News & Events

Research Theme: Oceans

News

Muddy waters: First mapping of Greenland sedimentation rates shows a turbulent system

Muddy waters: First mapping of Greenland sedimentation rates shows a turbulent system

A 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.

Read the Full Story >

Check out INSTAAR’s most talked-about recent research

As 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.

Read the Full Story >

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 >

Submit papers for AAAR journal’s special issue about West Greenland environments

Submit papers for AAAR journal’s special issue about West Greenland environments

Arctic, 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”

Read the Full Story >

Geological Society of America awards John Andrews the Penrose Medal

INSTAAR 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.

Read the Full Story >

Less ice, more water: New research shows parts of Arctic Ocean rapidly shifting conditions

Less ice, more water: New research shows parts of Arctic Ocean rapidly shifting conditions

By 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.

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 >

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 >

Ice-free Arctic Ocean may have amped up temperatures during the Pliocene

Ice-free Arctic Ocean may have amped up temperatures during the Pliocene

A 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.

Read the Full Story >

World’s melting glaciers making large contribution to sea rise

World’s melting glaciers making large contribution to sea rise

While 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.

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 study ties warm North Atlantic water to heating Arctic

New study ties warm North Atlantic water to heating Arctic

North 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.

Read the Full Story >

James Syvitski elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

James Syvitski elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

James 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.

Read the Full Story >

Brighter sun may cool the tropical Pacific Ocean

A 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.

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 >

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 >

James Syvitski to receive the Royal Society of Canada’s A.G. Huntsman Medal

James Syvitski to receive the Royal Society of Canada’s A.G. Huntsman Medal

James 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.

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 >

Global sea-level rise may be lower than predicted

Tad 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.

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 >

Glaciers and ice caps to dominate sea-level rise through 21st century

Mark 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.

Read the Full Story >

John Andrews chosen for GSA Distinguished Career Award

John 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.

Read the Full Story >

Atmospheric CO2 pulses at the end of last ice age originated from the deep ocean

Tom 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."

Read the Full Story >

Glaciers adding more to global sea-level rise than ice sheets

Research 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.

Read the Full Story >

First ship-borne measurements of ozone fluxes to the ocean

First ship-borne measurements of ozone fluxes to the ocean

Members of INSTAAR's Atmospheric Resarch Lab have worked with colleagues to obtain the first ship-borne direct measurements of ozone fluxes to the ocean.

Read the Full Story >

No pervasive Holocene ice-rafted debris (IRD) signal in northern North Atlantic?

John 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).

Read the Full Story >

Earth’s past suggests polar melting may raise sea level sooner than expected

Gifford 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.

Read the Full Story >

Ozone and the Oceans

Shelly 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.

Read the Full Story >

New marine substrates database for U.S. Atlantic continental margin

Chris 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.

Read the Full Story >

Millenial-scale changes in Pacific surface temperature, Patagonian ice extent studied

Joe 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.

Read the Full Story >

INSTAAR grad student visits Japan with NSF EAPSI program

INSTAAR 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.

Read the Full Story >

Long-term North Atlantic oceanographic variability and solar forcing

John Andrews led a six-person team to reconstruct a high-resolution paleoceanographic history off North Iceland for the past 12,000 years.

Read the Full Story >

Postglacial flooding of the Bering Land Bridge: An animation

William 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.

Read the Full Story >

Abrupt changes in Asian monsoon over last 11,000 years linked to North Atlantic climate

Anil 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).

Read the Full Story >

John Andrews honored with special sessions at Geological Society of America Annual Meeting

The 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."

Read the Full Story >

Sea-level changes: How Alaska affects the world

Mark 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.

Read the Full Story >

Ice Age rearrangement of ocean pH

David 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.

Read the Full Story >

Global sea levels likely to rise higher in 21st century than previously predicted

Mark 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.

Read the Full Story >

Artifacts in Alaskan cave shed new light on first human migrations into the New World

Artifacts in Alaskan cave shed new light on first human migrations into the New World

Archaeological 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.

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 >

Vikings set sail from the Smithsonian

Astrid Ogilvie participated in a Smithsonian traveling exhibition on Viking exploration.

Read the Full Story >

In The News

Scientists mapping Greenland have produced some surprising–and worrying–results

Washington Post story on two new studies of Greenland that have used sophisticated technologies to map the full measure of Greenland's rapidly changing ice, sediment, topography, and potential contribution to sea level rise.

Visit Link >

Research to study the future of coastal communities

Researchers from UNCW, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Georgia, The Ohio State University, East Carolina University and the University of Colorado, including Eric Hutton from INSTAAR, have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate ways public policies will affect both economic decisions and the coastal environment. The researchers will create and investigate computer modeled coastal communities similar to those found along U.S. East and Gulf Coast barrier islands.

Visit Link >

NSF awards $13 million for research on how humans, environment interact

Although deltas make up just 1 percent of the world's land, they're home to more than half a billion people -- and host both fertile ecosystems and economic hotspots. Scientists have found that deltas are disappearing at an increasing rate, however, affecting humans and other species. INSTAAR scientist Kimberly Rogers studies changing deltas and is one of nine recipients of grants made in 2017 by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program, which supports research that examines the complex interactions between human and natural systems.

Visit Link >

A river of ice: Scientists study Greenland’s role in sea level rise

Der Spiegel follows Bruce Vaughn to the East Greenland Ice Core Project (EGRIP) to understand the accelerating melting of Greenland's ice cap and its connection with sea level change.

Visit Link >

CU Boulder scientists plan to bring fears of “nuclear winter” into focus

Colorado Public Radio interviews lead scientists Brian Toon and Cheryl Harrison about their new study evaluating the human and environmental impacts of potential nuclear wars.

Visit Link >

CU Boulder researcher seeks to extend understanding of nuclear winter

Brian Toon has explored the impacts of ultimate weapons since 1980s. A new study with CU Boulder and Rutgers University researchers calculates the impacts of potential nuclear war scenarios on humans and the environment using new scientific tools.

Visit Link >

Events

Monday Seminar: Losing breath: The future of ocean oxygen

Monday, November 27th at 12:15pm

SEEC room S228 (Sievers room), 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder

Monday Seminar: Studies of Late Quaternary in the variations of glacial marine sediment provenance

Monday, December 4th at 12:00pm

SEEC room S228 (Sievers room), 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder

View all INSTAAR Oceans science and research >