Portrait of Nikki Lovenduski

Lovenduski named interim director of INSTAAR

Sept. 1, 2023

CU Boulder has named Associate Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Nikki Lovenduski interim director of Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) effective August 28.

Black and white photo of a nuclear bomb test's mushroom cloud with nearby ships and palm trees in the foreground

Large or small, nuclear war would wreak havoc on the ocean (Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine)

May 31, 2023

Nikki Lovenduski was part of a collaborative study that found that nuclear war would wreak havoc on the world’s oceans, causing them to cool rapidly and become choked with sea ice. Ocean marine life would die out, and marine ecosystems would take decades—possibly even longer—to recover.

Seabirds float in coastal waters off Massachusetts. Photo by Shelly Sommer, 2022.

Ocean surface tipping point could accelerate climate change (EurekAlert)

March 7, 2023

The oceans help to limit global warming by soaking up carbon dioxide emissions. But scientists have discovered that intense warming in the future could lessen that ability, leading to even more severe warming. The discovery comes from a study led by The University of Texas at Austin and including INSTAAR Nikki Lovenduski.

Seedlings sprouting

Lovenduski, Rahman, and Suding garner seed grants from CU Research & Innovation Office

April 18, 2022

Algae in the ocean, water on Mars, and supercharged apple orchards are research topics for three INSTAAR scientists awarded RIO seed grants. The grants are designed to foster new areas of research with high impact and future funding potential.

A globe view of the Southern Ocean with Antarctica in the center and ocean current trajectories around it

Underwater mountains help push carbon up to the atmosphere, oceanographers find (Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine)

Nov. 4, 2021

With the help of strong ocean currents, mountains on the floor of the Southern Ocean play a key role in bringing dissolved carbon to the surface, where it can be released to the atmosphere, a new study led by University of Colorado Boulder scientists finds. The study led by Riley X. Brady and Nicole Lovenduski is the first to detail how carbon travels within and escapes from the Southern Ocean—and has implications for global climate change.

Underwater view of dolphins swimming near the surface, Mexico

Long-term emissions cuts are needed to slow ocean acidification (Earth.com)

Jan. 4, 2021

During the first half of 2020, global greenhouse gas emissions dropped by about nine percent in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. People around the world reported seeing signs that “nature was healing” as a result of a steep decline in human activities such as transportation and production. However, a new study from UC Boulder has shown that the positive changes seen in natural ecosystems were not reflected throughout Earth’s oceans.

 Fish near the sea bottom in Sipadan Island, Malaysia

Impacts of COVID-19 emissions reductions remain murky in the oceans (CU Boulder Today)

Dec. 11, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic resulting shutdowns resulted in a 9% drop in the greenhouse gas emissions at the root of climate change. Unfortunately, any silver lining from the pandemic remains murky in the oceans. INSTAAR researchers Nicole Lovenduski delved into the data and found no detectable slowing of ocean acidification due to COVID-19 emissions reductions. Even at emissions reductions four times the rate of those in the first half of 2020, the change would be barely noticeable. Lovenduski shared the results Friday, Dec. 11 at the American Geophysical Union 2020 Fall Meeting. The findings will also be submitted to the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Closeup of fish heads at a fish market

After a nuclear war, the world’s emergency food supply could be seafood—if overfishing stops now (The Conversation)

Nov. 12, 2020

Scientists working with Nikki Lovenduski write: "As scientists who study the global marine fishery, we are particularly interested in the future supply of seafood. So when some colleagues approached us with the idea of studying the response of the global fishery to nuclear war, we thought it would be a fascinating, though grim topic. As expected, our research showed that nuclear war would have a negative impact on marine fish, although not as bad as we had initially thought. Surprisingly, we also found that marine fish could serve as a crucial global emergency food supply in times of crisis if marine ecosystems were in a healthy state to start with."

The Castle Bravo nuclear weapons test off Bikini Atoll in 1954. (Credit: U.S. Department of Energy)

Scientists explore how to protect fisheries, food supply in event of nuclear war (CU Boulder Today)

Nov. 9, 2020

A new study reveals the damage that a nuclear war might take on wild-caught seafood around the world, from salmon to tuna and even shellfish. The aftermath of such a conflict could put a major strain on global food security, an international team of scientists reports. The group estimates that a nuclear war might cut the amount of seafood that fishing boats are capable of bringing in worldwide by as much as 30%. In short span of time, in other words, those impacts could rival the toll that climate change is taking on fisheries across the globe, said study coauthor Nicole Lovenduski.