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Human-driven climate change found to increase risk of flooding in the Peruvian Andes, and other glacial lakes

A recent study published by a team of scientists from the University of Oxford and the University of Washington shows, for the first time, a direct connection between human-driven climate change and an increased risk of glacial lake flooding. The study focused on Lake Palcacocha, a glacial lake in the Peruvian Andes, and demonstrates how human-induced global warming has increased flood risk, due to the lake's growth as the glacier that formed it continues to retreat. This study will be important evidence in an ongoing court case in which a resident of the town most at risk from increased flooding is suing a German electricity producer for its role in worsening global warming. Additionally, this process can be expanded to other glacial lakes across the world, serving as an instrumental piece in understanding the consequences and risks associated with global warming in affected areas it results in the growth and creation of glacial lakes worldwide. A key researcher in this study was UW professor of Earth and Space Sciences Gerard Roe, whose participation in the study and previous work in creating a method that can determine if an individual glacier's retreat can be directly linked to anthropogenic climate change was instrumental to the study. Roe is also a member of the PCC Executive Board.

Read more at UW News

Congrats to Kyle Armour, recipient of the 2020 James B. Macelwane Medal from AGU!

Kyle Armour, PCC Executive Board member and associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and School of Oceanography, has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The Macelwane Medal is given annually to three to five early-career scientists in recognition of their significant contributions to Earth and space science. Congrats Kyle!  

Read more at UW Atmos News

Introducing ACORN Projects

We often refer to an “academic bubble” filled with researchers, professors, and students, like ourselves, who are isolated from the broader communities they inhabit. Importantly, academic research objectives don’t always align with the immediate, actionable priorities of these wider communities. While the extent to which “academic bubbles” exist can be debated, there is undoubtedly room for improvement in conducting meaningful engagement and research in partnership with communities. 

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Changes in the Madden-Julian Oscillation affect global precipitation

UW Atmospheric Sciences professor Daehyun Kim studies tropical weather patterns, and contributed to a recent paper in Nature which suggests that trends in decreased rainfall here in the Pacific Northwest may be linked to warming in the Western Pacific Ocean, near Indonesia. The warming ocean affects weather patterns, increasing rainfall in the Amazon, southwest Africa and northern Australia, and reducing it in parts of Asia and Western North America.

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Congratulations to Kyle Armour, 2020 Sloan Fellow for Early Career Research

Kyle Armour is an assistant professor in the School of Oceanography and Department of Atmospheric Sciences. He is studying the role of the ocean in climate change using a combination of oceanographic and atmospheric observations, numerical climate model simulations and theory, and is a lead author on the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report. Kyle currently serves on the PCC Board and has been an active member of the PCC community since he was a graduate student at UW. Congratulations Kyle!

Read more at UW News

Connecting ice-core data with climate models: An interdisciplinary project to examine glacial-interglacial changes in Antarctica

Which of the following is a more effective tool for learning about past changes in Earth’s climate: measurements from paleoclimate records or outputs from climate model simulations? Depending on who you ask, you will probably get a different answer to this question. Through my research on climate in Antarctica, I’ve been convinced that both tools are equally important. In fact, both tools are necessary in order to maximize understanding of the Earth’s climate system. 

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UW Researchers detect carbon dioxide outgassing in the Southern Ocean

Alison Gray (UW Oceanography) and her team recently published a paper in AGU about significant carbon dioxide outgassing in the Southern Ocean during the winter. The Southern Ocean was previously thought to be a carbon sink, based off of measurements that were sparse and tended to be from the summer. This paper used data from SOCCOM (Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling) floats that take measurements year-round. Steve Riser (UW Oceanography) leads the UW team that is a part of SOCCOM. They build and test the floats before they are deployed, and have a key role in SOCCOM's observational group.

Read More at ScienceNews

Congratulations to Surabhi Biyani, UW's only 2019 Hollings Undergraduate Scholar

This highly coveted award went to 125 undergraduates across the country--with UW represented by Surabhi Biyani, PCC's current undergraduate assistant, a College of the Environment ambassador and double major in Earth and Space Science and Atmospheric Science.  The award is targeted at students who are committed "to help us better understand our changing world" and allows them research opportunities as well as tuition support.

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