A lidar beam shooting into the sky at night.

PhD student headed to Antarctica to conduct climate research with lasers

July 26, 2022

Arunima Prakash is preparing to study the upper atmosphere from one of the coldest and most desolate places on Earth: Antarctica. Prakash, an aerospace PhD student at the University of Colorado Boulder, is studying polar mesospheric clouds and their...

Chu's lidar facility in operation in Antarctica.

$3.3 million grant to advance climate and space weather research from Antarctica

Oct. 5, 2021

It is one of the coldest and most isolated places on Earth, but for a team of scientists and engineers from CU Boulder, it is the ideal location to conduct complex space-atmospheric research: the frozen tundra of Antarctica.

STAR lidar at Table Mountain.

Atmospheric metal layers appear with surprising regularity

June 2, 2021

Twice a day, at dusk and just before dawn, a faint layer of sodium and other metals begins sinking down through the atmosphere, about 90 miles high above the city of Boulder, Colorado. The movement was captured by one of the world’s most sensitive “lidar” instruments and reported Tuesday in...

LIDAR Station in Antarctica

Equatorial winds ripple down to Antarctica

Aug. 17, 2020

CU Boulder-led team is first to observe new equatorial wind patterns in Antarctica, revealing new connections in global circulation. A CIRES-led team has uncovered a critical connection between winds at Earth’s equator and atmospheric waves 6,000 miles away at the South Pole. The team has found, for the first time,...

Touchdown after a long and loud flight!

24 hours of sunlight — life and aerospace research in Antarctica

Jan. 14, 2020

Greetings from Antarctica! I can’t believe I am living and learning in one of the coolest (literally coldest) places on the planet. I arrived here in December as a University of Colorado Boulder aerospace PhD student and Smead Scholar working under professor Dr. Xinzhao Chu. She has been conducting research in Antarctica for...

Ian Geraghty and Xinzhao Chu in Antarctica.

A Year in Antarctica

Aug. 2, 2019

Ian Geraghty (AeroEngr BS'19) is in the middle of yearlong research experience in one of the most inaccessible and extreme places on Earth: Antarctica. He's using lidar -- a pulsed laser system -- aimed at the sky to study the atmosphere at altitudes so high Earth weather and space weather interact.

Xinzhao Chu with Ian Geraghty

Chu honored with 2019 CEDAR Prize Lecture for Antarctic research

June 20, 2019

Download the Lecture slides Congratulations to professor Xinzhao Chu for being selected to give the 2019 CEDAR Prize Lecture. Chu received the honor for her scientific contributions to understanding coupling from the stratosphere to the mesosphere and lower thermosphere resulting from Lidar development and observations at McMurdo Station in Antarctica...

Xinzhao Chu with a group of students in Antarctica.

Observations Show Gravity Waves Above Antarctica Dance in Winter

Feb. 5, 2019

New research by Xinzhao Chu, a professor of Smead Aerospace and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and her team shows gravity waves above Antarctica exhibit seasonal patterns that peak in winter, which could help researchers trace the source of the mysterious phenomenon. Gravity waves are enormous vertical...

Researchers in Antarctica

The Buffs Who Summer in Antarctica

Dec. 7, 2018

Antarctica is one of Earth’s most forbidding places. That’s why CU researchers keep going back. Ian Geraghty (AeroEngr’18) spent his first season in Antarctica in 2017. Now a research assistant at CU, he’s part of an engineering team using laser equipment to study the mysteries of Earth’s atmosphere, including persistent...

Xinzhao Chu in Antarctica.

New Clues to Origins of Mysterious Atmospheric Waves in Antarctica

July 25, 2018

CU Boulder team led by Xinzhao Chu finds link between gravity waves in the upper and lower Antarctic atmosphere, helping create a clearer picture of global air circulation. Two years after a CIRES and CU Boulder team discovered a previously unknown class of waves rippling continuously through the upper Antarctic...