4 Questions for Professor Mark Williams and the new guide for well owners who live in areas of oil and gas development

Dr. Mark Williams, CU-Boulder

Professor Mark Williams is the co-founder of the Colorado Water and Energy Research Center (CWERC) and co-author of the new Monitoring Water Quality In Areas of Oil and Natural Gas Development: A Guide for Water Well Users. The guide is the first of its kind and includes detailed instructions for well owners to collect water samples and to establish a reliable baseline of their water quality and quantity. We caught up with Dr. Williams to learn more about his work and why this guide is important. How did you get involved in the work that you do, in other words, what drew you into this … [Read more...]

Seasonal Arctic summer ice extent still hard to forecast, NSIDC study says

Arctic sea ice

The following is an excerpt from the National Snow & Ice Data Center. Read the entire press release at http://nsidc.org/news/press/2014_seasonalseaice_PR.html. Will next year’s summer Arctic ice extent be high or low? Can ship captains plan on navigating the famed Northwest Passage—a direct shipping route from Europe to Asia across the Arctic Ocean—to save on time and fuel? A new study says year-to-year forecasts of the Arctic’s summer ice extent are not yet reliable. Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), University College London, University of New Hampshire and … [Read more...]

New Guide From CU-Boulder Helps Water Well Users Test Water Quality

testing well water

CU-Boulder’s Colorado Water and Energy Research Center (CWERC) has released a new tool for well water usesrs to test their water quality. "Monitoring Water Quality in Areas of Oil and Natural Gas Development: A Guide for Water Well Users" is a free tool and is available to download or request a print copy. The guide includes a well sampling worksheet, a list of resources, information on free baseline testing, and instructions on finding a testing laboratory. It also includes lists of the analytes. (An analyte is a substance or an aspect of water quality that is the subject of analysis.) … [Read more...]

Methane leaks from palm oil wastewater are climate concern, CU-Boulder study says

Hana Fancher, Philip Taylor methane research palm oil wastewater ponds

In recent years, palm oil production has come under fire from environmentalists concerned about the deforestation of land in the tropics to make way for new palm plantations. Now there is a new reason to be concerned about palm oil’s environmental impact, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. An analysis published Feb. 26 in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that the wastewater produced during the processing of palm oil is a significant source of heat-trapping methane in the atmosphere. But the researchers also present a possible solution: capturing the … [Read more...]

Amazonian drought conditions add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

Amazon River through the rainforest

This article originally appeared on the University of Colorado Boulder website. As climates change, the lush tropical ecosystems of the Amazon Basin may release more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they absorb, according to a new study published Feb. 6 in Nature. An international team of scientists found that the amount of yearly rainfall was the driving factor behind the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) taken up and released from Amazonia in 2010 and 2011. During a wet year, the Amazon forests were roughly carbon-neutral: Forests “inhaled” more carbon … [Read more...]

Keeping up with CU-Boulder Researchers in Antarctica

CU-Boulder researchers in Antarctica

The University of Colorado Boulder has multiple research projects going on in Antarctica every year. Here's a look at what teams from the Cooperative Institute for Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research are up to this season. The McMurdo Dry Valleys--the largest relatively ice-free zone on the Antarctic continent--has been studied as part of the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research Network since 1993. The principal investigator on the project is Outreach Award recipient Diane McKnight, a fellow at CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and … [Read more...]

Differences in mammal responses to climate change: new CU-Boulder study

Elk

If you were a shrew snuffling around a North American forest, you would be 27 times less likely to respond to climate change than if you were a moose grazing nearby. That is just one of the findings of a new University of Colorado Boulder assessment led by Assistant Professor Christy McCain that looked at more than 1,000 different scientific studies on North American mammal responses to human-caused climate change. The CU-Boulder team eventually selected 140 scientific papers containing population responses from 73 North American mammal species for their analysis. The studies assessed by … [Read more...]

Start the New Year with Climate Change Workshops and Events

Workshops and webinars for educators

Have you set your professional development goals for 2014? Here are some great workshops and events to start the year: Exploring the Aurora through Art and Writing Come learn about Space Weather and how it relates to Earth’s climate! This one-day workshop for elementary teachers and educators will explore the Sun-Earth connection, the role Earth’s magnetic field plays, and how space weather influences our planet in very real ways. This workshop will draw upon the Dancing Lights suite of standards-based activities. Materials for your classroom will be provided along with information about … [Read more...]

Five questions for Climate Scientist James White

5q-jameswhite_top_320x100

This interview, conducted by Cynthis Pasquale, originally appeared in the University of Colorado CU Connections website. You can watch videos featuring Professor White on the Climate & Weather section of Learn More About Climate. Humans and ecosystems can adapt to a slowly changing climate, but what happens when these changes happen abruptly? “When it comes to climate change, speed kills,” says James White, a Fellow and Director of INSTAAR (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research) and a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. White headed a panel of the … [Read more...]

CU-Boulder engineer win NSF’s CAREER award for research to make solar panels more efficient

Prashant Nagpal of CU-Boulder

Prashant Nagpal is one of two faculty members in the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science who have been honored with the National Science Foundation’s prestigious CAREER award. Nagpal, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, is being awarded $499,077 over five years to work on improving the amount of energy from the sun that photovoltaic panels can convert into electricity. His work focuses on using “hot carriers” in quantum-confined semiconductor nanostructures to capture the waste energy that cannot be captured by the bulk … [Read more...]