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Ancient plant DNA and pollen found under Baffin Island lake show a greener Arctic

The white snowy landscape of the Arctic was greener more than 100,000 years ago and could get there again as the climate warms and plants migrate further north, new research suggests. Plant DNA taken from soil 10 meters below a lake near Clyde River shows dwarf birch shrubs used to grow up to the northernmost point of Baffin Island, according to research led by Sarah Crump, published in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. The samples, more than 100,000 years old, were found in soil and were more intact than samples from permafrost, suggesting they may have remained unfrozen.

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Despite pandemic shutdowns, carbon dioxide and methane surged in 2020

Levels of the two most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, continued their unrelenting rise in 2020 despite the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic response, NOAA announced today. Carbon dioxide levels are now higher than at anytime in the past 3.6 million years. The article mentions the analyses done in INSTAAR's Stable Isotope Lab.

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Increased winter snowmelt threatens western water resources

More snow is melting during winter across the West, a concerning trend that could impact everything from ski conditions to fire danger and agriculture, according to a new CU Boulder analysis of 40 years of data, led by Keith Musselman.

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Arctic was once lush and green, could be again, new research shows

Imagine not a white, but a green Arctic, with woody shrubs as far north as the Canadian coast of the Arctic Ocean. This is what the northernmost region of North America looked like about 125,000 years ago, during the last interglacial period, finds new research from CU Boulder led by Sarah Crump. Researchers analyzed plant DNA more than 100,000 years old retrieved from lake sediment in the Arctic and found evidence of a past ecosystem. As the Arctic warms much faster than everywhere else on the planet in response to climate change, the findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may not only be a glimpse of the past but a snapshot of our potential future.

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Holly Barnard wins Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence Award

The Boulder Faculty Assembly has awarded INSTAAR Fellow Holly Barnard an Excellence Award for leadership and service.

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Finding “glocal” solutions to flooding problems

Scientists call for joint efforts to combine real-time global rainfall data with high-resolution local hydrology to better forecast floods.

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