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.

Student use of open office spaces at SEEC has been down since the pandemic. New funding seeks to make SEEC spaces safer, more engaging, and more inclusive.

Recipients of President’s DEI Awards, Grants honored at reception (CU Connections)

May 12, 2023

CU System awards and grants to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) were also honored at an April 20 event. INSTAAR has received a grant to address inclusive open workspaces. Through participatory scenario development, ethnographic walks, and semi-structured interviews, SEEC community members will reflect on inequitable and unwelcoming spaces and conceptualize just future concepts.

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.

Sarah Spaulding talks with students during a hike to sample diatoms in Rocky Mountain streams.

2023 Elizabeth Jester Fellows Award recipient Sarah Spaulding (NALMS)

May 2, 2023

Sarah Spaulding has been honored by the North American Lake Management Society for their extensive contributions to the aquatic sciences. These represent a career-long dedication and vision to improve science through coordination of research, unparalleled teaching and mentorship, and accessibility and engagement of all.

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.

Dentition of a modern baboon. Caj and his colleagues use tooth enamel from dentitions like this in their studies

Uncovering the real paleo diet: Novel isotope analytics of amino acids from fossil hominin teeth (Max Planck Institute for Chemistry)

April 12, 2023

Caj Neubauer and his colleagues are developing techniques to unlock hominin paleodietary information from fossil amino acids and other compounds in tooth enamel. Together, they are seeking to transform anthropology through their deep look into fossil molecules.

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.

Covered in netting to deflect stray balls, instruments gather methane data on the seventh hole of Midnight Sun Golf Course in Alaska. Permafrost is rapidly thawing across the far north, releasing the highly potent greenhouse gas, which leads to more warming. Photo by Frankie Cari.no

The Arctic's permafrost-obsessed methane detectives (Wired)

April 7, 2023

The Far North is thawing, unleashing clouds of planet-heating gas. Tyler Jones, Bruce Vaughn, and Kevin Rozmiarek use detectors on drones or carried by hand to measure methane release from permafrost in Alaska.

An ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide is giving scientists a hint at the continent’s seasonal temperatures across millennia. Photo by Heidi Roop/NSF, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Ice cores record long-ago seasons in Antarctica (AGU Eos)

March 17, 2023

Researchers led by INSTAAR Tyler Jones used ice core data to reconstruct seasonal temperatures throughout the Holocene. The results link especially hot summers with patterns in Earth’s orbit. The results are the first seasonal temperature record stretching back 11,000 years.