Colorado’s wildfire-stricken forests showing limited recovery

Colorado forests stricken by wildfire are not regenerating as well as expected and may partially transform into grasslands and shrublands in coming decades, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.  The paper, published in the journal Ecosphere by former doctoral student Monica Rother and geography professor Thomas Veblen, examined the sites of six low-elevation ponderosa pine forest fires which collectively burned 162,000 acres along the Colorado Front Range between 1996 and 2003. Eight to 15 years after the fires, the researchers expected – based on historical patterns … [Continue reading]

Environmental Justice and Advocacy — 5 Questions for Phaedra C. Pezzullo

Prof. Pezzullo (left) fostering dialogue and supporting democratic community on her campus.

Professor Phaedra C. Pezzullo is a dedicated social and environmental justice advocate. Her areas of focus include the mobilization of resistance to toxic pollution, and the communication of resilience in what she calls “the late age of fossil fuels.” She answered some of our questions about her work and environmental advocacy in the current age. What got you interested in studying environmental communication? I started off after high school earning a B.S. in Natural Resources, but quickly discovered that the sciences knew a lot with little success of convincing others to listen. So, … [Continue reading]

Comedy & Climate Change Video Competition

Standing Up for Climate: An Experiment with Creative Climate Comedy (co-sponsored by The Center of the American West) 1st place: $400 prize 2nd place: $250 3rd place: $100 Competition Details Humor is a tool underutilized in the area of climate change; yet comedy has power to effectively connect people, information, ideas, and new ways of thinking/acting. In this call, we seek to harness the powers of climate comedy through compelling, resonant and meaningful VIDEOS – up to 3 minutes in length – to meet people where they are, and open them up to new and creative engagement. We … [Continue reading]

Beyond Boulder: Students video polar bears to teach about climate change

Graduate student Barbara MacFerrin had never seen a bear in the wild in Colorado. In November, she went to the Arctic and saw a dozen polar bears.  As part of a team led by Jennifer Kay, assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at CU Boulder, they spent a week on the Arctic tundra making educational videos to help teach students about climate science. MacFerrin, who is working toward a master’s degree in the ATLAS Institute’s Technology, Media and Society program, was the team’s videographer. Seeing polar bears in their habitat was a highlight … [Continue reading]

Go Green with the Team

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For the first time since joining the PAC-12 in 2011 the Colorado Buffaloes are competitive in the league. With their current conference record of 6-1 the Buffs are performing better than they have in over a decade. Even when the Buffs were trailing in the rankings, they were leading the pack in green sports. CU Boulder had one of the first major collegiate sports sustainability initiatives in the country, and the athletics department has embraced this aspect of their identity. The greening process began in 2008 when Dale Newport, head of CU’s Environmental Center, reached out to then … [Continue reading]

Study Finds Fossil Fuel Methane Emissions Greater than Previously Estimated

STUDY LEAD AUTHOR STEFAN SCHWIETZKE PREPARES FOR A 2014 FIELD CAMPAIGN IN COLORADO STUDYING METHANE EMISSIONS IN THE DENVER-JULESBURG BASIN, WITH CIRES, NOAA, SCIENTIFIC AVIATION, AND OTHER PARTNERS. PHOTO: WILL VON DAUSTER

Methane emissions from fossil fuel development around the world are up to 60 percent greater than estimated by previous studies, according to new research led by scientists from CIRES and NOAA. The study found that fossil fuel activities contribute between 132 million and 165 million tons of the 623 million tons of methane emitted by all sources every year. That’s about 20 to 25 percent of total global methane emissions, and 20 to 60 percent more than previous studies estimated. However, the findings also confirm other work by NOAA scientists that conclude fossil fuel facilities are not … [Continue reading]

New CU series to focus on connecting scientists and the public

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Helping scientists effectively communicate environmental health, safety and resiliency issues with the public is the focus of a new series thanks to a network of environmental science outreach staff at CU Boulder. On Thursday, Oct. 20, Raj Pandya, the director of the Thriving Earth Exchange at the American Geophysical Union, will be visiting CU Boulder to kick off the Engaged Scientist Series, which will include a talk and a workshop to be co-led with Ben Kirshner, the director of CU Engage. “This generation of researchers is more interested than ever in working with communities,” … [Continue reading]

Impacts of Palm Oil Production on Climate – 5 Questions for Phil Taylor

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Philip Taylor is a CU Boulder postdoctoral scholar whose research ranges from nutrient cycling in tropical rainforests to addressing sustainability challenges of industrial agriculture. He is the lead author of a 2014 publication on the potential for creating energy from methane emissions from wastewater produced by palm oil production plants.. Methane is a powerful heat trapping gas, thirty four times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over 100 years. Phil is featured in the latest Learn More About Climate video, “Impacts of Palm Oil Production on Climate Change: Realities … [Continue reading]

CU Boulder ice experts report: Arctic sea ice at lowest maximum for second consecutive year

Arctic sea ice was at a record low maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder and NASA. "I've never see such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “The heat was relentless." Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean for the months of December, January, and February were 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above average in nearly every region. Sea ice extent over the Arctic Ocean averaged 14.52 million square kilometers (5.607 million … [Continue reading]

Teaching Climate Change Conference June 14-15 at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

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The National Park Service and the Friends of the Florissant Fossil Beds, Inc. are hosting a 2-day climate change seminar based out of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument June 14-15, 2016.  A world renowned fossil deposit, the Florissant Fossil Beds are 35 miles west of Colorado Springs. Featured speakers include Dr. Dena Smith and Dr. Cesar Nufio, who will present on Biological Climate Change topics. Dr. Dena Smith is Professor of Geological Sciences at CU Boulder and executive director of STEPPE (Sedimentary Geology, Time, Environment, Paleontology, Paleoclimatology, Energy).  Dr. Cesar … [Continue reading]