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...]

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...]

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...]

Pine Beetles don’t stick around on slippery bark, says CU-Boulder study

Mountain Pine Beetle

In the online journal Functional Ecology, Doctoral student Scott Ferrenberg and Professor Jeff Mitton of University of Colorado, Boulder describe how they conducted field surveys to determine if mountain pine beetles can successfully attack limber pines with smooth versus rough bark. Scott, who led the study, said he first began to suspect that bark texture might affect the survival of trees while he and Dr. Mitton, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, were walking through a stand of high-elevation limber pines. They noticed that surface resin, a residue of fighting off a beetle … [Read more...]

Dr. Konrad Steffen and James Hansen Offer Evidence for a Disruptive Call to Action

Konrad Steffen photo

A paper by James Hansen and 17 scientific colleagues includes the work of CU-Boulder Professor Emeritus of Geography, Konrad Steffen. “Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature” calls for cohesive, unified action to reduce fossil fuel emissions to pre-Industrial Era levels. The paper details the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to reducing carbon emissions. PLOS ONE, as publishers of the paper, announced a call for papers to support this goal. Read more about the paper on the PLOS ONE website. … [Read more...]

New study: Dust, warming portend dry future for the Colorado River

dust

Reducing the amount of desert dust swept onto snowy Rocky Mountain peaks could help Western water managers deal with the challenges of a warmer future, according to a new study led by researchers at NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the CU - Boulder. With support from the CIRES Western Water Assessment (WWA) and NASA’s Interdisciplinary Science program, CIRES’ Jeffrey Deems and his colleagues examined the combined effects of regional warming and dust on the Colorado River, which is fed primarily by snowmelt. During recent years, desert dust … [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...]