Stratospheric accomplice for Santa Ana winds and California wildfires

July 15, 2015

Joint release of CIRES, the University of Colorado Boulder and the American Geophysical Union Southern Californians and writers love to blame the hot, dry Santa Ana winds for tense, ugly moods, and the winds have long been associated with destructive wildfires. Now, NOAA researchers have found that on occasion, the winds have an accomplice with respect to fires, at least: Natural atmospheric events known as stratospheric intrusions, which bring extremely dry air from the upper atmosphere down to the surface, adding to the fire danger effects of the Santa Anas, and exacerbating some air pollution episodes. The findings suggest that... Read more »

Atmospheric mysteries unraveling

July 1, 2015

It’s been difficult to explain patterns of toxic mercury in some parts of the world, such as why there’s so much of the toxin deposited into ecosystems from the air in the southeastern United States, even upwind of usual sources. A new analysis led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that one key to understanding mercury’s strange behavior may be the unexpected reactivity of naturally occurring halogen compounds from the ocean. “Atmospheric chemistry involving bromine and iodine is turning out to be much more vigorous than we expected,” said CU-Boulder atmospheric chemist Rainer Volkamer, the corresponding author... Read more »

Colorado Scientists See Ways To Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions

June 30, 2015

CBS Denver BOULDER, Colo. (CBS) – Scientists in Boulder are taking a closer look at the impact humans have on the global climate. They say the evidence is clear. “The rise of CO2 is inextricably linked, so far, in our history to the Industrial Revolution and global economic growth ,” said Dr. John Miller. Miller is a climate scientist who works for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences , or CIRES. It’s just one of the many organizations studying climate change in Colorado. CIRES is a joint institute run by the University of Colorado Boulder and the National... Read more »

Stricter limits for ozone pollution would boost need for science, measurements

June 10, 2015

NOAA and CIRES joint news release. A tougher federal standard for ozone pollution, under consideration to improve public health, would ramp up the importance of scientific measurements and models, according to a new commentary published in the June 5 edition of Science by researchers at NOAA and its cooperative institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. The commentary, led by Owen Cooper of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, looks at how a new, stricter ozone standard would pose challenges for air quality managers at state and local levels. In November, the... Read more »

The ebb and flow of Greenland’s glaciers

June 3, 2015

New CU-Boulder-led paper could improve understanding of Greenland’s contribution to sea-level rise In northwestern Greenland, glaciers flow from the main ice sheet to the ocean in see-sawing seasonal patterns. The ice generally flows faster in the summer than in winter, and the ends of glaciers, jutting out into the ocean, also advance and retreat with the seasons. Now, a new analysis shows some important connections between these seasonal patterns, sea ice cover and longer-term trends. Glaciologists hope the findings, accepted for publication in the June edition of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface and available online now, will help them... Read more »

CIRES Fellow and ENVS Associate Professor Lisa Dilling quoted in Nature news piece

June 3, 2015

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) CIRES Fellow Lisa Dilling quoted in Nature news piece about an assessment of "no regrets" #climateadaptation strategies. Many of these strategies reduced communities' vulnerability to climate impacts; others increased risk. Access article via CIRES Facebook pageRead more »

Study shows Colorado’s biggest storms can happen any time

May 27, 2015

This is a news release from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. In a state known for its dramatic weather and climate, Colorado’s history of extreme precipitation varies considerably by season and location, according to a new study led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA. Decision makers -- often facing increased pressure to consider climate change information -- typically turn to... Read more »

New study links stratosphere, La Niña and surface air quality

May 22, 2015

Findings will help experts forecast bad ozone days over the U.S. West New research reveals a strong connection between high ozone days in the U.S. West during late spring, the stratosphere, and La Niña, an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that affects global weather patterns. Following a La Nina winter, ozone-rich air is more likely to descend from the stratosphere and reach the surface in western U.S. communities at higher elevations, according to the new study led by Meiyun Lin (of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and NOAA’s cooperative institute at Princeton University). Co-authors of the study, published May 12 in Nature Communications... Read more »

Lisa Dilling: Community involvement critical to adaptation, managing climate change risks

May 5, 2015

By Lisa Dilling Special to the Daily Camera For more than a decade, I've been studying how the knowledge we gain through research can be more useful to decision makers. Trained as a biologist but drawn to understanding how people make decisions, I conduct research at the intersection between science and policy. I've been particularly interested in how land and water managers are responding to the challenge of climate change. Our climate is changing, and people around the world are beginning to notice impacts. Birders have remarked how chicks are hatching earlier and earlier in the year, sometimes even missing... Read more »

Mountains warming faster than expected as climate changes, scientists report

April 27, 2015

An international team of scientists is calling for urgent and rigorous monitoring of temperature patterns in mountain regions after compiling evidence that high elevations could be warming faster than previously thought. Without substantially better information, people risk underestimating the severity of a number of already looming environmental challenges, including water shortages and the possible extinction of some alpine flora and fauna, according to the research team, which includes Henry Diaz and Imtiaz Rangwala from CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. Both researchers are part of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory. NOAA... Read more »