16 news posts from January 2014

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Big is not bad: Scientists call for preservation of large carnivores

African Leopard

The world is losing its large carnivores, their ranges are collapsing and many species are at risk of extinction. “Promoting tolerance and coexistence with large carnivores is a crucial societal challenge that will ultimately determine the fate of Earth’s largest carnivores and all that depends upon them, including humans,” write the co-authors of a review article, in the Jan. 10 issue of Science, about the largest carnivore species on Earth. 

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James Balog, creator of Chasing Ice, visits UW

Chasing Ice screening in Kane Hall

The Future of Ice Speaker Series began with a visit from James Balog, one of several Walker-Ames speakers this year at the UW. His talk focused on his work documenting climate change affecting not only our frozen landscapes and seascapes, but the entire globe. His message was buttressed by stunning images of high-latitude icy ecosystems and time-lapsed photographs documenting the disappearance of some of the world’s largest glaciers. 

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Book explains astrobiology for a general audience

Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction

In the late 1990s, the University of Washington created what was arguably the world’s first graduate program in astrobiology, aimed at preparing scientists to hunt for life away from Earth. In 2001, David Catling became one of the first people brought to the UW specifically to teach astrobiology. Catling, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, is the author of Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction, the 370th offering in the Oxford University Press series of “very short introduction” books by experts in various fields. 

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‘Future of Ice’ initiative marks new era for UW polar research

Winter Sunset in Kulusuk

The Northwest has long been a hub for Alaska-bound fishing vessels and scientific study of the Arctic. The University of Washington’s new “Future of Ice” initiative seeks to build on that research in a region now undergoing rapid changes. The initiative includes several new hires, a new minor in Arctic studies and a winter lecture series. “This is partly recognizing how much is going on in polar research at the UW,” said initiative director Eric Steig, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences who studies ice cores. 

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El Nino tied to melting of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier

Pine Island ice shelf

Many glaciers flowing from the land to the coast eventually float over the ocean and melt. The speed at which that melting occurs can depend on many factors, including the warmth of the water beneath it.  In Antarctica the Pine Island Glacier drives large amounts of ice into the ocean, and for decades the glacier’s tip has been thinning. College of the Environment scientists and their partners have connected the dots behind the complex drivers that explain why we are seeing this phenomenon occur.  

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