UW scientist to lead NASA field study of East Coast snowstorms

Lynn McMurdie

Snowstorms can wreak havoc across the United States, but especially on the East Coast. Snow is the least-understood form of precipitation, with major snowstorms among the most difficult weather events to forecast. Yet people rely on these forecasts to stay safe, plan travel routes and decide whether to close schools or businesses. To better understand large, disruptive snowstorms, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist will lead a NASA field campaign this winter to fly through major snowstorms along the East Coast. 

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QUIZ: Goofy environment glossary - are you a scholar of the silly?

UW Professors Aaron John Wirsing and John Marzluff and UW students spend their spring break at Yellowstone National Park conducting research on otters, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and common ravens. Students also track reintroduced gray wolves through the snow, set traps for bald and golden eagles.

Pingos? Forbs? Dibbles? Researchers and students within the College of the Environment frequently encounter silly sounding words in their work and studies. We’ve gathered some of the goofiest words and made a quiz to test your knowledge. Dive in to see if you are truly a scholar of the silly things that help us understand the environment around us! 

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Outlook for the polar regions in a 2 degrees warmer world

Four male polar bears standing on a floating whale carcass shortly after it drifted to shore on the island of Svalbard.

With 2019 on pace as one of the warmest years on record, a new international study reveals how rapidly the Arctic is warming and examines global consequences of continued polar warming. The study, published Dec. 4 in the journal Science Advances, reports that the Arctic has warmed by 0.75 degrees C in the last decade alone. By comparison, the Earth as a whole has warmed by nearly the same amount, 0.8 

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A day to celebrate the magic of soils


In 2013, the United Nations designated December 5 as World Soil Day. The date coincides with the birthday of the late King Rama IX of Thailand, a leading global advocate for the promotion of healthy soils and sustainable soil management. This World Soil Day, we’re digging into the history of soil science and looking ahead to see what the future holds for the oft-overlooked hero of our terrestrial ecosystem. 

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Better wildfire and smoke predictions with new vegetation database


It’s hard to find a place in the U.S. that isn’t impacted by wildfires and smoke. Dry landscapes, warmer temperatures and more development near forested areas all contribute to massive wildfires across North America each year. Smoke and haze from these fires can travel hundreds of miles from their source, affecting the health and wellbeing of communities across the U.S. Given these impacts, scientists rely on models that try to predict the severity of wildfires and smoke. 

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