Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

IRP Projects


Mapping brine firn aquifers in antarctic ice shelves from space

Investigators: Julie Miller, Kristy Tiampo

Exploiting medical-imaging signal-processing techniques to extract very weak signals for extending lidar detection range into space

Investigators: Xinzhao Chu, Gary W. S. Sutliff

Exploring a hybrid prediction (dynamical and machine learning models) system for developing a seasonal outlook for daily heat extremes

Investigators: Nachiketa Acharya

Wavering ways waves work: applying models, satellite observations, and field data to glacier ogive waves

Investigators: Theodore Scambos, Naomi Ochwat, Yoram Terleth (U. Idaho)

Measurements of volatile organic compounds released from the burning of structural materials

Investigators: Joost de Gouw

Low-cost deep ultraviolet cavity enhanced spectrometer

Investigators: Richard Marchbanks, Caroline Womack, Steven Brown

Development and evaluation of instrumentation to measure atmospheric microplastic concentration with uncrewed aerial system

Investigators: Radiance Calmer, Gijs de Boer, Dale Lawrence, Michael Rhodes, Alessandra D'Angelo

BioExtremes: the role of biodiversity in mangrove ecosystem response to extreme events

Investigators: Cibele Hummel do Amaral, Erick Verleye, Ty Tuff, Rodrigo Leite, Benjamin Poulter, Temilola Fatoyinbo

Impact of repeat fires on the regrowth carbon sink in western U.S. forest ecosystems

Investigators: Ginikanda Ilangakoon, Chelsea R. Nagy


An on-line source for the production and calibration of hydroxy nitrates of atmospheric importance

Investigators: Chelsea Stockwell

Interpretable scale-aware gravity wave parameterizations for the upper atmosphere of the earth

Investigators: Garima Malhotra, Tim Fuller-Rowell, Tzu-wei Fang

An innovative emulator to improve cloud-obscured satellite retrievals of chlorophyll

Investigators: Jennifer Kay, Nicole Lovenduski

Assessing sedimentation rates in reservoirs using a novel satellite-based method

Investigators: Fangfang Yao, Balaji Rajagopalan, Toby Minear

COVID-19 airborne transmission: extended analysis of outbreaks and improving infection risk monitoring

Investigators: Jose Luis Jimenez-Palacios, Zhe Peng

Photochemistry of fatty acids at environmentally relevant water surfaces

Investigators: Veronica Vaida, Alexandra Deal

Modifications to the ott pluvio2 precipitation gauge for year-round measurement of precipitation at remote locations in Antarctica

Investigators: Mark Seefeldt

Exploring controlled and wildfire machine learning fire radiative power modeling

Investigators: Christina Kumler

Novel approach to measure the volatility dependence of precursors in secondary organic aerosol formation potential using inexpensive polymer tubing

Investigators: Melissa Morris, Doug Day

Using smartphone magnetometers for space weather detection: developing tools for high latitude citizen scientists

Investigators: Richard Saltus, Manoj Nair


A small, fast-response, high-precision, mid-infrared spectroscopic instrument for atmospheric NO2, NOx and NOy

Investigators: Kristen Zuraski

Volcanic precursory signal detection with neural networks

Investigators: Anne Sheehan

How does bundling climate policies with economic and social policies affect voter support?

Investigators: Matt Burgess

Development of a novel method for aerosol chemical characterization

Investigators: Eleanor Browne

Antarctic-wide analysis of surface/near-surface melt on ice-shelves from 1979 to 2021 using microwave radiometer and scatterometer data

Investigators: Alison Banwell


Gas from fault zones during seismic and aseismic slip - ventilation or lubrication?

Investigators: Roger Bilham

Can Linear Inverse Models (LIMs) predict ocean biogeochemistry?

Investigators: Antonietta Capotondi, Nicole Lovenduski

Large Wave Warning System (LAWWS)

Investigators: Michael Willis

A novel low-cost sensor to measure snow depth, wetness, and water-equivalence with GPS, reflectometry, and radiative transfer models

Investigators: David Mencin, Michael MacFerrin

Ozone generators for CPAP cleansing are potentially harmful to human lungs

Investigators: Russell Schnell

Extent and hydrologic impacts of the 2019 avalanche cycle in the Elk Mountains, CO

Investigators: Jeffrey Deems, Gabriela Collao-Barrios

Dual-band radar interferometry for basin-scale mapping of snowpack water resources, wintertime mobility, and avalanche vulnerability

