Tag Archives: pacific northwest

If a tree falls in Brazil…? Amazon deforestation could mean droughts for western U.S.

In research meant to highlight how the destruction of the Amazon rainforest could affect climate elsewhere, Princeton University-led researchers report that the total deforestation of the Amazon may significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States, resulting in water and food shortages, and a greater risk of forest fires.

The researchers report in the Journal of Climate that an Amazon stripped bare could mean 20 percent less rain for the coastal Northwest and a 50 percent reduction in the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a crucial source of water for cities and farms in California. Previous research has shown that deforestation will likely produce dry air over the Amazon. Using high-resolution climate simulations, the researchers are the first to find that the atmosphere’s normal weather-moving mechanics would create a ripple effect that would move that dry air directly over the western United States from December to February. (more…)

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Magma can survive in upper crust for hundreds of millennia

Reservoirs of silica-rich magma – the kind that causes the most explosive volcanic eruptions – can persist in Earth’s upper crust for hundreds of thousands of years without triggering an eruption, according to new University of Washington modeling research.

That means an area known to have experienced a massive volcanic eruption in the past, such as Yellowstone National Park, could have a large pool of magma festering beneath it and still not be close to going off as it did 600,000 years ago.

“You might expect to see a stewing magma chamber for a long period of time and it doesn’t necessarily mean an eruption is imminent,” said Sarah Gelman, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences. (more…)

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Nighttime heat waves quadruple in Pacific Northwest

Nighttime heat waves are becoming more frequent in western Washington and Oregon.

And if you don’t sleep well in hot weather, this might be a good time to buy a fan, since records show that on average heat waves tend to strike around the last week of July.

University of Washington research shows that the region west of the Cascades saw only three nighttime heat waves between 1901 and 1980, but that number quadrupled to 12 nighttime heat waves in the three decades after 1980, according to a paper published in the July issue of the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. (more…)

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Some Alaskan trout use flexible guts for the ultimate binge diet

Imagine having a daylong Thanksgiving feast every day for a month, then, only pauper’s rations the rest of the year.

University of Washington researchers have discovered Dolly Varden, a kind of trout, eating just that way in Alaska’s Chignik Lake watershed.

Organs such as the stomach and intestines in the Dolly Varden doubled to quadrupled in size when eggs from spawning sockeye salmon became available each August, the researchers found. They were like vacuums sucking up the eggs and nipping at the flesh of spawned-out salmon carcasses. (more…)

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Biodiversity: The most common issues

Biodiversity can be considered as an imperative factor that plays a crucial role in poverty reduction owing to its basic goods and the ecosystem services it provides. Over three billion people rely on coastal and marine biodiversity and about 1.7 billion people depend upon non-timber forest products and forests for biodiversity.

Common issues relating to biodiversity can be classified as:

Biodiversity as a source of income and food

World’s poor population, especially living in rural areas are dependent on biological resources for meeting most of their needs. At least, 90 percent of their needs relating to fuel, shelter, medicines and food come from biological resources. (more…)

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Too Few Salmon is Far Worse Than Too Many Boats for Killer Whales

Not having enough Chinook salmon to eat stresses out southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest more than having boatloads of whale watchers nearby, according to hormone levels of whales summering in the Salish Sea.

In lean times, however, the stress level normally associated with boats becomes more pronounced, further underscoring the importance of having enough prey, according to Katherine Ayres, an environmental and pet-behavior consultant who led the research while a University of Washington doctoral student in biology. Ayres is lead author of a paper appearing online June 6, in the journal PLoS ONE.

In a surprise finding, hormone levels show that southern resident killer whales are best fed when they come into the Salish Sea in the late spring, Ayres said. The Salish Sea includes Puget Sound and the straits of Georgia, Haro and Juan de Fuca. Once there they get a necessary boost later in the summer while eating Chinook salmon at the height of the Fraser River run. (more…)

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How Public Should Public Records Be? Increased Availability Sparks Privacy Concerns

Online technology has vastly increased citizens’ access to public records such as political campaign contributions and real estate transactions. But that explosion of information availability also sparks privacy concerns and may dampen some people’s willingness to engage in public activities, according to recent research.

Six researchers, including two from the University of Washington, co-authored the paper “Attitudes Toward Online Availability of U.S. Public Records.” It was presented at the Proceedings of the 12th Annual International Digital Government Research Conference in College Park, Md. An expanded version of the article will appear in a forthcoming issue of Information Polity. (more…)

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Ocean Acidification Linked With Larval Oyster Failure in Hatcheries

*Increase in ocean acidification led to collapse of oyster seed production at Oregon hatchery*

Marine researchers have definitively linked the collapse of oyster seed production at a commercial oyster hatchery in Oregon to an increase in ocean acidification.

Larval growth at the hatchery declined to a level considered by the owners to be “non-economically viable.”

A study by the scientists found that increased seawater carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, resulting in more corrosive ocean water, inhibited the larval oysters from developing their shells and growing at a pace that would make commercial production cost-effective. (more…)

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