UW charts impact of local climate change
As the effects of global warming are increasingly dire, the initial defense has to be providing an assessment of just how serious the problem is.
University of Washington scientists helped do just that for Puget Sound in a recent study that is described as the first serious attempt to quantify climate change's effects so far. The state Puget Sound Action Team commissioned the study to the Climate Impacts Group, part of the Center for Science in the Earth System at the UW's Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean.
Though the state has done reports every two years, this report presents the most comprehensive picture of the effects so far — 13 percent less freshwater is flowing into the Sound, compared with flows more than 50 years ago — and what's projected in the future. Expect less snowpack feeding warmer rivers, rising sea levels and more pressure on salmon and other species.
Soon after the report was released, Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed the Puget Sound Partnership to devise a 15-year plan for what can be done to improve prospects for the Sound and all who depend on it. A preliminary report is due in June.
The role of UW experts in this important study is typical of the university's contributions to this region. Its contributions go far beyond turning out graduates with bachelor's or advanced degrees. The university's sense of community citizenship pays dividends in many areas.
But it needs help to ensure that the quality of its many programs continues and improves. The UW Foundation is attempting to raise $2 billion through its Creating Futuresfundraising campaign to shore up the university across its many colleges, departments, research programs and instructional missions.
The UW is an excellent investment. For information about the UW and the campaign, go to www.uwfoundation.org
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company