Clouds amplify warming in Arctic, study finds

December 16, 2015

PULLMAN, Wash. – Clouds can increase warming in the changing Arctic region more than scientists expected, according to a new study published Dec. 10 in the journal Nature Communications. Read the study at . “As the Arctic atmosphere warms and moistens, it better insulates the surface,” said Christopher Cox, lead author of the paper. “While we expected this to reduce the influence from clouds, we find that clouds forming in the Arctic appear to further warm the surface, especially in the fall and winter.” “The effect of clouds is very important for the future of the Arctic,” said Von... Read more »

A Dispatch from the Paris Climate Conference

December 3, 2015

December 3, 2015, PARIS, FRANCE — The 2015 Paris Climate Conference (also known as COP21: the 21st meeting of the conference of parties) is well underway and several of our CIRES and NOAA colleagues are there. We reached out to Max Boykoff, who’s with the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research; below is a short Q&A with him about his experience so far. Q) What’s the general mood there? There’s a great deal of anticipation but also something of a reflective and sober mood. The rhetoric from world leaders, who were here at the opening of the conference, is... Read more »

Less ice, more water in Arctic Ocean by 2050s

November 4, 2015

By the 2050s, parts of the Arctic Ocean once covered by sea ice much of the year will see at least 60 days a year of open water, according to a new modeling study led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. “We hear all the time about how sea ice extent in the Arctic is going down,” says Katy Barnhart, who led the research while at CU-Boulder’s Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). “That’s an important measurement if you are trying to understand broad impacts of climate change in the Arctic, but it doesn’t tell us about... Read more »

New study finds some chemicals less damaging to ozone layer can degrade to long-lived greenhouse gases

November 4, 2015

From By: American Geophysical Union (AGU) WASHINGTON, DC November 3, 2015 - Some substitutes for ozone-damaging chemicals being phased out worldwide under international agreements are themselves potent greenhouse gases and contribute to warming. Now, a new study published Nov. 2 in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, shows for the first time how some of those replacement chemicals can break down in the atmosphere to form a greenhouse gas that can persist for millennia, much longer than the substitute chemicals themselves. Specifically, when some chemicals widely used as refrigerants break down in the stratosphere—a layer... Read more »

NOAA funds CU-Boulder-based Western Water Assessment for another five years

October 14, 2015

In 2013, the torrents of water that poured out of the mountains, ripping up roads and inundating Boulder, Lyons, Longmont and other Front Range communities, also resulted in a deluge of questions. Both the general public and local officials wondered just how unusual this rainfall and flooding had been. Had something like it happened before? Was anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change responsible? “The intensity of the floods really caught a lot of us living in the region off guard,” said Lisa Dilling, director of the Western Water Assessment, which is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at... Read more »

Winners announced for 2015 Governor’s Awards for High-Impact Research

October 7, 2015

BizWest by Doug Storum on October 1, 2015 DENVER — Scientists and researchers at federal labs and universities in Colorado will be recognized for their groundbreaking work in atmospheric science, foundational technology, public health and sustainability. Teams will be honored at the Seventh Annual Governor’s Awards for High-Impact Research that will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Denver. “These projects highlight the diversity and impact of the science and technology coming out of Colorado’s labs that make our state and the world a better place,” Gov. John... Read more »

New Seminar series from CIRES and ATOC: Reading IPCC Report

August 26, 2015

Ever wonder what the IPCC report says? Attend the ATOC/CIRES Seminar Series Reading the IPCC Report and hear experts in the IPCC chapter areas explain how climate change may impact us, and how it might be mitigated. IPCC WG II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Seminar dates and topicsRead more »

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 »