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Climate crisis forcing polar bears from Alaska to Russia

Climate change is forcing polar bears to ditch Alaska for Russia, according to American scientists.

In recent years, polar bears in the Beaufort Sea have had to travel far outside of their traditional hunting grounds which has contributed to an almost 30 per cent decrease in their population, according to a recent study by Washington State University.

pagano_anthony
Pagano

Anthony Pagano, a postdoctoral researcher in Washington State University’s School of the Environment, said: “Having to travel farther means these bears are expending more energy which can threaten their survival.

“If we want to preserve the habitat of these amazing mammals, then we need to focus on the root of the problem, which is slowing global climate change.”

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Noah Matteucci and gallerist Jamie Wilson

Joseph Gallivan interviews artist Noah Matteucci and gallerist Jamie Wilson about Matteucci’s show “Random 8” at Agenda Gallery.
Noah Matteucci
Matteucci

Matteucci has covered the walls with thousands of colored squares of paper, like pixels in a glitching digital image. However, the squares are made with wood block prints using the four-color ink process called CMYK. The artist explains his position on the threshold between the digital and the analog.

During the day you can find Noah working in the Fine Arts Department at WSU Vancouver.

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Kboo

Air pollution from wildfires, rising heat affected 68% of U.S. West

Large wildfires and severe heat events are happening more often at the same time, worsening air pollution across the western United States, a study led by Washington State University researchers has found. In 2020, more than 68% of the western U.S. – representing about 43 million people – were affected in one day by the resulting harmful-levels of air pollution, the highest number in 20 years.

“We have seen an increasing trend in the past 20 years of days when high-levels of both particulate matter and ozone are occurring simultaneously,” said lead author Dmitri Kalashnikov, a WSU doctoral student. “This is tied to two things: more wildfires and increases in the types of weather patterns that cause both wildfires and hot weather.”

Deepti Singh.
Singh

“From every indication we have, the hotter, drier conditions projected for this region are likely to increase wildfire activity and contribute to more widespread, severe heat, which means we can expect to see these conditions happen more often in the future,” said co-author Deepti Singh, a WSU assistant professor. “Preparing for these events is really important. We need to think about who is exposed, what capacity there is to minimize that exposure, and how we can protect the most vulnerable people.”

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Student-created identity stories air on community radio and online

What advice would you give to your younger self? How do you know if you’re gay? Which expressions in other languages endure in English speakers’ hearts?

Exploring answers to these questions and more was the creative basis of a WSU student-led digital storytelling and technology skills-building project that recently aired on community radio station KRFP and is now accessible online.

June Sanders.
Sanders

Seven students in digital technology and culture (DTC) Assistant Professor June T. Sanders’ class last fall conceived, developed and produced the project, applying what they learned about interviewing, scripting, framing and other aspects of creating nonfiction stories while gaining hands-on experience with audio recording and editing equipment.

“We were thinking of solid foundations of identity, foundations of our community, what holds us up, what creates us and what affects how we move through the world,” Sanders said.

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WSU Insider

How one society rebounded from ‘the worst year to be alive’

It was the worst time to be alive, according to some scientists. From 536 C.E. to 541 C.E., a series of volcanic eruptions in North and Central America sent tons of ash into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, chilling the globe, and destroying crops worldwide. Societies everywhere struggled to survive. But for the Ancestral Pueblo people living in what today is the U.S. Southwest, this climate catastrophe planted the seeds for a more cohesive, technologically sophisticated society, a new study suggests.

Tim Kohler
Kohler

“This story makes sense to me,” says Tim Kohler, an archaeologist at Washington State University, Pullman, who has studied climate impacts on the Pueblo people of different eras but was not involved in the new work. He says the disturbance and subsequent reorganization of the Ancestral Puebloans provide clues to what makes societies resilient in the face of dramatic climate change.

Climate data from tree rings from northern Arizona suggest the region suffered abnormally cold temperatures and drought between the years 534 and 569. So the Ancestral Puebloans, like people around the globe, endured the harsh weather conditions of the time. Yet within a few decades, they had bounced back and reorganized into a larger, more cohesive civilization, the team reported last week in Antiquity.

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Science