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Working on Niwot Ridge

In these videos, travel with researchers to Niwot Ridge, where they look at how climate change is affecting alpine ecology and the snowpack that gives much of the American Southwest its water supply. Put on a coat, because sometimes you run into blizzard conditions...

Niwot Ridge is a research site 22 miles (35 km) west of Boulder, Colorado. The entire site is above 9800 feet (3000 m) elevation. Scientists and students can study the environment, climate, and biota of a cirque glacier, extensive alpine tundra, a variety of glacial landforms, glacial lakes and moraines, cirques and talus slopes, patterned ground, and permafrost. The research area is bounded on the west by the Continental Divide. Niwot Ridge is part of the Roosevelt National Forest and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO) and an Experimental Ecology Reserve (USDA Forest Service). Parts of it lie in the Boulder Creek watershed and are closed to the public.

Meteorological data have been collected since 1953 from a network of stations ranging in elevation from 2591 to 3743 m. The record for atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on Niwot Ridge is among the longest for continental North America.