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Concerns about air quality in Boulder County

KGNU’s Maeve Conran speaks with INSTAAR atmospheric chemist Detlev Helmig, who has been monitoring air quality at the Boulder Reservoir for 3 years. Helmig will participate in a panel at History Colorado in Denver, where a group of researchers, policy experts and public health advocates met to discuss the connection between air quality, climate and public health. Another panel will convene in Longmont later in the day to specifically discuss air quality in Boulder County. Helmig's research shows the source of emissions as natural, urban, or the result of oil and gas development.

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We can’t recall the planet if we mess up: Climate change is risky business

Editorial: If we handled climate risk the way that businesses manage risk every day, we would have tackled climate change a long, long time ago. But that’s not how we as a society are responding — even though the potential consequences are a lot worse than most business risks.

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The chemists policing Earth’s atmosphere for rogue pollution

A Nature news feature on the researchers who track down mysterious sources of ozone-destroying chemicals in China and guard the planet against future illicit emissions. MRS technician Jen Morse is featured.

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Meteorite or volcano? New clues to the dinosaurs’ demise

Twin calamities marked the end of the Cretaceous period, and scientists (including INSTAAR Julio Sepulvéda) are presenting new evidence of which drove one of Earth’s great extinctions in this New York Times story.

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Volcanic gas bursts probably didn’t kill off the dinosaurs

Massive gas bursts emitted by volcanoes about 66 million years ago probably couldn’t have caused a mass extinction event that spelled doom for all nonbird dinosaurs, suggests a new study. Data on ancient temperatures, combined with simulations of the shifting carbon cycle in the ocean, lend support to the hypothesis that a giant asteroid impact—not toxic gases emitted by Deccan Traps eruption—was primarily responsible for the die-off. The study, which included INSTAAR Julio Sepulvéda among its authors, was published January 17 in Science.

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Fed by human-caused erosion, many river deltas are growing

Deforestation and river damming are changing the shape of these landforms around the globe, finds a new study. The authors, including INSTAAR Albert Kettner, examined 10,848 deltas to quantify humans’ impact. Three primary forces shape deltas: rivers delivering sediment; tides pushing or pulling sediment; and waves redistributing sediment along the coast. Humans exert a lot of control over how much sediment a river carries: While deforestation feeds the flow of soil, dams plug it up.

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