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“Two Degrees” cast digs deep into Boulder ice-core research

The cast and creative team from the DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming world premiere play Two Degrees took a recent field trip to Boulder and learned about climate change and a whole lot more from Bruce Vaughn and the rest of the Stable Isotope Lab.

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Coal mine dust hastens Arctic snow melt

Dust released by an active coal mine in Svalbard, Norway, reduced the spectral reflectance of nearby snow and ice by up to 84 percent, according to new research led by NSIDC postdoc and former INSTAAR doctoral student Alia Khan. The study illustrates the significant, localized role that dark-colored particulates—which absorb more solar radiation than light-colored snow and keep more heat closer to the Earth’s surface—can play in hastening Arctic ice melt. The study was published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

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January storms erase part of California’s snowpack deficit

Recent storms that have buried the Sierra Nevada in snow have taken a big bite out of the state’s five-year snowpack deficit, according to CU Boulder researchers; LA Times story.

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Townsend returns to CU Boulder, joins Research & Innovation Office

Alan Townsend returns to the University of Colorado Boulder as the associate vice chancellor for research and professor of environmental studies after serving as dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and professor of ecosystem ecology.

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Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna

New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change. A team of researchers from Monash University in Victoria, Australia, and INSTAAR used information from a sediment core drilled in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southwest Australia to help reconstruct past climate and ecosystems on the continent. The sediment core allowed scientists to look back in time, in this case more than 150,000 years, spanning Earth’s last full glacial cycle. Fungal spores from plant-eating mammal dung were abundant in the sediment core layers from 150,000 years ago to about 45,000 years ago, when they went into a nosedive.

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Hazier days in the high country, Western U.S. due to drought and forest fires, scientists find

The climate shift favoring droughts and more wildfires in the Western United States is leading to hazier days with reduced visibility in the high country, according to government-backed scientists from the universities of Colorado and Utah.

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