AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network Invites Colorado Communities to Explore Impacts of Oil and Gas Development


Community, tribal and K-12 groups are invited to submit project proposals that explore impacts of oil and gas development on their local communities with support from the AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network based at the University of Colorado Boulder. The grants of up to $5,000 each aim to improve understanding of the risks and benefits of oil and gas development as identified by community organizations. Grant recipients will work with AirWaterGas researchers for the duration of their one-year projects. Proposals are due by 5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Grants will be awarded … [Read more...]

Theatre Projects Place Youth Center Stage in Discussions about Building Resilient Communities

Sol-Her Energ-He

Fresh from the “Urban Thinkers Campus: The City We Need” conference in New York, Beth Osnes, associate professor of theatre, explains why involving youth is key to building more resilient communities. Osnes has created a methodology specific to energy development using theatre as a tool. Her many projects work with youth and communities near and far to shine a light on a new energy future. Based on her ongoing research, Osnes has also developed the Solar-Powered Shadow Puppet Performance project. Here, students participate in an energy forum and engage in a collective conversation about … [Read more...]

Belief in Climate Change Not Linked to Wildfire Mitigation Actions


People who believe that climate change is increasing the risk of devastating wildfires in Colorado are no more likely to take mitigation actions to protect their property, a new study led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the U.S. Forest Service has found. The study, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Hazards, examined the role that climate change beliefs play in a homeowner’s choice to undertake risk mitigation activities such as installing a fire-resistant roof to reduce the ignitability of their home or thinning surrounding vegetation that … [Read more...]

Behind the Ozone Garden: Ozone, Climate Change, and Our Health


Ground-level ozone (a.k.a “bad” ozone) is harmful to humans and plants. Ozone can make it difficult to breath, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory infections. High levels of ground-level ozone are hazardous for all people, but the young and elderly are often most affected. When an Ozone Action Alert is issued because of high ozone levels, the young and elderly are encouraged to stay inside and plan outdoor exercise early in the morning when ozone levels are lowest. While people can go inside on Ozone Action Alert days, plants cannot. Spikes in ozone levels are dangerous to … [Read more...]

Study: Western Forests Decimated by Pine Beetles Not More Likely to Burn

High Park Fire, Colorado 2012, Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture

Western U.S. forests killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic are no more at risk to burn than healthy Western forests, according to new findings by the University of Colorado Boulder that fly in the face of both public perception and policy. The CU-Boulder study authors looked at the three peak years of Western wildfires since 2002, using maps produced by federal land management agencies. The researchers superimposed maps of areas burned in the West in 2006, 2007 and 2012 on maps of areas identified as infested by mountain pine beetles, according to a CU-Boulder news release. The … [Read more...]

Free Online Course Offers in Depth Look at Water in the West


Why is water at the heart of so much conflict in the American West? How have major cities and extensive agricultural systems been able to thrive despite most of the region being either a desert or semi-desert environment? How will a warming climate affect the availability and use of water in a region populated by tens of millions of people? Join “Water in the Western United States,” a free, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) featuring leading University of Colorado Boulder scientists who will provide an overview of the science behind water and climate. In addition, they will discuss the … [Read more...]

Arctic Sea Ice Loss 
Expected to be Bumpy in the Short Term


Arctic sea ice extent plunged precipitously from 2001 to 2007, then it barely budged between 2007 and 2013. Even in a warming world, researchers can expect such unusual periods of no change—and rapid change—at the world’s northern reaches, according to a new paper. “Human-caused global warming is melting Arctic sea ice over the long term, but the Arctic is a variable place, said Jennifer Kay, a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-author of the new analysis in Nature Climate Change. Natural ups and downs … [Read more...]

New report charts Colorado’s climate change

Fire Drop

Sea-level rise may not be eating away at Colorado’s borders, but climate change exposes other critical vulnerabilities in the state, according to a new report. Rising temperatures likely will take a toll on cattle and crops, for example, and could more often leave junior water rights holders with little water and few options. The new report, “The Colorado Climate Change Vulnerability Study,” was commissioned by the Colorado Energy Office in accordance with the Colorado Legislature’s House Bill 13-1293, according to a CU-Boulder news release. It’s a sector-by-sector analysis of the … [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 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...]