124 news posts from

Return to News

Deforestation-fueled heat already affecting millions of outdoor workers in the tropics

After dusk, a man loads rice onto a truck laden with dozens of other huge green bags

Pledges made in Glasgow at the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, are urgently needed by communities on the front lines of forest loss, according to a new study by a multidisciplinary team from the University of Washington, Duke University and The Nature Conservancy. New research shows how much local temperature rises in the tropics — compounded by accelerating deforestation — may already be jeopardizing the well-being and productivity of outdoor workers. 

Read more at UW News »

Artificial intelligence can create better lightning forecasts


Lightning is one of the most destructive forces of nature, as in 2020 when it sparked the massive California Lightning Complex fires, but it remains hard to predict. A new study led by the University of Washington shows that machine learning — computer algorithms that improve themselves without direct programming by humans — can be used to improve lightning forecasts. Better lightning forecasts could help to prepare for potential wildfires, improve safety warnings for lightning and create more accurate long-range climate models. 

Read more at UW News »

Simulations show how earthquake early warning might be improved for magnitude-9 earthquakes

When the next major earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, a system launched last spring should give some advance warning, as emergency alerts go out and cell phones buzz. But how well the system functions might depend on whether that quake is the so-called “really big one,” and where it starts. The Pacific Northwest’s last magnitude-9 event from the offshore subduction zone was in 1700. 

Read more at UW News »

Killer whales lingering in increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean

A pair of killer whales jump out of the water

Killer whales are intelligent, adaptive predators, often teaming up to take down larger whales as prey. Continuous reduction in sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is opening areas to increased killer whale dwelling and predation, potentially creating an ecological imbalance. Underwater microphones placed off the western and northern coasts of Alaska show that killer whales have spent more time than previously recorded in the Arctic, following the decrease in summer sea ice. 

Read more at UW News »

A story of 10,000 crows: the nightly migration to UW Bothell campus

crows on an athletic field in Bothell

If you’ve ever looked towards the evening sky at University of Washington’s Bothell campus, you’ve probably witnessed the dark river of crows swarming above; and if you haven’t seen it, you’ve certainly heard it. Every night, 10 to 15 thousand crows make their nightly migration to the campus for a giant crow sleepover. According to John Marzluff, professor at UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, this nightly migration to a roost is a property of many corvids — the family of birds that includes crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs and nutcrackers. 

Read more »