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.

Nangama glacial lake, Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, source of the 1960 glacial lake outburst flood, May 2019. Photo by Alton Byers.

Tracing past glacial floods in Kangchenjunga (Nepali Times)

Sept. 21, 2020

Satellite imagery is useful, but involving local people in research can often help fill gaps in research of glacial floods. Article by Alton Byers in the Nepali Times shares some of the detailed knowledge of local residents who witnessed glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) over the last four decades in the Kangchenjunga area of Nepal.

Fresh white snow falls on glacier ice floating in dark blue water

Sea ice triggered the Little Ice Age, finds a new study

Sept. 16, 2020

A new study, led by Martin Miles, finds a trigger for the Little Ice Age that cooled Europe from the 1300s through mid-1800s. The study also supports surprising model results suggesting that under the right conditions sudden climate changes can occur spontaneously, without external forcing.

Small chunks of melting ice float in a dark blue sea.

Increase in fresh water in Arctic Ocean could affect global climate systems (The Narwhal)

Aug. 28, 2020

A new study, led by Alexandra Jahn, shows increased precipitation and ice melt caused by climate change have left Arctic waters less salty. Repercussions will be felt much farther south.

Sea ice in the ocean in northern Baffin Bay, September 2008. Photo by Alex Jahn.

Increasing Arctic freshwater is driven by climate change (CU Boulder Today)

July 29, 2020

New, first-of-its-kind research from Rory Laiho and Alex Jahn shows that climate change is driving increasing amounts of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean, which will lead to increased freshwater moving into the North Atlantic Ocean, which could disrupt ocean currents and affect temperatures in northern Europe.

Carolyn Gibson stands in the middle of a collapse scar representing wet, degrading permafrost in the Arctic

Alaska is getting wetter. That’s bad news for permafrost and the climate

July 24, 2020

Alaska is getting wetter. A new study spells out what that means for the permafrost that underlies about 85% of the state, and the consequences for Earth’s global climate.

Rainbow visible over Lake Oroville from the top of Oroville Dam in Butte County California.

Researchers find that heavy snowmelt plus usually warm temperatures amped up Oroville Dam incident

July 23, 2020

In February 2017, failures in the spillways of Oroville Dam forced the evacuation of 188,000 people and caused $1 billion in damage repairs. According to scientists, including INSTAARs Keith Musselman, Leanne Lestak, and Noah Molotch, a warmer climate might create more dangerous events like this.

Flames burn in the foreground as smoke eddies through treetops in the background during a wildfire in the Irkutsk region of Russia.

Rapid Arctic meltdown in Siberia alarms scientists (Washington Post)

July 3, 2020

Merritt Turetsky is quoted in a Washington Post story on the record-setting heat wave across Siberia that is leading to massive wildfires and permafrost melt.

Penguin on ice floe

The South Pole feels Pacific heat

June 29, 2020

In a "news and views" piece in Nature Climate Change, INSTAAR Sharon Stammerjohn and CIRES researcher Ted Scambos spell out the evidence and consequences of rapid warming at the South Pole and call for action to “flatten the curve” of global carbon emissions.

The American buildings of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station are stark black boxes on a white snowy ground. Photo by Vicki Beaver/Alamy.

Even the South Pole is warming, and quickly, scientists say (New York Times)

June 29, 2020

Surface air temperatures at the bottom of the world have risen three times faster than the global average since the 1990s. Sharon Stammerjohn (INSTAAR) and Ted Scambos (NSIDC) are quoted about their commentary in Nature Climate Change.

Close view of permafrost soil, covered in mosses and puddles.

Why a ‘feverish’ Arctic will affect everyone on the globe (PBS News Hour)

June 26, 2020

A historic heat wave is occurring in the Arctic, already the fastest-warming place on Earth due to the increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases. Dr. Merritt Turetsky has studied the Arctic for decades. She joins William Brangham on PBS NewsHour to discuss causes and consequences of the Arctic's rising temperatures.