The 2011 wildfire season, plant and soil diversity, shark mechanics and more: This week’s published research

weekly research earth

Each week we share the latest peer-reviewed publications coming from the College of the Environment. Over the past week, fifteen new articles co-authored by members of the College of the Environment were added to the Web of Science database, including black carbon in the snows of central North America, sandy beach science, six centuries of changing ocean mercury, and more. Read up!

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UW raising funds to replace research vessel

Students after a research cruise on the Barnes.

The College of the Environment's School of Oceanography and a network of partners are working to raise funds to replace the aging and soon-to-be decommissioned Clifford A. Barnes. The research vessel is nearly 50 years old, and has limited capabilities to help scientists and students really understand what's going on in our local waters--like the Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Lake Washington, and the Columbia River. As researchers continue to investigate the complexities of our freshwater and marine ecosystems, it becomes more important than ever to have the right tools to get the research done. Replacing the Barnes will give scientists a powerful tool to better understand our waterways, and help keep Pacific Northwest ecosystems healthy and productive for all to enjoy. KING 5's Glenn Farley tells the story. Video: King 5 News - UW needs new research ship

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Could brighter clouds offset warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions?

Brighter clouds can increase reflectivity

Atmospheric Sciences’ Tom Ackerman and Rob Wood recently contributed to a proposal that would test the effectiveness of spraying sea-salt particles into marine clouds in order to make them brighter. According to The Economist, cloud physicist John Latham hypothesized that brighter clouds could cool the Earth enough to compensate for increased warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions in 1990. Several decades later and with the help of the two UW scientists, field tests on the subject could come to fruition. Ackerman, Wood, and other researchers want to test whether this process would really increase the number of water droplets clouds hold and, as a result, the amount of sunlight they reflect into space.

Read more at The Economist »

How mega are the ocean’s megafauna?

Jim Cosgrove

From blue whales and great white sharks to leatherback turtles, colossal squid, and giant clams, a paper published this week in the journal PeerJ looks at the true size of the ocean’s largest marine species. A team of scientists, including Aquatic and Fishery Sciences' Trevor Branch, lead the charge aimed at addressing the challenges associated with accurately measuring and cataloging the largest animals in the sea. Understanding how large an animal can get and how that varies is important for their conservation. To carry out the research, teams worked with various marine centers, numerous experts, and scoured the literature and data to reveal the true sizes of 25 of the biggest marine species.

Read more at UW Today »

College of the Environment launches new Outstanding Diversity Commitment Award

Doris Duke Conservation Scholars at UW are helping define how diverse groups shape conservation.

Diversity is more than a word, more than an ideal, and more than the attainment of a particular quantifiable goal. Diversity is the realization of difference and inequity, as well as an understanding of power and privilege. Heightened diversity is nourished through inclusion, the desire to create equal opportunities for all, and the understanding that a diverse community is stronger, richer, and more sustainable than one that actively or passively excludes people who are different.  

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