News & Events

Research Theme: Land Surface

News

Season of intense melting in Antarctica offers insights into continent’s future

A single season of intense melting that affected Antarctica between 2001 and 2002 offers new insights into the southernmost continent's ecological future and the potential impact of climate change worldwide, according to observations collected in a series of papers and published in the journal BioScience.

Read the Full Story >

INSTAAR at AGU: Talks, posters, and sessions at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting

INSTAAR faculty and graduate students will share new research at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco, 15 to 19 December. They will present new research on abrupt climate change, air quality and fracking, polar climate change, atmospheric chemistry, flood impacts, forests and snow, plants and soils, and past climates.

Read the Full Story >

Sustainable Deltas 2015 launches in Rotterdam

Sustainable Deltas 2015 launches in Rotterdam

A unique initiative, Sustainable Deltas 2015 (SD2015), launched today at the Deltas in Times of Climate Change II International Conference in Rotterdam. The aim of the initiative is to focus attention and research on the value and vulnerability of deltas worldwide, and enhance international and regional cooperation among scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders.

Read the Full Story >

CWEST: A new partnership between CU and the USGS pushes collaboration, houses Hydro Sciences program

INSTAAR is pleased to announce the establishment of the Center for Water, Earth Science, and Technology (CWEST), which will promote increased collaboration between researchers at the University of Colorado–Boulder and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Read the Full Story >

“Wicked problems” to be subject of symposium on coupled human–natural systems

Patrick Bourgeron and Jelena Vukomanovic will convene a special symposium on “wicked problems” in coupled human and natural systems at the 2014 US-IALE Annual Symposium in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 21.

Read the Full Story >

INSTAAR at AGU: Talks, posters, and sessions at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting

INSTAAR faculty and graduate students will share their research at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting (http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2013/) held in San Francisco, 9 to 13 December. They will present new research on abrupt climate change, atmospheric chemistry, geomorphology, rivers and oceans, forests and snow, plants and soils, past climates, flood monitoring, Antarctic volcanoes, coastal erosion, and emissions from energy production.

Read the Full Story >

INSTAAR-mentored high school student wins Regional Special Award at Intel Science Fair

INSTAAR-mentored high school student wins Regional Special Award at Intel Science Fair

High school junior Monro Obenauer won a special award from the Colorado Geological Survey at last month's prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Mentored by INSTAAR grad student Stephanie Higgins, Obenauer's research was on eroding islands in Bangladesh.

Read the Full Story >

New geomorphology textbook gets rave reviews

New geomorphology textbook gets rave reviews

Bob and Suzanne Anderson have just published their textbook Geomorphology: The mechanics and chemistry of landscapes with Cambridge Press. The hefty tome represents a decade of work. Early reviews are glowing.

Read the Full Story >

INSTAAR-led study of Alaskan coastal retreat wins partnering award

INSTAAR-led study of Alaskan coastal retreat wins partnering award

Bob Anderson, Irina Overeem and Cameron Wobus led a research team that won the 2009 partnering award from the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP).

Read the Full Story >

Link discovered between carbon, nitrogen may provide new ways to mitigate pollution problems

Phil Taylor and Alan Townsend have discovered that global ratios of nitrogen and carbon in the environment are inexorably linked, a finding that may lead to new strategies to help mitigate regional problems ranging from contaminated waterways to human health. Their new study focused on the growing worldwide problem of nitrogen pollution.

Read the Full Story >

Portions of Arctic coastline eroding, no end in sight

Portions of Arctic coastline eroding, no end in sight

Researchers have found that the northern coastline of Alaska midway between Point Barrow and Prudhoe Bay is eroding by 30 to 45 feet a year because of a "triple whammy" of declining sea ice, warming seawater and increased wave activity. The 12-foot-high bluffs topple into the Beaufort Sea during the summer months, where the coastal seawater melts them in a matter of days, sweeping the silty material out to sea.

Read the Full Story >

World’s river deltas sinking due to human activity

James Syvitski, Albert Kettner, Irina Overeem, Eric Hutton and Mark Hannon, along with colleagues from six other institutions, have shown that most of the world's low-lying river deltas are sinking from human activity, making them increasingly vulnerable to flooding from rivers and ocean storms and putting tens of millions of people at risk.

Read the Full Story >

New supercomputer for earth modeling research

New supercomputer for earth modeling research

James Syvitski led the effort to install a new supercomputer at INSTAAR that will vastly extend the ability of scientists across the globe to model and predict many important aspects of Earth's surface processes, from glacial melting and flooding to coastal erosion and tropical ocean storms. The new computer cluster is the heart of the NSF-funded Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS).

Read the Full Story >

Video of Alaska’s eroding Arctic coast

Andy Revkin has posted a time-lapse video of Alaska’s rapidly eroding Arctic coast by INSTAAR and USGS researchers on his New York Times Dot Earth Blog.

Read the Full Story >

Formation of deep fjords simpler than previously thought

Researchers used a numerical model of ice-sheet behavior to discover that a single feedback loop explains a long-standing geomorphic enigma: why do fjords often extend to depths well below sea level and cut deeply into continental edges?

