Q&A: Bringing a justice lens to wildlife management

Almost all of the world’s 31 largest carnivore species, including gray wolves, grizzly bears, cheetahs and lions, have been impacted by human development and activity. Most of these animals have seen their range and populations decline over the past century, and many are listed as threatened by international conservation groups. As conservationists and scientists consider if and how to bring back these species in significant numbers across their historical ranges, many potential conflicts arise: Will the animals pose a threat to humans or livestock? 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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