Sea Change

A diver next to the Seattle waterfront sea wall.

Seattle is reimagining and creating a living urban waterfront — building a healthy future for the city’s people, wildlife, culture and economy. The UW has been part of the project from the start. Seattle’s waterfront renewal is one of the region’s most ambitious and innovative undertakings since the Seattle World’s Fair transformed the city in 1962. Finally reconnecting Seattle’s waterfront to its downtown, this $750 million renovation and restoration will create a network of public parks, cultural celebration spaces and an expanded aquarium — while building a sophisticated, seismically sound, salmon-friendly new seawall. 

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UW, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Public Utilities collaboration uses VR goggles to visualize sea level rise in Seattle

The VR experience begins by explaining how gases like carbon dioxide create an invisible blanket around Earth, trapping solar radiation. The user can hold up a magnifying glass that makes Earth’s atmosphere appear blue. Later in the experience the narrator explains how glaciers in Antarctica, right, contribute to rising seas.

A new project uses virtual reality to help communicate what climate models are predicting: Greenhouse gas emissions are increasing Earth’s temperature, melting glaciers that could create many feet of global sea level rise by the end of this century. The Our Future Duwamish project, available to community groups through The Seattle Public Library, uses Oculus Quest 2 goggles to help viewers imagine rising seas from a vantage point along the South Seattle waterway. 

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How climate change will impact outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest

As the seasons change in Washington state from winter to spring, you can almost hear the collective cheers at the promise of warmer weather and sunnier days. For some, though, this time of year also marks the dreaded end of winter fun, as snow starts melting on the Pacific Northwest’s tallest peaks. But how will climate change affect outdoor recreation, not only during these transitional periods but throughout the year? 

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UW Climate Impacts Group and partner organizations launch the Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative

Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative announcement photo

The UW Climate Impacts Group, an EarthLab member organization, along with nine community, nonprofit and university partners, is launching a program of community-led, justice-oriented climate adaptation work across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative will be founded with a five-year, $5.6 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). The program will be one of 11 across the country funded through NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program. 

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