News & Blog


27 posts in News and Views

Generating Hope: Washington State Ferries Plans To Decarbonize Their Fleet by Switching To Electric Power

Alexandra Stote details the long range plans for electrifying Washington State Ferries, at a time when the federal government is falling short on climate policy and action, in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA) Student Blog.  Alex is a SMEA graduate student and member of the Program on Climate Change Graduate Student Steering Committee (P-GraSC).

Read the article in SMEA's "CURRENTS: A STUDENT BLOG"

Plant response to elevated carbon dioxide amplifies warming

A new study published by Marlies Kovenock, a graduate student in the Department of Biology and member of the PCC, demonstrates how the response of plants to climate change could result in more warming. Plants have been observed to change the thickness of their leaves when subject to increased CO2. Yet, the consequence of this physiological response is still poorly understood. Does this response amplify or dampen the warming caused by the increased CO2? Kovenock suggests that the thicker leaves may amplify the effects of climate change because the leaves would be less efficient in sequestering atmospheric carbon. By not accounting for this response, it means that global temperatures could rise by an extra 0.3 to 1.4 degrees Celsius.    

Read More at UW News

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

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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Abby Swann on Forecast: a podcast about climate science and climate change

Assistant Professor Abby Swann was recently featured on Forecast, a podcast about climate science and climate change. Michael White, Nature's editor for climate science and host of Forecast, talked with Swann about how plants respond to and affect climate change. Understanding the interactions of vegetation with the atmosphere usually involve long, convoluted, and complex stories, however, Swann eloquently describes such interactions in simple ways in this podcast.

Listen at Forecast

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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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

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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