News & Blog

30 posts in News and Views

Standing with Asians and Asian Americans to Advance Justice, Equity, and Inclusion

The recent violence targeting Asians,  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders reflects the deepening of many of the divisions and increasing acts of violence that have arisen since the pandemic began.  Six of the eight killed in the Atlanta-area shootings were of Asian descent and seven of them were women.   As an organization that promotes and celebrates community and inclusion, the UW Program on Climate Change (UW PCC) stands with the University of Washington and educational institutions across the country to decry recent and racially motivated attacks. 

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The Program on Climate Change Winter Welcome 2020. In the Time Before.

On 25 February 2020, 80 climate scientists, educators and staff from across campus gathered in person to celebrate much that was new in the community for 2019/2020.  What we did not realize at the time was that this was going to be one of the last face-to-face interactions we could have as a community for months. Two weeks later, on March 9 the University of Washington went to remote operations, finishing the winter quarter online.  

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Lucas Vargas Zeppetello on staying one step ahead of climate skeptics

"If I could go back and rewrite the abstract of my group’s paper, I would include a sentence that points out why a feedback between surface temperatures and downwelling longwave radiation does not preclude the existence of the greenhouse effect." Lucas Vargas Zeppetello, graduate student in Atmospheric Sciences at the UW writes about his responses, both emotional and practical, to the misrepresentation of his discussion of radiation balance as published in his first research paper. "Don’t @ Me: What Happened When Climate Skeptics Misused My Work"

Read Lucas' EOS Opinion piece

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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