just one of eight projects involving over 100 scientists. The project aims to collect better data that will eventually be fed into computer models to forecast the future of Earth’s climate. The data that Christianson and Holschuh will collect will be from scans using two different radars to map the individual layers of snow, ice, and bedrock. Predictions of the near-term fate of Thwaites Glacier depend critically on a more detailed picture of the bed topography where the glacier resides.

Read More at UW News

A Speakers Bureau for a local, worker-centric Climate Caucus

As climate researchers living in a city with the highest public recognition of global warming in the US, it’s easy to slip into social media-enhanced echo chambers about the science and risks of climate change. With the decline in civic organizations, as demonstrated in Robert Putnam’s popular book “Bowling Alone,” breaking out of this bubble and engaging in science conversations across diverse perspectives takes time and energy, and is especially difficult in the absence of a community affiliation that provides common ground. 

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UW affiliated researchers appointed to co-author IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

Four researchers spread out across the greater University of Washington area are among the 721 experts invited to participate as lead authors and editors in the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Two PCC board members, Kyle Armour, an assistant professor of oceanography and atmospheric sciences, and Kristie Ebi, a professor of global health and environmental and occupational health sciences were selected to help write the AR6. Amour was selected to be a lead author for Chapter 7 of Working Group I, which centers around the "Earth's energy budget, climate feedbacks, and climate sensitivity". Kristie Ebi was selected to be a review editor for chapter 1 of Working Group II, which assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change. On top of this, Richard Feely, of NOAA PMEL, was selected to be a review editor and Jeremy Hess, an associate professor of global health, was appointed to be a lead author for chapter 6 of Working Group II.

Read More in the IPCC

Looking back at “Using past observations to constrain future climate variability and change” the inaugural mini-symposium

The Program on Climate Change hosted its inaugural “mini-symposium” at the UW Waterfront Activity Center on February 8-9, 2018. Exploring the theme of “Using past observations to constrain future climate variability and change”, the mini-symposium brought together a wide range of participants and speakers, including from the School of Oceanography, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, the Applied Physics Lab, and the NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. 

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PCC members help connect the dots on climate change through an influential and lasting GCeCS capstone

Studying climate change is not always about the science. The science, however, does lay the foundation for adapting to and mitigating climate change. An example of this relationship was shown no better than in a recent presentation given by a few PCC members. Judy Twedt, Michelle Tigchelaar, Miriam CaukinsAlex Lenferna, and Kate Griffith, all members of the climate caucus within the Union of Academic Student Employees at the University of Washington, talked about climate change in a worker-centric environment that sought to move beyond polarization and stereotyping to have honest dialogue. The idea was originally started by Twedt, who proposed developing a short presentation for the climate caucus on climate change and how it will impact residents of Washington state for her Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS). After the initial presentation with the climate caucus, other unions requested similar talks for their membership and staff meetings. The talks have since blossomed into a speakers bureau, picking up members from all over the university.

Read More at UAW

Compelling animations accompanying a piece in the NYT by Cecilia Bitz, Director of the PCC, show "Hot Times in the Arctic"

Cecilia Bitz, Director of the Program on Climate Change (PCC) and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, contributed her perspective on the recent warming in the Arctic in an opinion piece in The New York Times. Her piece sheds some light on weather the recent warming event is connected to climate change or anomalous weather. Accompanying the opinion piece, are two separate animations of surface temperature change over the last 30-years and last few months. 

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Building Relationships to Promote Science-Based Decision Making

PCC graduate students from ESS (Taryn Black and Emma Kahle) and ATMOS (Michael Diamond) worked with the Union of Concerned Scientists to host a very successful event to train scientists to talk to policymakers.  Inspired by the angst expressed by climate scientists during the PCC Climate Conversations last winter, this event created a pathway for action and for sharing research and science skill outside of academia.

Read about the event in the UCS blog post  by Taryn, Emma and Michael.

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
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