Earthquake early warning system funding awarded to UW, West Coast universities

Pacific Northwest Seismic Network director John Vidale with the system that will be tested next week.

A recent article published by The New Yorker has resulted in widespread talks and panic about the risk of a mega-earthquake off the Pacific Northwest coast. While the seismic hazard is real, the article’s tone may have been overly fatalistic and didn’t highlight earthquake preparedness tools that are now being developed. The U.S. Geological Survey announced today that $5 million will go to the University of Washington and three other institutions to help transition the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system to a public-facing tool. 

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College of the Environment researchers elected as AGU fellows

Greenland ice canyon filled with melt water in summer 2010 (photo: Ian Joughin, UW APL Polar Science Center)

Two University of Washington scientists from the College of the Environment have been elected as follows of the American Geophysical Union. The Earth sciences group recognizes one in 1,000 members each year for their scientific work and sustained impact. The College’s honorees—Department of Atmospheric Sciences’ Christopher Bretherton and Department of Earth & Space Sciences’ Ian Joughin—are among 60 new fellows. Bretherton studies how clouds form and change over time and how to better represent this in climate and weather-forecasting models. 

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Climate Impacts Group welcomes new deputy director

Brighter clouds can increase reflectivity

The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) welcomes Joe Casola as its new Deputy Director, effective July 22. He comes to CIG with experience that fits well within their scope, and will also help them grow into new arenas surrounding climate change. “We’re thrilled to have Joe serving as the new Deputy Director,” says Amy Snover, Director of CIG. “Joe has worked with public and private sector decision makers across the nation on climate adaptation, and also has a strong scientific foundation in atmospheric dynamics and Pacific Northwest climate. 

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JISAO scientists play critical role in ocean health XPRIZE

Deploying the CTD off hte coast of Hawaii.

Sunburst Sensors, based out of Missoula, MT, grabbed the two top spots in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, receiving a $1.5 million award for advancing scientist’s ability to measure ocean chemistry as it relates to ocean acidification. Designed as a competition to spur innovation, teams from around the globe competed to develop the most promising technologies in two categories: a device that is easy to use and cost effective and a device that is highly accurate when tracking ocean acidification. 

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Marine plankton brighten clouds over Southern Ocean

Sunset For Gannets

Nobody knows what our skies looked like before fossil fuel burning began; today, about half the cloud droplets in Northern Hemisphere skies formed around particles of pollution. Cloudy skies help regulate our planet’s climate and yet the answers to many fundamental questions about cloud formation remain hazy. New research led by the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggest tiny ocean life in vast stretches of the Southern Ocean play a significant role in generating brighter clouds overhead. 

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