Investigators: Ryan Cassotto, Lincoln Pitcher

Analysis of atmospheric composition data from Changzhou, China, obtained during the COVID-19 outbreak

Investigators: Joost de Gouw

Wildfires as a source of airborne microbes

Investigators: Noah Fierer, Tristian Caro, Christine Wiedinmyer, Betsy Stone, Mike Hannigan


Soil temperature calibration and paleoaltimetry of the Tibetan Plateau

Investigators: Peter Molnar with Lina Pérez-Angel and international colleagues

Accelerometer-based turbulence profile sensors for low-cost determination of boundary layer height from small aircraft

Investigators: Kathryn McKain with Philip Handley and Isaac Vimont

Video In-Situ Snowfall Sensor (VISSS)

Investigators: Max Maahn with Matthew Shupe and Taneil Uttal

Assessing the potential of biometric sensors to measure engagement and learning in the classroom

Investigators: Jen Kay and Anne Gold with Ariel Morrison

Climate and infant mortality rates on tropical islands

Investigators: Kris Karnauskas

Development of a novel, dry ice-cooled, balloon-borne frost point hygrometer

Investigators: Dale Hurst with Emrys Hall and Allen Jordan

Is a global shift in plant water use efficiency underway? exploration of a potential new tool for detection of global ecological change with delta-13 of CO2

Investigators: Caroline Alden with John Miller, James White, Thomas Chase and Bruce Vaughn (Bharat Rastogi is presenting)


Do people or forests emit more monoterpenes? Detection of monoterpene emissions from volatile chemical products in urban areas

Investigators: Carsten Warneke, Brian McDonald, Matthew Coggon, Jessica Gilman

A terrestrial simulator of wildfire impacts on watersheds across the western U.S.

Investigators: Ben Livneh, Fernando Rosario-Ortiz

CMOPS: an optical particle sizer for coarse mode aerosols

Investigators: Hagen Telg, Allison McComiskey

Innovative approach to investigation of gas and aerosol emissions and oxidation products from volatile chemical products, consumer products, and human activity in indoor environments

Investigators: Jose Jimenez

New insights into sea ice processes through innovative use of new passive microwave remote sensing approaches

Investigators: Walt Meier, Mary Jo Brodzik

Quantifying the impact of water storage changes on earthquake seismicity from integrated satellite geodesy

Investigators: Kristy Tiampo, Steve Nerem

Demonstration of high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL) measurements of aerosols and clouds using a coherent doppler wind lidar.

Investigators: Sunil Baidar, Alan Brewer, Paul Schroeder


Map of the Sabana de Bogotá showing different locations containing pollen assemblages from previous studies

Pliocene temperatures from the tropics: the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia

Investigators: Lina Perez-Angel, Peter Molnar

Graduate student Lina Perez-Angel and CIRES Fellow Peter Molnar plan to make the first reliable, quantitative estimates of surface temperatures from the tropics for Pliocene time  (5.3-2.5 million years ago). This was the last time when global temperatures were similar to those expected for the late 21st Century, and when CO2 concentrations may have been as high as today's, about 400ppm. A recent summary of Pliocene temperatures included no sites within 10° of the equator; Perez-Angel and Molnar plan to fill that data gap. Their work will involve both fieldwork (collecting samples for calibration, for estimating Pliocene temperatures, and for dating) and laboratory analysis (two main techniques: a proxy that uses the distribution of soil bacterial branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers and cosmogenic burial dating through the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory). A by-product of this study may be constraints on the elevational history of the Eastern Cordillera, which has posed some challenges for geodynamicists.  

Ice landscape

Novel particulate aerosol sampling design capable of withstanding high winds in polar and high mountain regions

Investigators: Mark Serreze, Alia Khan

Measuring light absorbing impurities, such as dust, aerosol black carbon, and dark-colored bioaerosols, is critical for understanding the changing surface energy budget of our planet. Unfortunately, current passive dust samplers are bulky, incapable of withstanding high winds, and provide no mechanism to securely store compartmentalized dust samples. To overcome these challenges, CIRES/NSIDC Fellow Mark Serreze and NSIDC Postdoc Alia Khan will design, build, and test an improved, highly aerodynamic passive dust/aerosol sampler prototype to better enable the study of aerosols and impurities in the cryosphere. The instrument will be durable to withstand high winds, not freeze/ice-over at low temperatures, and will feature a multi-chamber system that will rotate automatically to enable multiple sample collection without the need to empty the chamber after each sample collection. In addition to enabling higher-resolution (temporal) sampling than previously possible, this project has the potential to lead to future larger grants that will support more robust sampling of aeolian dust, bioaerosols, and anthropogenic derived aerosols such as black carbon in both the atmosphere, and frozen surfaces (snow and ice). 

