University of washington

THE university OF Washington, located in Seattle, was founded in 1851. The university confers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees in a variety of academic and professional disciplines including atmospheric sciences and Earth and space sciences (includes the former Departments of Geology and Geophysics) and environmental sciences.

Founded in 1947, the Department of Atmospheric Sciences focuses on teaching excellence incorporating a wide range of topics including weather forecasting, global warming, air quality, mountain weather, marine weather, El NiƱo, the ozone hole, ice ages, and the weather of Mars. Students who choose atmospheric science majors are prepared for a range of career options (weather forecasting, environmental meteorology, broadcast weather, and a broad range of careers with government and private employers in meteorology or environmental sciences).

The teaching facilities include a map room (for viewing weather data including radar and satellite imagery and forecast models) and an instruments laboratory (for learning about various types of observational instruments and computer interfacing by taking local observations).

The department's internship program encourages students to explore a variety of career paths while gaining valuable experience in addition to academic credit and possible stipends. The internships range from National Weather Service Forecast Offices to television stations, U.S. Forest Service, the Northwest Avalanche Center, the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, and other laboratories and businesses. The faculty has diverse expertise and research interests, with research opportunities available to students.

The Department of Earth and Space Sciences integrates geology, math, physics, biology, and chemistry into a program to further the understanding of Earth structure, processes, and history and solar system structure, processes, and histories. The faculty areas of research are aimed toward predicting the future conditions of Earth, studying the geologic record, observing conditions, and modeling the present state. A sampling of projects of special interest to those studying climate changes includes glaciology, Quaternary research, climate, and paleoclimate.

The Program on the Environment offers interdisciplinary environmental education and is a focal point for information exchange on environmental education and research opportunities. The Earth Initiative encourages innovative partnerships to address environmental and natural resource challenges. By focusing on problem-specific environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, the initiative brings together faculty, students, and community partners to create collaborative research, teaching, and scholarship.

The Program on the Environment, established in 1997, exists not as a separate department but as a collaborative network linking all university departments in providing environmental education. The programs provide education in natural sciences; social sciences; law, policy, and management; and ethics, values, and culture.

In addition to academics, the University of Washington is home to the Climate Impacts Group (CIG), which integrates climate science with public policy. With a focus on the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the group performs research on the consequences of climate change and provides information to policy makers on preserving regional resources vulnerable to climate changes.

By bringing together various disciplines to examine past climate and stressors, to analyze patterns of and predictable climate variations, as well as to determine past climate change effects, CIG extrapolates possible future responses to climate change in the Pacific Northwest's vulnerable areas.

CIG makes recommendations for approaches of human-induced changes on natural resources and overall climate effect. By developing close connections and maintaining networks with government, private, and North American tribal groups, as well as the agencies in charge of water, forests, fisheries, and coastal resources, the group ensures that their information is useful, informative, and transformational to the daily activities of appropriate resource management.

The University of Washington is setting an example for public and private sectors. The president of the university joined other college presidents and chancellors around the country in taking a community leadership role and modeling ways to minimize global warming emissions and integrate sustainability into the curriculum and university environment, with membership in the Leadership Circle of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. By doing so, the university is building on past successes in developing plans for reducing energy consumption with the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee and Policy on Environmental Stewardship adopted in 2004, joining the UPASS program (bus pass) to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips to campus, and acting as a founding partner of the Seattle Climate Partnership. In addition, the university has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 to 7 percent below the levels in 1990.

SEE ALSO: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Washington.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. University of Washington, "About the Climate Impacts Group," www.cses.washington.edu/cig; University of Washington, "Schools and Centers," www.wash-ington.edu.

Lyn Michaud Independent Scholar

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