Is there an upper limit to the greenhouse gas effect?

Greenhouse Effect on Venus

Editor’s Note: Learn More About Climate recently received an interesting question through our Ask A Scientist feature: I have recently heard the claim that "the atmospheric absorption bands for CO2 are already saturated" so the addition of more CO2 to the atmosphere is moot. I trust this is not the whole story, and would like to understand why such a claim is not accepted by the (vast) majority of climate scientists. CU-Boulder second-year graduate student Anondo Mukherjee reached out to his colleagues at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC). Here is Anondo's … [Read more...]

Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability – IPCC Working Group II Report Now Available

IPCC Working Group II

Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its full contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The report provides the most comprehensive look to date at the worldwide impacts of climate change and the opportunities for response. View and download the report here: IPCC Working Group II: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability - Summary for Policymakers In addition to the final versions of the 30-chapter report, cross-chapter materials, technical summary, and summary for policymakers, this latest release includes … [Read more...]

“Hot Spot” Near Four Corners Produces Largest Methane Concentration in the U.S.

US maps showing methane hot spot.

Scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan have published a new study showing that an area at the intersection of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada is a "hot spot" for methane emissions. In each of the seven years studied from 2003 to 2009, the area released about 0.59 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere. This is almost 3.5 times the estimate for the same area in the European Union's widely used Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research. The gas measured in the study comes from leaks in processing equipment, and is not attributed to fracking, … [Read more...]

NSIDC recovers rescued data and reveals sea ice secrets (video)

Garrett Campel

50 years ago, NASA launched Nimbus to study Earth from space. Now, experts at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (part of CIRES), are recovering valuable data and images from old, long-lost film, and expanding their understanding of sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. When NASA launched Nimbus-1 50 years ago, the agency’s key goals were to test instruments that could capture images of clouds and other meteorological features. The Nimbus satellites made such excellent observations, NASA eventually handed over key technologies to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration … [Read more...]

Cesar Nufio picks up the trail of 13,000 dead grasshoppers and what they can tell us about climate change

Cesar Nufio, CU-Boulder

When CU-Boulder entomologist Cesar Nufio discovered a collection of 50-year-old grasshoppers in a CU lab, he knew they woudd be instrumental in assessing the effects of climate change on grasshoppers. Nufio is an adjoint curator in the Entomology Section of the Museum Natural History at CU, and has taught several courses in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. The collection of grasshoppers, along with notebooks cataloging detailed field notes, were the work of Gordon Alexander, former head of CU-Boulder's biology department. Stephanie Paige Ogburn of KUNC.org reports: … [Read more...]

New report highlights how climate change may affect water in Colorado

Report: Climate Change in Colorado

As Colorado’s climate continues to warm, those who manage or use water in the state will likely face significant changes in water supply and demand, according to a new report on state climate change released today by the Western Water Assessment and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Rising temperatures will tend to reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities, according to the new report, “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources … [Read more...]

Ozone gardens at CU-Boulder and NCAR reveal harmful effects of pollution

Ozone Garden

Most people have heard about the harmful effects of pollution on human and plant health, but until recently, visualizing such effects took some imagination. Now, new “ozone gardens” at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Museum of Natural History and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesa Laboratory make the evidence startlingly clear. Visits to the gardens are free and open to the public. Scientists at CU-Boulder and NCAR are growing plants that develop brown and black spots on their leaves when exposed to harmful air pollution. The ozone gardens feature particular … [Read more...]

Attend the Alpine Hydrology Workshop in Durango, Colorado

Durango, Colorado

Plans are underway for an exciting, full-day Alpine Hydrology workshop in Durango, Colorado. Join scientists from CU-Boulder as they guide workshop attendees through cutting-edge research from the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research site. These researchers are changing what we know about the limits of survival for microorganisms found within the extreme environments located in high elevations, and availability of limiting nutrients across the Colorado alpine. Workshop attendees will: Discover new ways to bring the Colorado alpine into the classroom. Explore the links between … [Read more...]

CU-Boulder and NCAR researchers seek to reduce deadly air pollution from cooking emissions

cookstoves

A $1.5 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will help researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Center for Atmospheric Research measure pollution from residential cooking and better understand a problem that kills millions of women and children each year in the developing world. According to the EPA, more than 3 billion people worldwide rely on the burning of wood, plant matter, coal and waste for cooking or heating. Exposure to cookstove emissions, particularly indoor exposure, ranks as one of the five worst overall health risk factors in poor … [Read more...]

Energy and water professionals: CU-Boulder offers expanded degree options

CU_Boulder graduation

This is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared on Colorado.edu. A new educational partnership at the University of Colorado Boulder will provide expanded degree options for working professionals interested in specialized graduate education focused on energy and water. Beginning this fall, qualified students can earn both a Master of Engineering (ME) degree and a Professional Certificate in Renewable and Sustainable Energy or a Professional Certificate in Water Engineering and Management. The degree and certificates can be earned either via distance education or in campus … [Read more...]