Cloud Seeding Measurement
CU Boulder atmospheric scientist Katja Friedrich and her colleagues have, for the first time, accurately measured the volume of snow produced through cloud seeding, a process that turns lightweight water vapor into heavier droplets to produce precipitation. Last January, they used radar to measure three seeding events in Idaho and found that, combined, they produced a total of about 282 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water. The research can help scientists determine whether cloud-seeding efforts are useful in the long run to produce rain or snow in areas that need more water.
Forest Recovery, Post-Beetles
Warmer and drier conditions in U.S. forests have caused an influx of bark beetle outbreaks. In Colorado alone, spruce beetles have affected more than 1.8 million acres of Engelmann spruce trees since 2000. CU research, published in the journal Ecology, reveals that beetle outbreaks aren’t completely detrimental to forests, however. “We found that 86% of the stands of trees that we surveyed are currently on a trajectory for recovery,” said lead author Robert Andrus (PhDGeog’19). Their findings can help determine more targeted responses to forest disturbances.
SickStick Wins Top Prize
In the virtual finale of a 150-company contest, the “SickStick” by Darwin Biosciences won CU’s New Venture Challenge, gaining $55,000 in prize money and investments. The developing SickStick technology is a saliva-based diagnostic that will determine illness before symptoms occur. The company hopes to use the over-the-counter device to test for COVID-19 later this year.
Heard Around Campus
"Epidemics reveal our weaknesses, but they also illuminate the profound kindness, generosity and cooperation we are capable of."
— CU Boulder history professor Elizabeth Fenn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and scholar of epidemics
Photo courtesy iStock/xxmmxx