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...]

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...]

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...]

CU-Boulder teams up with Mesa County to make snow-depth data free to water managers, farmers, public

Mesa County GPS Network

New from Colorado.edu: A University of Colorado Boulder professor who developed a clever method to measure snow depth using GPS signals is collaborating with Western Slope officials to make the data freely available to a variety of users on a daily basis. CU-Boulder aerospace engineering sciences Professor Kristine Larson and her colleagues discovered in 2009 that GPS signals that bounce off Earth’s surface before hitting the receivers, once considered bothersome “noise,” could be used to measure snow depth, soil moisture and even vegetation moisture. Larson also is a pioneer in the … [Read more...]

CU-Boulder researchers find common factors behind Greenland melt episodes in 2012, 1889

Atmospheric river events 2012. Credit: Don Murray, CIRES/NOAA

New from Colorado.EDU: In 2012, temperatures at the summit of Greenland rose above freezing for the first time since 1889, raising questions about what led to the unusual melt episode. Now, a new analysis led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that some of the same weather and climate factors were at play in both 1889 and 2012: heat waves thousands of miles upwind in North America, higher-than-average ocean surface temperatures south of Greenland and atmospheric rivers of warm, moist air that streamed toward … [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...]

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...]