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5th National Climate Assessment authors include UW climate experts

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.

Three University of Washington experts are among the authors of the newly released Fifth National Climate Assessment, an overview of climate trends, impacts and efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change across the nation. The assessment is produced roughly every four years, led by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and mandated by Congress. The fifth edition, released Nov. 14, assesses current and future risks posed by climate change in 10 regions. 

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Are wildfires really getting worse? A Q&A with Brian Harvey

a wildfire burns in California

Whether you live in a rural community that grapples with annual threats of destructive wildfires or in a city that now spends part of every summer inundated with smoke, many across North America have found themselves wondering: what happened to cause such a sudden change in the way our forests burn? We sat down with Brian Harvey, assistant professor of environmental and forest sciences in the UW College of the Environment, to discuss some of the most frequently asked questions we encounter about the causes of wildfires, how they’re changing and what we can do to limit their impacts on human health and property. 

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Marine heat waves caused mass seabird die-offs, beach surveys show

Deceased seabirds on the beach

Seabirds, from cormorants to puffins, spend most of their lives at sea. Beloved by birdwatchers, these animals can be hard to study because they spend so much time far from shore. New research led by the University of Washington uses data collected by coastal residents along beaches from central California to Alaska to understand how seabirds have fared in recent decades. 

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Whodunnit? Uncovering the mystery of a tiny toxin killing shellfish in Puget Sound

clams killed by yessotoxins

Around 50 years ago, Pacific oysters in the Puget Sound started dying at noticeably increasing rates during the summer, causing residents and scientists to wonder why. Researchers in what is now the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences investigated many factors that may cause mortalities such as bacteria, reproductive stress related to spawning and changes in other environmental conditions. The evidence collected pointed towards stress on the animals when they spawn, as the Pacific oyster spends a lot of their energy on reproduction. 

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