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...]

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...]

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...]

Crowdfunding to fight climate change with CO2 conversion project

Crowdfunding CO2 conversion

As part of a new crowdfunding initiative at University of Colorado Boulder, students Chern-Hooi Lim, Yu-Ching Kuo, Alan Aguirre with project advisor Professor Charles Musgravee are working to raise $10,000 to build a photocatalyst which will convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuel. Crowdfunding is the practice of sourcing small contributions from a large number of people to provide funding for a particular project or campaign. The CO2 "recycling" project is one of eight projects in a pilot online fundraising platform that allows CU-Boulder individuals and organizations to create and … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

New Report on Abrupt Climate Change Calls for Increased Monitoring and Early Warning System

West Antarctica Ice Sheet

A new National Academy of Science report on climate change has just been made available from its National Research Council, chaired by Professor James White of CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. A video replay of the press briefing webcast is now available. Read or download a pdf of the the complete report or view the summary here: Summary: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change The report, “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises,” draws upon recent research to adjust the timeframe within which certain climate change impacts may happen. It emphasizes … [Read more...]

Drought and the Spruce Bark Beetle: New CU-Boulder Study Makes the Connection

spruce bark beetle

Editor's note: The following article was submitted by CU-Boulder Geography Ph.D. student Sarah Hart. Periods of drought and warm temperatures, are responsible for periods of spruce beetle outbreak in Colorado, says a new University of Colorado Boulder-led study. A new study used tree-rings and documentary records of spruce beetle outbreak across much of the Rockies from the northern Front Range to Grand Mesa in southwestern Colorado over the past 300+ years to examine the climate variables associated with past outbreaks. Notably these multi-century tree-ring records of outbreaks … [Read more...]

Like butter: CIRES study explains surprising acceleration of Greenland’s inland ice

Surface meltwater draining through cracks in an ice sheet can warm the sheet from the inside, softening the ice and letting it flow faster, according to a new study by scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. During the last decade, researchers have captured compelling evidence of accelerating ice flow at terminal regions, or “snouts,” of Greenland glaciers as they flow into the ocean along the western coast. The new CIRES research now shows that the interior regions also are flowing much faster … [Read more...]