A 16-by-16-inch piece consisting of frozen India ink, paper and thread. Created by Colorado artist Hannah Taylor in collaboration with CU Boulder scientist Noah Molotch, the frozen ink wash papers represent a community defined by snow.

Colorado artist, CU Boulder scientist band together to spotlight Dillon Reservoir and the state’s water issues (Summit Daily)

June 26, 2023

Their collaborative art piece, part of a CU Boulder-sponsored exhibit, is one of several hanging in the Colorado State Capitol building.

Lines divide Sierra Nevada watersheds. Average is a modeled estimate for years 2000-2021. Figure by Leanne Lestak and Noah Molotch.

Scientists take flight to map California’s vast snowpack and measure flooding threats (L.A. Times)

May 26, 2023

Noah Molotch is quoted in this Los Angeles Times article about mapping the recent historic snowpack in California using laser pulses and spectrometers from the air. The flights are collecting data to estimate when and how fast the snow will melt, helping officials prepare for the runoff, manage water releases from dams, and asses areas at risk of flooding.

CU Boulder researchers collect snow measurements near the Continental Divide in Colorado for the snow survey last May. Photo by Kate Hale.

Earlier snowpack melt in the West could bring summer water scarcity (CU Boulder Today)

May 25, 2023

Snow is melting earlier, and more rain is falling instead of snow in the mountain ranges of the Western U.S. and Canada, leading to a leaner snowpack that could impact agriculture, wildfire risk and municipal water supplies come summer, according to a new CU Boulder analysis. Kate Hale and Noah Molotch are authors on the study.

Holly Barnard and artist Jocelyn Catterson an artwork by Catterson in the Lieutenant Governor's office at the Colorado State Capitol building.

Art and climate science converge in new exhibit at the Colorado Capitol (KUNC)

May 24, 2023

An exhibit that just opened in the Colorado capitol building's rotunda features artwork made in the process of partnerships between artists from around Colorado, their communities, and CU Boulder scientists. Called “Coloradans and our Shared Environment in Times of Challenge and Change,” the art grapples with the climate and environmental challenges that are part of Coloradoans' lives: drought, decreasing groundwater, acid mine drainage, wildfire, pine beetle tree mortality, and more.

A mixed-media artwork by Jocelyn Catterson explores groundwater in the San Luis Valley, reflecting a partnership with INSTAAR Holly Barnard.

Coloradoans and our shared environment in times of challenge and change (CU OOE)

May 18, 2023

A collaborative exhibition tells the story of how Coloradans are experiencing interrelated challenges of fire, drought, and water and air quality in their communities. Artists (the CASE Fellows) partnered with scientists and communities to make visible the connections between Coloradans and their environment. Several INSTAARs acted as scientist partners. This website showcases the artwork, as well as quotes from the partners, explorations of the issues, and what you can do to act.

nowpack in the Roaring Fork Valley in western Colorado, as seen during an Airborne Snow Observatories Inc. flight in mid-April.

Scientists are using lasers to uncover the secrets of Colorado’s snowpack. So what does it mean for your water supply? (Colorado Sun)

May 12, 2023

In Colorado, 83% of the state’s water supply comes from surface water fed by winter snowpack and spring runoff. Colorado’s snowmelt also flows downstream to millions of other users in the Colorado River Basin. Having the most accurate snowpack measurement possible is vital for water agencies, which use the data to figure out how much ends up in home faucets and on farms for irrigation. The search for new, more accurate ways to measure snowpack is on.

A map slider compares compares the 2022 and 2023 snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

A boom year for Sierra Nevada snow (NASA)

April 28, 2023

After three years of busts, 2023 was a boom year for snow in the Sierra Nevada. Data provided by INSTAARs Noah Molotch, Leanne Lestak, and Kehan Yang provide a detailed picture of snowpack across the range and at different elevations, which helps the California Department of Water Resources and other water managers better forecast snowmelt in California.

Photo of Keith Musselman

Keith Musselman joins the Department of Geography as Assistant Professor (Geography)

April 20, 2023

INSTAAR Fellow Keith Musselman has joined the Department of Geography. He studies how mountain snowpack supports sustainable ecosystems and water supply for people, wildlife, and agriculture.

Group photo from Arctic Rivers Summit in Anchorage, December 2022. Photo by Keith Musselman.

As rising temperatures affect Alaskan rivers, effects ripple through Indigenous communities (CU Boulder Today)

April 11, 2023

Streamflow is increasing in Alaskan rivers during both spring and fall seasons, primarily due to increasing air temperatures over the past 60 years, creating dangers and difficulties for local communities. New CU Boulder-led research quantifies consequences already observed and experienced for generations by local Indigenous communities who rely on these rivers for their livelihoods.

A series of atmospheric rivers in early 2023 covered the Sierra Nevada in snow. Mario Tama, Getty Images.

Why rain on snow in the California mountains worries scientists (The Conversation)

March 14, 2023

Another round of powerful atmospheric rivers is hitting California, following storms in January and February 2023 that dumped record amounts of snow. This time, the storms are warmer, and are triggering flood warnings as they bring rain higher into the mountains on top of the snowpack. Keith Musselman explains the complex risks rain on snow creates and how they might change in a warming climate.

Pages