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Signals from the ionosphere could improve tsunami forecasts

NASA satellite image of the Hunga Ha'apai eruption.

Research from the University of Washington shows that signals from the upper atmosphere could improve tsunami forecasting and, someday, help track ash plumes and other impacts after a volcanic eruption. A new study analyzed the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption in the South Pacific earlier this year. The Jan. 15, 2022, volcanic eruption was the largest to be recorded by modern equipment. 

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Heat-related mortality risk is widespread across Washington state, study shows

A view of the large metal W on the Seattle Campus with the sun peeking out behind.

Heat-related deaths are an issue across Washington state, and they occur even in regions that typically have milder climates, according to a University of Washington study published Aug. 30 in the journal Atmosphere. This is the most extensive study yet of heat-related mortality in Washington state, and the first to look beyond the major population centers to include rural areas. Statewide, the odds of dying were on average 8% higher in recent decades on days when the combination of temperature and humidity, known as the humidex, was in the top 1% of recorded values at that location, compared to a day with a mid-range value for humidex. 

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Deepest scientific ocean drilling effort sheds light on Japan’s next ‘big one’

Harold Tobin of the University Washington inspects drilling pipes.

Scientists who drilled deeper into an undersea earthquake fault than ever before have found that the tectonic stress in Japan’s Nankai subduction zone is less than expected. The results of the study led by the University of Washington and the University of Texas at Austin, published Sept. 5 in Geology, are a puzzle, since the fault produces a great earthquake almost every century and was thought to be building for another big one. 

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New study calculates retreat of glacier edges in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park

Holgate Glacier, shown here in June 2009, terminates on the coast and is a popular kayaking destination, especially in summer when the ice is calving. Local residents had recently observed land exposed at its terminus, but the new analysis finds that the glacier has been advancing over the past 5 years.

As glaciers worldwide retreat due to climate change, managers of national parks need to know what’s on the horizon to prepare for the future. A new study from the University of Washington and the National Park Service measures 38 years of change for glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, a stunning jewel about two hours south of Anchorage. The study, published Aug. 

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