March 12th, 2019Marine microorganisms in the Southern Ocean may find themselves in a deadly vise grip by century’s end as ocean acidification creates a shallower horizon for life, new INSTAAR-led research finds. The modeling study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, forecasts that at current carbon dioxide emission rates, the depth at which some shelled organisms can survive will shrink from an average of 1,000 meters today to just 83 meters by the year 2100, a drastic reduction in viable habitat. The steep drop, which could happen suddenly over a period as short as one year in localized areas, could impact marine food webs significantly and lead to cascading changes across ocean ecosystems, including disruptions of vital global fisheries.
December 4th, 2017Julio Sepúlveda is a unique fossil-hunter. Rather than the hard exoskeletons of ancient organisms, Sepúlveda analyzes a softer biological component, fats. He looks at the distribution of organic molecules in nature from soils and sediments to lakes and the ocean, with a focus mostly on lipids, the molecular constituent of fat. He uses this data to not only reconstruct ancient environments but also to contribute to predictions for how our current climate might respond to similar environmental conditions.
October 16th, 2017A new study has measured the sediment carried by Greenland’s rivers to the ocean, with implications for marine ecosystems, carbon in the ocean, and dynamics of the coastal zone. Led by INSTAAR researchers and published today in Nature Geoscience, the study is the first to quantify in detail the concentrations of sediment in rivers flowing from Greenland to the sea.
January 17th, 2017As part of the new year, we took a look at the most talked-about INSTAAR papers in recent months. An Altmetric search showed the top 10 papers with INSTAAR authors that have figured most prominently in the news and in social media conversations.
October 13th, 2016A 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.
August 12th, 2016Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research (AAAR) has announced a Call for Papers for a special issue to be published in 2017: “Environmental Change and Impacts in the Kangerlussuaq Area, West Greenland”
August 9th, 2016INSTAAR Fellow John Andrews has been awarded the Penrose Medal, the highest honor from the Geological Society of America, for his original contributions to the science of geology.
November 2nd, 2015By the 2050s, parts of the Arctic Ocean once covered by sea ice much of the year will see at least 60 days a year of open water, according to a new modeling study led by Katy Barnhart of INSTAAR. Barnhart and her colleagues, including CIRES Fellow Jennifer Kay and INSTAAR Fellow Irina Overeem, set out to investigate the very local impacts of open water expansion patterns in the Arctic. Their work is published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. The researchers used climate model simulations from the National Center for Atmospheric Research-based Community Earth System Model to see how the number of open water, or sea-ice-free, days change from 1850 to 2100 in our planet’s northernmost ocean. They also wanted to understand when open water conditions in specific locations would be completely different from preindustrial conditions.
December 15th, 2014INSTAAR 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.
September 25th, 2014A 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.
December 5th, 2013INSTAAR 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.
July 31st, 2013A new study involving Giff Miller, Jim White, and former students and postdocs suggests that an ice-free Arctic Ocean may have amped up temperatures during the Pliocene Epoch. Year-round ice-free conditions across the Arctic Ocean could explain why the Earth was substantially warmer during the Pliocene Epoch than it is today, despite similar concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to the research published online in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
May 16th, 2013While 99 percent of Earth’s land ice is locked up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the remaining ice in the world’s glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving INSTAAR Fellow Tad Pfeffer.
April 20th, 2013High 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.
January 7th, 2011North Atlantic water flowing into the Arctic Ocean is warmer than it has been in at least 2,000 years, which is likely amplifying global warming in the Arctic, says a new international study involving INSTAAR fellow Tom Marchitto. The team believes that the rapid warming of the Arctic and recent decrease in sea ice extent are tied to the enhanced heat transfer from the North Atlantic Ocean.
December 20th, 2010James Syvitski was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for "bringing new insights to the disciplines of oceanography, river and fjord processes, and sediment transport". Fellowship is bestowed on less than 0.1% of the total AGU membership of about 58,000 in any given year and recognizes scientists who have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences.
November 10th, 2010A research team led by Tom Marchitto has found evidence supporting an important role for the Sun in regional-scale climate variability. They found that slow variations in solar output have nudged the circulation of the tropical Pacific Ocean toward states resembling El Niño and La Niña.
July 10th, 2010Bob Anderson, Irina Overeem and Cameron Wobus led a research team that won the 2009 partnering award from the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP).
December 1st, 2009Researchers 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.
October 15th, 2009James Syvitski has been awarded one of the top honors in oceanography, the Royal Society of Canada's A.G. Huntsman Medal, as presented by the President of the Academy of Science.
February 4th, 2009James 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).
September 26th, 2008Andy 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.
September 4th, 2008Tad Pfeffer and colleagues Joel Harper (U of Montana) and Shad O'Neel (Scripps UCSD, former INSTAAR) have calculated that global sea level rise by the end of this century will be less than six feet.
May 15th, 2008Researchers 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?
July 19th, 2007Mark Meier led a team of INSTAAR and Russian scientists who found that Earth's mountain glaciers and small ice caps are contributing more to global sea-level rise than previously anticipated--more than the massive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets combined.
July 10th, 2007John Andrews has been chosen to receive the Distinguished Career Award with the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America for his legacy in Quaternary geology and geomorphology.
June 1st, 2007Tom Marchitto, Scott Lehman, Jaqueline Flückiger, and colleagues have identified a mechanism for the enormous carbon dioxide increase in Earth's atmosphere at the end of the last ice age: abrupt changes in deep ocean circulation. The team analyzed sediment cores from the North Pacific, discovering two large CO2 "burps."
