Coral recovery during a prolonged heatwave offers new hope

Danielle Claar near Christmas Island.

Coral reefs serve important ecological functions, from providing habitat for countless species to protecting shorelines from erosion. Reef-dependent fisheries are also a vital source of food and income for hundreds of millions of people in tropical island nations where coral reefs are valued at $6.8 billion annually. The pressing concerns of climate change have placed the long-term health of the world’s coral reefs in jeopardy. 

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Winter is coming

Dark-eyed junco, narwhal and polar bear

Donning warm, cozy layers, winterizing gardens and swapping salads for soups — these are some of the things we humans do to prepare ourselves for winter. All over the world, species are also taking steps to prepare for the coming winter. From the extremely harsh conditions seen in polar regions to milder climates like the ones in the Pacific Northwest, we can see different species follow observable patterns to ensure their best chance of survival for the coming months.  

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Active learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

Students participate in a socially-distanced in-person lab.

After news that summer, fall and eventually winter quarters are mostly to be conducted virtually, many instructors within the College of the Environment found themselves forced to write new lesson plans, while also becoming proficient with an array of new technology quickly. Not only did they have to teach, but in many cases they also had to be a tech wizard to facilitate remote lab work and deliver engaging lectures over a computer screen.  

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Warm oceans helped first human migration from Asia to North America

Visualization of plankton in the north Pacific Ocean

New research reveals significant changes to the circulation of the North Pacific and its impact on the initial migration of humans from Asia to North America. The international study, led by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and published Dec. 9 in Science Advances, provides a new picture of the circulation and climate of the North Pacific at the end of the last ice age, with implications for early human migration. 

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A.I. model shows promise to generate faster, more accurate weather forecasts

2D models of the planet used for weather forecasting

Today’s weather forecasts come from some of the most powerful computers on Earth. The huge machines churn through millions of calculations to solve equations to predict temperature, wind, rainfall and other weather events. A forecast’s combined need for speed and accuracy taxes even the most modern computers. The future could take a radically different approach. A collaboration between the University of Washington and Microsoft Research shows how artificial intelligence can analyze past weather patterns to predict future events, much more efficiently and potentially someday more accurately than today’s technology. 

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