An iceberg in the Southern Ocean. Photo by Cara Nissen.

Colorado Matters: Feb. 7, 2024: Climate change and ocean acidity (CPR)

Feb. 13, 2024

Research by Cara Nissen and Nikki Lovenduski, on how climate change is changing the acidity of the Antarctic Ocean, is part of the Colorado Matters podcast.

An iceberg floats in the acifying waters of the Southern Ocean. Photo by Cara Nissen.

The Antarctic Ocean plays a critical role in regulating the world’s climate. Warming temps are throwing it off balance (CPR News)

Feb. 9, 2024

The acidity of the Antarctic, or Southern, Ocean could double by the end of the century, finds a study led by INSTAAR Cara Nissen. This could have detrimental effects on the icy ecosystem’s smallest inhabitants, like plankton and krill, that are the base of the food web in the ocean.

Ice floats at the surface of a cold ocean. The camera is half-submerged, showing both above and under water.

Acidic waters around Antarctica could spell doom for marine life (9News)

Feb. 2, 2024

Nikki Lovenduski is featured in this two-minute video, discussing how the Antarctic Ocean could become too acidic for many animals to survive by the end of the century without drastic measures to curb emissions from fossil fuels. She references a recent publication led by Cara Nissen and including herself and Cassandra Brooks as well as three colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute.

An iceberg, eroded with arches and cracks, floats in the Southern Ocean.

Acidity of Antarctic waters could double by century’s end, threatening biodiversity (CU Boulder Today)

Jan. 10, 2024

The acidity of Antarctica’s coastal waters could double by the end of the century, threatening plankton and all marine life that inhabits the Southern Ocean, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. Cara Nissen is first author of the study. Coauthors include additional INSTAARs Nikki Lovenduski and Cassandra Brooks as well as three colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute.

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 (

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.