Read the Full Story >

Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory established

A University of Colorado team led by INSTAAR Suzanne Anderson was awarded funding by the National Science Foundation for a five-year project to establish a Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) in the Boulder Creek Watershed.

Read the Full Story >

James Syvitski to lead new NSF earth-surface modeling effort

Syvitski will be the executive director of a new NSF initiative, the Community Surface Dynamic Modeling System (CSDMS), which will study how landscapes and seascapes change over time, and how materials like water, sediments and nutrients are transported from one place to another. These studies will allow better predictions about areas at risk to phenomena like deforestation, forest fires, land-use changes and the impacts of climate change.

Read the Full Story >

Anderson, Andrews elected fellows of the American Geophysical Union

Anderson, Andrews elected fellows of the American Geophysical Union

Robert S. Anderson was elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union for “fundamental and pioneering contributions in quantitative geomorphology, geochronology, hydrology and glaciology." Fellowship is bestowed on only 0.1% of the total AGU membership of about 35,000 in any given year and recognizes scientists who have attained acknowledged eminence in the geophysical sciences.

Read the Full Story >

Gifford Miller: Recipient of the 2005 Easterbrook Distinguished Scientist Award

Gifford Miller received the Easterbrook Distinguished Scientist Award at the Geological Society of America's (GSA) 2005 annual meeting.

Read the Full Story >

Wildfire erosion effects will show in reservoirs, ecosystems

At least three reservoirs likely will be contaminated by erosion in areas burned by this season's record wildfires, according to INSTAAR research assistant and graduate student John Gartner.

Read the Full Story >

Science team studying environmental problems on Alaska’s North Slope

James Syvitski, William Manley, Mark Dyurgerov, and Scott Peckham are participating in an extensive research project "Alaska North Slope Climate Impact Assessment." Led by CU-Boulder's Amanda Lynch, the project is designed to better understand, support and enhance local decision-making processes in the face of climate variability and potential environmental disasters.

Read the Full Story >

High school student with INSTAAR mentor wins science fair

High school student Evan Burgess won the 2001 Colorado State Science Fair (Senior division) for his study of glacier moraines using a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Read the Full Story >

In The News

Long-term ecological study to continue at very special site, Niwot Ridge

Thanks to a $6.8 million renewal grant to CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) from the National Science Foundation (NSF), research at the Niwot Ridge study area – one of NSF’s 25 Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites in North America – will continue for another six years.

Visit Link >

Colorado Mountain College hosts Breckenridge geological history lecture Nov. 16

Robert S. Anderson, whose research interests include the mechanics of landscape evolution, modeling of landform development and glaciology, will deliver his talk, titled “Mountains, Gold and Glaciers,” about how glaciers carved the mountains in the region and produced sediment and gold to the rivers below.

Visit Link >

Lessons from underwater Miami

“If one wants to see evidence of a higher sea, downtown Miami is a good place,” said Daniel Muhs, a United States Geological Survey geologist who has studied limestone from the Eemian Interglacial Period laid down under a shallow sea that is now an outcropping in downtown Miami. Back then, the sea was 20 to 30 feet higher than it is today. For that reason, what happened during the Eemian has drawn intense interest from geologists and climate scientists who have tried to resolve the period’s central mystery: How could temperatures so similar to today’s cause the sea to rise so high? And what does it mean for our own future in a warming climate caused by the burning of fossil fuels?

Visit Link >

EGU Image of The Week: The ice your eyes can’t see!

Around a quarter of the land in the Northern hemisphere remains frozen year round, making up an important part of the cryosphere known as permafrost. Permafrost areas store a huge amount of carbon, around twice as much as currently exists in the atmosphere. As the global climate warms these frozen areas of ground begin to thaw, and the trapped carbon is released into the atmosphere in the form of CO2 and methane – both greenhouse gases. A new study by Jafarov and Schaefer, published last month in The Cryosphere, has improved the way frozen organic carbon is represented and simulated in the computer models. This is a step closer to better understanding permafrost carbon release and the factors that effect it.

Visit Link >

World’s large river deltas continue to degrade from human activity

James Syvitski said more than two-thirds of the the world’s 33 major deltas are sinking and the vast majority of those have experienced flooding in recent years, primarily a result of human activity. Some 500 million people live on river deltas around the world, a number that continues to climb as the population increases. From the Yellow River in China to the Mississippi River in Louisiana, researchers are racing to better understand and mitigate the degradation of some of the world’s most important river deltas.

Visit Link >

How climate change is making mountaineering more dangerous

In July 2011, Arnaud Temme and three friends were climbing the Rottalgrat, a tough route on the west side of the Jungfrau in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland, when rocks began to rain down from above. Temme and his team eventually completed the route unharmed. But the climbers noticed that their guidebook, which was a decade old, described the route as relatively safe with only minor rockfall danger. “But the more recent guidebook, which we didn’t have, said to stay away from this route because of very high rockfall danger,” Temme says. The disparity struck Temme, and served as the impetus for Temme’s three-year study into the effects of climate change on alpine climbing danger, the results of which were recently published in Geografiska Annaler.

Visit Link >

Events

PhD thesis defense: Eric Winchell

Friday, April 7th at 9:00am

Benson room 380

View all INSTAAR Land Surface science and research >