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New resources support tribes in preparing for climate change

A tribal fire crew member in Oregon monitors a prescribed burn, a key tool for preventing large wildfires that are likely to become more common under climate change.

As the natural world responds to climate change, American Indian tribes across the country are grappling with how to plan for a future that balances inevitable change with protecting the resources vital to their cultural traditions. The University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and regional tribal partners have developed a collection of resources that may be useful to tribes at any stage in the process of evaluating their vulnerability to climate change. 

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UW atmospheric scientists to study most extreme storms on Earth, up close

Two University of Washington atmospheric scientists—Angela Rowe and Lynn McMurdie—are leaving for a weeks-long, firsthand study of some of the fiercest storms on the planet. They will participate in RELAMPAGO, an international campaign in Argentina to monitor storms that occur east of the Andes near the slopes of another mountain range, the Sierra de Córdoba. The international team hopes to better understand how convective storm systems — the big systems that unleash torrential rains, hail and lightning — initiate and grow as they travel from the mountainous terrain eastward over the plains. 

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Q&A with Harold Tobin, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Harold Tobin aboard the research vessel Marcus G. Langseth, conducting a marine seismic reflection survey of the Cascadia Subduction Zone off Washington’s coast.

Earthquake expert Harold Tobin joined the UW this fall as professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. While he comes from a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin, he’s no stranger to the risks posed by offshore faults like the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the source of our “big one.” UW News sat down with Tobin to learn a bit more about his research, experience and plans for the UW-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, a coalition among the U.S. 

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Polar bears gorged on whale carcasses to survive past warm periods, but strategy won't suffice as climate warms

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

Polar bears likely survived past warm periods in the Arctic, when sea ice cover was low, by scavenging on the carcasses of stranded large whales. This food source sustained the bears when they were largely restricted to land, unable to roam the ice in search of seals to hunt. A new study led by the University of Washington found that although dead whales are still valuable sources of fat and protein for some polar bears, this resource will likely not be enough to sustain most bear populations in the future when the Arctic becomes ice-free in summers, which is likely to occur by 2040 due to climate change. 

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