14 news posts from February 2021

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Record-high Arctic freshwater will flow through Canadian waters, affecting marine environment and Atlantic ocean currents

A simulated red dye tracer released from the Beaufort Gyre in the Artic Ocean shows freshwater transport through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, along Baffin Island to the western Labrador Sea, off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, where it reduces surface salinity.

Freshwater is accumulating in the Arctic Ocean. The Beaufort Sea, which is the largest Arctic Ocean freshwater reservoir, has increased its freshwater content by 40% over the past two decades. How and where this water will flow into the Atlantic Ocean is important for local and global ocean conditions. A study from the University of Washington, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that this freshwater travels through the Canadian Archipelago to reach the Labrador Sea, rather than through the wider marine passageways that connect to seas in Northern Europe. 

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UW partners in new postdoctoral program to diversify the science and engineering faculty at America’s research universities

Mark Richards, Joy Williamson-Lott, Julia Parrish

At our nation’s research universities, including the University of Washington, underrepresented minorities make up less than 6% of the faculty across non-medical science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This severe underrepresentation among faculty has persisted for decades and comes, in part, from a lack of diversity among the doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in these fields who elect to pursue faculty positions. 

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Is potassium a key to understanding the ocean’s past?

Yan working in the lab.

When looking at a periodic table, potassium might not be the first element you’re drawn to – distracted instead by gold, copper or silver. But a new paper published in Science Advances suggests we should be paying more attention to this abundant substance. The study – with first author Yan Hu, a recent graduate student and postdoctoral researcher in the UW Department of Earth and Space Sciences and now at Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris – advances our ability to trace potassium isotopes at high precision, unleashing a suite of potential applications ranging from measuring past climates to further understanding ocean chemistry. 

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Logging change in Puget Sound: Researchers use UW vessel logbooks to reconstruct historical groundfish populations

The R/V Commando passes through the Montlake Cut

To understand how Puget Sound has changed, we first must understand how it used to be. Unlike most major estuaries in the U.S. — and despite the abundance of world-class oceanographic institutions in the area — long-term monitoring of Puget Sound fish populations did not exist until 1990. Filling in this missing information is essential to establishing a baseline that would provide context for the current status of the marine ecosystem, and could guide policymakers in setting more realistic ecosystem-based management recovery targets. 

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Diversity, equity and inclusion in Washington Sea Grant

Lummi Island storm waves

The College of the Environment is proud to house organizations like Washington Sea Grant (WSG), who provide research, technical expertise, and educational activities that support the responsible use and conservation of ocean and coastal ecosystems. To do this, WSG partners with international, federal, tribal, state and local governments, local communities, and K-12 schools on a variety of marine-related projects.  Earlier in the 2020-21 academic year, WSG published their 10-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) roadmap. 

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