For 35 years, the Pacific Ocean has largely spared West’s mountain snow from effects of global warming

Washington state’s Mount Shuksan in February 2014.

A new study has found that a pattern of ocean temperatures and atmospheric circulation has offset most of the impact of global warming on mountain snowpack in the western U.S. since the 1980s. The study from Oregon State University, the University of Washington and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was published Jan. 11 in Geophysical Research Letters. “The western U.S. has received a big assist from natural variability over the past 35 years,” said lead author Nick Siler at Oregon State University, who began thinking about the project as a doctoral student in atmospheric sciences at the UW. 

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UW, partners reach milestone in program using robots to monitor world’s oceans

Steve Riser (center, in black), students and technicians in July 2017 inside the UW School of Oceanography’s floats lab.

Around the planet’s oceans, nearly 4,000 floats — many of them built at the University of Washington — are plunging up and down, collecting and transmitting observations of the world’s oceans. This fall, one of these diving robots made the program’s 2 millionth measurement, reporting temperature and salinity recorded to a depth of about a mile. The Argo Program is a 20-year-old project to gather 3D data on the oceans. 

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Nature for Health: 3 steps to boost your child’s outdoor time — and health

A family enjoys the great outdoors at Alki Beach Park in West Seattle in November. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Kyle Yasuda, 2018 president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics and co-founder of BestStart Washington, and Pooja Tandon, pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital, assistant professor at the University of Washington, and active member of UW EarthLab’s Nature for Health initiative, share their thoughts in The Seattle Times on how we can help our kids increase outdoor time, and the associated health benefits. 

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UW glaciologist gets first look at NASA’s new measurements of ice sheet elevation

Since ICESat-2 launched in September, it has already exceeded expectations. It's measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, which will be used to improve climate modeling and forecasts.

Less than three months into its mission, NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is already exceeding scientists’ expectations. The satellite is measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, tracing the terrain of previously unmapped Antarctic valleys and measuring other interesting features in our planet’s elevation. Benjamin Smith, a glaciologist with the University of Washington and member of the ICESat-2 science team, shared the first look at the satellite’s performance at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting Dec. 

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