Vessel speed biggest factor in noise affecting killer whales

Digital acoustic recording tags temporarily attached to killer whales measure vessel noise reaching the whales.

The speed of vessels operating near endangered killer whales in Washington is the most influential factor – more so than vessel size – in how much noise from the boats reaches the whales, according to a new study published today in the online journal PLOS ONE. Previous studies have shown that Southern Resident killer whales alter their behavior in the presence of vessels and associated noise, which affects their ability to communicate and find food. 

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College of the Environment Climate Research Snapshot

Icebergs and sunset off the west coast of Greenland.

In advance of COP 21, we’re looking at climate change research happening closer to home—here at the University of Washington. Many ideas, viewpoints, and experiences will be represented at the negotiating table in Paris though Dec. 11, but it’s important to keep in mind that science is the starting point for all discussions related to and rooted in climate change. Scientists and researchers at the College play an important role in discovering and developing the science that leads to robust conversations about our collective next step forward. 

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2015 Climate Conference Kicks Off in Paris

Paris from above

The 2015 Climate Change Conference, COP 21, kicked off this week as 196 parties from across the globe convene in Paris. From Nov. 30 through Dec. 11, leaders will work to adopt the world’s first legally binding agreement to stop warming short of 2 degrees Celsius. The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are a yearly event where prominent figures look at challenges and progress related to climate change. 

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Atmospheric Sciences' Qiang Fu named AAAS fellow

Qiang Fu

Four University of Washington researchers, including the Department of Atmospheric Sciences‘ Qiang Fu, are among 347 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. Fu, a professor of atmospheric sciences, was elected for his outstanding contributions to measuring and understanding how radiative heat is transferred through the Earth’s atmosphere, and how this relates to climate and climate change. 

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Cousteau’s ‘Acid Apocalypse’ to Feature Washington Youth in Ocean Acidification Project

University Prep student Jacob Richey fills a sample bottle during a summer training session.

EarthEcho International, Philippe Cousteau, Jr.’s environmental education and youth leadership nonprofit, has launched an expedition—called “Acid Apocalypse”—around Washington state to explore the growing threat of ocean acidification and meet with students and scientists to learn how the issue affects their lives. The organization, founded by the grandchildren of legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau, is hosting Google Hangouts while in the field and will produce documentary-style videos, lesson plans, and other resources about ocean acidification for teachers and students. 

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