December 18th, 2006Research by INSTAAR scientists shows that small glaciers and ice caps have been contributing more to rising sea levels in recent years than the large Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
November 6th, 2006Members of INSTAAR's Atmospheric Resarch Lab have worked with colleagues to obtain the first ship-borne direct measurements of ozone fluxes to the ocean.
September 10th, 2006John Andrews, Anne Jennings, and colleagues have assembled marine core records of ice-rafted debris (IRD) off North Iceland, East Greenland, and Labrador that are at odds with an earlier and oft-cited study showing a pervasive ~1.5 thousand year periodicity of IRD delivery during the Holocene (last ~11,400 years).
March 25th, 2006Gifford Miller was a member of two research teams that combined paleoclimate evidence from the Last Interglacial period with climate and ice sheet modeling to infer that Earth's warming temperatures are on track to melt the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets sooner than previously thought and ultimately lead to a global sea level rise of at least 20 feet.
October 15th, 2005Shelly Sommer created a poster display for the Discovery Science Center, a hands-on science center in Fort Collins, that describes a project, led by Detlev Helmig, to measure ozone fluxes over the oceans.
September 29th, 2005Chris Jenkins and colleagues at the USGS released the first regional coverage of the usSEABED database, a large compilation of samples data on marine substrates for the US Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles out from the coast), for the Atlantic margin.
June 27th, 2004Joe Stoner participated in a German-led study of marine sediments from the Chilean continental margin that show a clear "Antarctic" timing of sea surface temperature changes.
June 1st, 2004INSTAAR graduate student Jocelyn Turnbull spent 8 weeks in Japan working on a carbon cycle research project with the greenhouse gas group at Tohoku University in Sendai.
September 8th, 2003John Andrews led a six-person team to reconstruct a high-resolution paleoceanographic history off North Iceland for the past 12,000 years.
May 3rd, 2003William Manley used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to create a movie showing how the Bering Land Bridge evolved after the Last Glacial Maximum, about 21,000 years ago.
January 24th, 2003Anil Gupta (Indian Institute of Technology), David Anderson (INSTAAR & NOAA Paleoclimatology), and Jonathan Overpeck (U of Arizona) developed a new centennial-scale proxy record of the southwestern monsoon winds spanning the Holocene period (last ~11,000 years).
November 1st, 2002The Geological Society of America honored John Andrews' tremendous impact on the Quaternary sciences at the annual meeting with two special sessions entitled "Quaternary Sciences from Land to Sea: In Honor of John T. Andrews."
July 22nd, 2002Mark Meier and Mark Dyurgerov have written a commentary for Science magazine that discusses the contributions of glacier melting in Alaska to global sea level rise.
March 10th, 2002David Anderson and David Archer (Univ Chicago) have reconstructed carbonate-ion concentration—and hence pH—of the glacial oceans, using the extent of calcium carbonate dissolution observed in foraminifer faunal assemblages.
February 16th, 2002Mark Meier and Mark Dyurgerov calculate that global sea levels likely will rise more by the end of this century than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001.
December 9th, 2001Archaeological investigations at site 49-PET-408 provide new insights into the character and timing of the first human migrations into the New World. Excavations and analysis are being conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers including Native peoples and federal resource managers, led by INSTAAR Fellow E. James Dixon. The analyses reveal that humans were using marine resources and transporting exotic types of stone throughout the region 9,200 years ago.
November 7th, 2001James 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.
April 15th, 2001Astrid Ogilvie participated in a Smithsonian traveling exhibition on Viking exploration.
In The News
July 30th, 2020New, first-of-its-kind research from CU Boulder shows that climate change is driving increasing amounts of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean. Within the next few decades, this will lead to increased freshwater moving into the North Atlantic Ocean, which could disrupt ocean currents and affect temperatures in northern Europe. The paper, authored by Alex Jahn and Rory Laiho and published in Geophysical Research Letters, examined the unexplained increase in Arctic freshwater over the past two decades and what these trends could mean for the future.
June 4th, 2020In recent decades, the oceans have been soaking up greater and greater amounts of carbon dioxide each year. We can’t count on that trend to continue forever, says a new study that includes Nikki Lovenduski.
May 1st, 2020CU Boulder researchers, led by PhD student Riley Brady and PI Nikki Lovenduski, have developed a method that could enable scientists to accurately forecast ocean acidity up to five years in advance. This would enable fisheries and communities that depend on seafood negatively affected by ocean acidification to adapt to changing conditions in real time, improving economic and food security in the next few decades. The new method, described today in Nature Communications, offers potential to forecast the acceleration or slowdown of ocean acidification.
March 18th, 2020The movement of sea ice between Arctic countries is expected to significantly increase this century, raising the risk of more widely transporting pollutants like microplastics and oil, according to new research from CU Boulder. “This means there is an increased potential for sea ice to quickly transport all kinds of materials with it, from algae to oil,” said Patricia DeRepentigny, doctoral candidate in the Department for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. “That's important to consider when putting together international laws to regulate what happens in the Arctic.”
February 5th, 2020A nuclear war, even a relatively contained conflict, wouldn’t just have devastating consequences for life on land. It could also take a toll on the oceans, according to recent research led by CU Boulder and Rutgers University. The new study, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, explores a previously unknown link: How a clash between modern nuclear powers might shift the chemistry of the world’s seas.
December 7th, 2019"We’ve already baked in 20 meters of sea level rise,” says James White, a University of Colorado scientist who has studied ancient climates to gain insights about the future. "The coast is toast."
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