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  • Glaciers in Mongolia's Gobi Desert actually shrank in the last ice age | IFLScience
    Thursday, March 8, 2018
    During the last Ice Age as ice sheets expanded and the rest of the world grew colder, there's a pocket in Central Asia where glaciers did exactly the opposite. Jigjidsurengiin Batbaatar, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences, is quoted. Read More
  • Assessing landslide risk | KIRO 7
    Tuesday, February 27, 2018
    A new tool can help people in Seattle assess landslide risk in their neighborhood. David Montgomery, professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • Real time Tropical Cyclone Monitoring by WWLLN
    Tuesday, February 20, 2018
    Monitoring Tropical Cyclones with Lightning and Satellite Data A new storm-following tool continually watches for lightning over the open ocean. Combined with satellite microwave data, the new real-time observations will improve forecasts of tropical cyclones. The World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) team, a group coordinated by the University of Washington in Seattle, operates a network of lightning location sensors that produces regular maps of lightning activity all over the world. To tackle the demand for continuous tropical cyclone monitoring, the WWLLN team has developed a unique “storm-following” tool and a public website known as WWLLN Tropical Cyclones (WWLLN-TC). The website visualizes lightning data in near-real time for all tropical cyclones across the globe. See the actual data at http://wwlln.net/storms/ Read More
  • How on earth did Seattle's train tracks wind up in mudslide zones? | KUOW
    Tuesday, February 20, 2018
    Landslides on railroad tracks along Puget Sound frequently delay trains. Dave Montgomery, a geologist at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • A 'landslide observatory': Scientists study Washington's Rattlesnake Ridge | The Seattle Times
    Wednesday, February 14, 2018
    Researchers are tracking Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima as it creeps downhill to learn more about unstable hillsides and -- perhaps -- improve slide prediction. The UW's Steve Malone, Scott Henderson and David Schmidt, all of Earth and space sciences, are quoted. Read More
  • Search for aliens to employ 'ESPRESSO': Black box detection device a more powerful planet hunter | Inquisitr
    Monday, February 12, 2018
    Astronomers are set to get a powerful boost to their capabilities of detecting exoplanets and in determining whether or not said worlds circling faraway stars are Earth-like. Recent UW research is referenced. Read More
  • GPS data make it possible to predict most devastating earthquakes | Inverse
    Friday, February 9, 2018
    Earthquakes killed more than 1,200 people worldwide in 2017 alone. Traditional earthquake warning systems are able to accurately report the magnitude of smaller quakes, but they get less accurate the more severe the tremor. Brendan Crowell, research scientist at the UW's Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, is quoted. Read More
  • Ice core shows North American ice sheet's retreat affected Antarctic weather
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    Researchers at the University of Washington were among the co-authors of a new study that uses ice core data to see how Earth’s climate behaved at the end of the last ice age, when the Laurentide Ice Sheet covering much of North America retreated about 16,000 years ago.

    iceberg from above

    Sea ice and icebergs in the Southern Ocean in 2017 off the coast of West Antarctica. The new study looks at the year-to-year variability of storms in this region. Bradley Markle/University of Washington

    The study led by the University of Colorado Boulder is published online this week and will be in the Feb. 15 print issue of the journal Nature.

    “Our data are from just one location in Antarctica, but the results provide an indication of how climate variability changed across most of the Southern Hemisphere -- and perhaps most of the globe -- as the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets receded at the end of the ice age,” said co-author Eric Steig, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences.

    The study relies on information contained in a 2-mile core of ice from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that UW researchers helped to drill from 2006 to 2011. This ice core is the first continuous climate record to preserve year-to-year climate variability of the last 30,000 years.

    ice core closeup

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core during the drilling project.Bradley Markle/University of Washington

    At the Stable Isotope Lab in Boulder, the researchers slowly melted and then vaporized the ice cores for analysis using laser absorption spectroscopy, a new methodology that reveals the isotopic composition of the water with unprecedented speed, detail and accuracy. The isotopic composition of the ice core is a measure of the chemical composition of ancient snowfall in Antarctica.

    Changes in the isotopic composition through time reflect changes in climate; they are driven by changes in temperature, snowfall amount and atmospheric circulation. The measurements at Boulder were independently corroborated by analyses in the UW’s Isolab.

    The isotopic records preserved in the layers of ice show a large, abrupt decline in year-to-year and decade-to-decade variability about 16,000 years ago, indicating a decline in the variability of climate.

    More photos from Markle’s field research

    CU Boulder press release: “North American ice sheet decay changed Antarctic climate

    “Year-to-year and decade-to-decade climate in Antarctica was extremely variable during the ice age. One year would not necessarily be as similar to the next as it is today,” said co-author Bradley Markle, a UW postdoctoral researcher in Earth and space sciences who contributed to the new paper as part of his UW doctorate. “Our study shows that changed abruptly at the end of the ice age. The scale of this variability was cut nearly in half.”

    The researchers next used climate models to determine the reason for the observed change. They found that it was largely caused by the shrinking of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which affected atmospheric conditions near the equator.

    “When the North American ice sheet receded and disappeared, it changed how the atmosphere in the tropics influenced the storms around Antarctica. The tropics, counterintuitively, exert a strong influence on the storminess around Antarctica through phenomena like El Ni?o,” Markle said. “As different as they seem, the cold Antarctic and the warm tropics are intimately connected.”

    The new study adds to a growing body of research -- including previous studies from the UW -- showing connections between climate in different parts of the planet. This is one of only a small handful of studies to make such a connection this far back on the shorter timescales that humans experience.

    “The results demonstrate how seemingly localized effects in one part of the world may have a large impact on climate elsewhere on Earth,” said lead author Tyler Jones, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

    The research and drilling project were supported by the National Science Foundation. Other co-authors are William Roberts, who completed his doctorate at the UW and is now at the University of Bristol; Kurt Cuffey, who completed his doctorate at the UW and is now at the University of California, Berkeley; and James White at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

    ###

    For more information, contact Steig at esteig@uw.edu or 206-685-3715, Markle at marklebr@uw.edu and Jones at 303-492-4606 or tyler.jones@colorado.edu.

    Parts of this article were adapted from a CU Boulder press release.

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  • Alien life could become easier to find thanks to this scientific breakthrough | Inquisitr
    Friday, January 26, 2018
    Scientists at The University of Washington have discovered that searching for Earth-like planets that contain methane and not oxygen is a much more productive way to find alien life on other planets. Joshua Krissansen-Totton, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences, and David Catling, a professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, are quoted. Read More
  • Scientists figure out a new way to hunt for aliens | New York Post
    Friday, January 26, 2018
    A team of researchers at the UW has come up with a new and possibly more effective way to detect extraterrestrial life from millions of miles away and it's all about gases. Joshua Krissansen-Totton, a doctoral student in Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More