News | Research

INSTAAR research is featured in thousands of news stories and more than 10,000 social media posts per year. Outlets include the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio, and as well as more regional news outlets like High Country News, 9News, and the Denver Post. Selected highlights are listed below. Additional stories are noted @INSTAAR on Twitter.

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.

A hand holds a block of melting ice taken from an ice core of a snowfield

As Earth warms, old mayhem and secrets emerge from the ice (New York Times)

Nov. 4, 2021

But the window for discovery is slender and shrinking. Craig Lee's ice patch archaeology is mentioned.

Scientists stand next to airplane used for gathering data on atmospheric emissions and chemicals

Hunting for emissions thousands of feet up (CU Boulder Today)

Oct. 27, 2021

Recent scientific flights above the Front Range will help scientists and policymakers cut unnecessary emissions, reduce greenhouse gases and help local residents breathe better. Participants include members of INSTAAR's Advanced Laser Technology for Atmospheric Research (ALTAiR) Laboratory

Small airplane on the ground being prepared for science flights

Researchers work to better understand environmental impacts of fracking (Denver 7)

Oct. 18, 2021

Armed with state-of-the-art equipment, researchers from the University of Colorado and University of Maryland spent a week flying above fracking sites in Weld County, Colorado to gather data surrounding possible methane leaks around fracking sites. This article includes a 2.5 minute video.

Two mountain streams come together, one with rusty red acid rock drainage

New contamination concern for Colorado streams (EOS)

Oct. 14, 2021

Abandoned hardrock mines and climate change cause metals and other elements to leach into streams. They also put rare earth elements into the water, as found by Garrett Rue and Diane McKnight in their new study.

Two mountain streams come together, one with rusty red acid rock drainage

Climate change increases rare earth elements in Colorado’s Snake River (High Country News)

Sept. 16, 2021

A new study by Garrett Rue and Diane McKnight suggests lower stream flows, caused by climate change, as a primary culprit.

Students involved in Diane McKnight's ongoing research on water quality in the Snake River collect tracer samples along a tributary.

Rare earth elements and old mines spell trouble for Western water supplies

Aug. 30, 2021

Acid rock and mine drainage into Western streams is a problem. Climate change is making it worse.

People in a boat and wading in floodwaters

Study finds global surge of flood exposure is from population shifts far more than climate change (Sustain What)

Aug. 6, 2021

Too often, rising climate risk is conflated with rising CO2. That takes the heat off national and local leaders who can cut drivers of risk on the ground now. Andy Revkin collects in-depth perspective from scientists and others on the global risk of flooding, the inequities and policies that are driving up that risk, and what we can do to manage it. Revkin cites work that involved Albert Kettner and Bob Brakenridge of the DFO Flood Observatory.

Map of global flooding on a particular day

New global map shows populations are growing faster in flood-prone areas (MIT Technology Review)

Aug. 5, 2021

Satellite imagery reveals how floods are changing and who’s most at risk. A new global floods database involved Bob Brakenridge and Albert Kettner of the DFO Flood Observatory.

Example of an arid zone with sparsely vegetated landscape

Expert Q&A on efforts to reverse desertification (drylands reseeding) (Univ. of Victoria)

July 22, 2021

Restoration of degraded drylands is urgently needed to mitigate climate change, reverse desertification and secure livelihoods for the two billion people who live in these areas, say an international group of ecologists who examined the success of seeding drylands with key native plant species. Their study is published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Lead author Nancy Shackelford started the project as a postdoc in Katie Suding's group.