Mike Gooseff rows a raft on the Colorado River during field work.

2022 Alumni Awards: Michael Gooseff (MCivEngr’98; PhD’01)

Nov. 22, 2022

Presentation on Michael Gooseff, winner of the 2022 Robert L. Stearns Award, profiles his career as a polar science researcher and educator. Gooseff leads the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research project, chairs the Water Quality Control Commission for the State of Colorado, and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board on Water Body Connectivity for the Environmental Protection Agency among other leadership and teaching roles.

Smoke from a wildfire is visible behind a permafrost monitoring tower at the Scotty Creek Research Station in Canada's Northwest Territories in September. The tower burned down in October from unusual wildfire activity. Photo by Joëlle Voglimacci-Stephanopoli.

Belching lakes, mystery craters, ‘zombie fires’: How the climate crisis is transforming the Arctic permafrost (CNN)

Nov. 14, 2022

Thawing permafrost—the frozen layer of soil that has underpinned the Arctic tundra and boreal forests of Alaska, Canada and Russia for millennia—is upending the lives of people living in the Arctic and dramatically transforming the polar landscape. The vast amount of carbon stored in the permafrost is an overlooked and underestimated driver of climate crisis. Permafrost thaw gets less attention than the headline-hogging shrinking of glaciers and ice sheets, but scientists say that needs to change—fast.

Randall Duncan on a research site near Crested Butte, Colorado, investigating how beavers influence hydrology. Photo by Katharine Lininger.

GEO-VETS initiative funds military veteran’s research project (CU Boulder Arts & Sciences)

Nov. 11, 2022

Randall Duncan is an undergraduate student who is also a U.S. Army veteran. He is pursuing dual degrees in geology and geography while working with Holly Barnard on hydrology research in the critical zone. Duncan is investigating how beavers influence rivers and floodplains near Crested Butte, Colorado, funded by the NSF GEO-VETS (Geosciences-Veterans Education and Training) initiative.

  An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting rapidly, and that melt will accelerate as the Earth heats up. Ryan Kellman/NPR

Climate tipping points and the damage that could follow (NPR)

Nov. 11, 2022

If Earth heats up beyond 1.5 degrees C, the impacts don't get just slightly worse--scientists warn that abrupt changes could be triggered, with devastating impacts. As the 27th annual climate negotiations are underway in Egypt and the world is set to blow past that 1.5°C warming threshold, NPR asks climate scientists including Merritt Turetsky about three climate tipping points--points of no return that could cause big changes to the Earth's ecosystems.

A black-capped chickadee perches on a snowy tree branch. Photo by Amanda Frank via Unsplash.

The chickadee you see sitting on a tree? It might be a hybrid (CU Boulder Today)

Nov. 1, 2022

Hybrids of two common North American songbirds, the black-capped and mountain chickadee, are more likely to be found in places where humans have altered the landscape, finds new research by a team including INSTAAR Scott Taylor. The study is the first to positively correlate hybridization in any species with human-caused landscape changes. It also contradicts a long-standing assumption that these two birds rarely hybridize.

Warren Sconiers at one of his research sites on Niwot Ridge.

Warren Sconiers: A winding path of discovery through research and teaching (British Ecological Society)

Oct. 25, 2022

Warren Sconiers—an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder interested in plant-insect interactions, insect ecology, and climate change—shares his story as part of Black History Month.

Color coded US map of how rain-on-snow events can create potential nitrogen sources. Northern areas of the northeast, midwest, and northwest coast have high potential.

As winters warm, nutrient pollution threatens 40% of U.S. (U Vermont)

Oct. 10, 2022

As climate changes, previously frozen chemical runoff from farms and fields puts water quality at risk in over 40 states, research says. Keith Musselman part of team looking at winter nutrient pollution, a new problem caused by climate change.

Cover of the Living Landscape book, showing a girl in a red shirt in a meadow

New children’s book explores The Living Landscape

Oct. 10, 2022

A new children’s book is centered in the Critical Zone, the thin outer layer of Earth’s surface from the tops of the trees down to bedrock where life exists and interacts with rock, soil, water, and air. Designed for 8 to 12-year olds, the book is by INSTAARs Eric Parrish and Suzanne Anderson and is published by Muddy Boots Books.

Miles Moore and Jimmy Howe toss black sand onto a test plot on Niwot Ridge. Photo by Kelsey Simpkins, CU Boulder.

To study impacts of longer, hotter summers, ecologists haul 5,000 pounds of sand up a mountain (CU Boulder Today)

Sept. 12, 2022

For the past five years, a team of research assistants and volunteers have hiked up Niwot Ridge in late May to set the stage for a unique experiment in which they spread 5,000 pounds of black sand across portions of the remaining snowpack. Their goal is to simulate the near-future effects of a warming planet on alpine ecosystems.

Pika on a talus slope, by Derek Ryder via Unsplash

CU Boulder study finds climate change impacts in mountain microclimates (Broomfield Leader)

Sept. 7, 2022

Some effects of climate change are dramatic and visible, like wildfires and extreme weather, but a new study led by Chris Ray found that climate change can impact even hidden places and some of the state’s smallest residents: pikas.