Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have been on a frog hunt.
They’ve spent three years scouring hundreds of California ponds in search of amphibians with mangled, grotesque deformities. Sometimes, the frogs have misshapen legs. Sometimes, they have extra sets of legs sprouting where they don’t belong. And sometimes, they have no legs at all.
By cataloging the deformed frogs — and the toads, newts and salamanders that share their homes — the researchers have made an important discovery: more diversity equals fewer deformations.
The wild and dramatic cascade of ice into the ocean from Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, an iconic glacier featured in the documentary “Chasing Ice” and one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, will cease around 2020, according to a study by the University of Colorado Boulder.
A special kind of high-altitude athleticism is needed to work in Colorado's most extreme environments. For CU-Boulder scientists like ecology & evolutionary biology (EBIO) graduate student Courtney Naff, it's an inspiring place to push the boundaries of body and mind. This is an extended version of the story first broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
Scientists have disagreed for many years over the precise cause for a period of cooling global temperatures that began after the Middle Ages and lasted into the late 19th century, commonly known as the Little Ice Age.
Using skills passed down through generations, Inuit forecasters living in the Canadian Arctic look to the sky to tell by the way the wind scatters a cloud whether a storm is on the horizon or if it’s safe to go on a hunt. Thousands of miles away in a lab in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, scientists take data measurements and use the latest computer models to predict weather. These are two practices serving the same purpose that come from disparate worlds.
Why has the world been unable to address global warming? Science policy expert Roger Pielke, Jr., CU-Boulder professor of environmental studies, says it's not the fault of those who reject the Kyoto Protocol, but those who support it and the magical thinking that the agreement represents.
In his book The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming, Pielke offers a way to repair climate policy, shifting the debate away from meaningless targets and toward a revolution in how the world's economy is powered.
“On one hand, I’m gonna tell you, ‘This is no big deal, bark beetles have been around for 35 million years, conifers have been around for a lot longer than that, and bark beetles have been killing conifers for 35 million years. There have been epidemics every 30 to 70 years. This is no big deal.’
“Then, on the other hand, I’m gonna tell you, ‘Holy smokes guys, this has never been seen before. Yes, it’s an epidemic, yes, epidemics are natural, but never has there been an epidemic like this as far as biologists have been able to look into the past.”