Composite image of landscape and data

Toward a more comprehensive picture of snowpack evolution through the integration of time-lapse photography, high-resolution snow modeling, lidar data, and in situ observations

Investigators: Jeffery Deems, Mark Raleigh

Lidar technology has been a vital component in understanding the spatial nature of snow depth, but unfortunately leaves gaps in the data collection of snowpack properties (even when high-resolution repeat lidar are combined with time-continuous spare point observations). To fill this gap, CIRES/NSIDC research scientist Jeffery Deems and CIRES/NSIDC Visiting Fellow Mark Raleigh propose to conduct a first-of-its-kind integration of snow properties derived from time-lapse photography and a state-of-the-art snowpack model, with airborne lidar and in situ data. This new technique will improve understanding of the space-time evolution of mountain snowpack. The team's proposed effort represents an exciting pathway towards low-cost but high-resolution monitoring and simulation of hydrologic processes in snow-dominated systems. This project is a nexus of emerging technological applications that will evolve into broader collaborations and capacities on campus and with external partners in the western United States and beyond. 

clouds in the atmosphere

Direct spectroscopic detection of tropospheric chlorine radicals

Investigators: Andrew Rollins, Joshua Schwarz

The extremely reactive chlorine radical contributes to many important chemical processes in the troposphere, including loss of ozone in the Arctic boundary layer, production of ozone in polluted regions, oxidation of mercury, removal of methane and other organic compounds, and formation and aging of secondary organic aerosols. To date, there has been no demonstrated direct method for quantifying the concentrations of these radicals. CIRES research scientist Andrew Rollins and NOAA research physicist Joshua Schwarz propose a unique method for solving this problem. Instead of estimating chlorine (Cl) radical concentration using measurements of other species (which might underestimate or overestimate Cl), the research team plans to build a prototype instrument that uses two photons to sequentially excite Cl from the ground state and then detects blue-shifted fluorescence on a zero background.  Such an instrument would help scientists directly verify the existence of this species, quantify its highly variable concentrations, and constrain the possibility of yet-unidentified chemistry. This would enable significant advances in the study of tropospheric reactive halogen processes, and help reveal anthropogenic changes to this region of the atmosphere.  

Ocean circulation map

Estimating temporal variations in ocean circulation using magnetic satellite data

Investigators: Manoj Nair, Neesha Schnepf

CIRES Fellow Manoj Nair and PhD candidate Neesha Schnepf will develop an innovative technique to measure ocean tides and currents using magnetic information. This study may provide the first satellite identification of temporal magnetic field variations caused by ocean currents. This would provide an innovative tool for oceanographic remote sensing, as well as further enable the integration of satellite, aircraft, and surface-based measurements, in conjunction with models and simulations of oceanic magnetic fields. The team, part of the Geomagnetic Group in NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, will focus on identifying signals from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), the Kuroshio Current (KC) and Arctic Ocean currents (likely to be under sea-ice), using data from both the Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) and Swarm satellite mission. Findings from this study promise to give scientists better tools for understanding how ocean currents are changing on a global scale. 

Western US coast sample

Combining satellite and acoustic remote sensing data with a numerical model to characterize the vertical structure of marine ecosystems

Investigators: Kristopher Karnauskas, Carrie Wall

Satellite data typically only provide information on the surface of the ocean, limiting the information available for study. CIRES Fellow Kristopher Karnauskas and CIRES research scientist Carrie Wall propose to improve this current measurement ability by merging subsurface water column sonar data and a high-resolution regional model experiment with satellite measurements to spur new insights into the physical drivers of ecological variability in coastal regions. The team's objective is to develop a new framework that characterizes the full three-dimensional structure of coastal marine ecosystems (e.g., the California Current System, CCS, of vital interest to the U.S. national economy), which may enable further investigations of the links between physical forcing and biological response. This work could lead to the creation of a conceptual model for biophysical interactions, as well as demonstrate a new way of applying satellite remote sensing of sea surface properties such as ocean color and oceanic fronts to describe the distribution of plankton in the CCS. This project will strive to improve upon the current state of coupled physical-ecosystem ocean models, while integrating knowledge of the links between marine biology, biogeochemistry, and physical oceanography. 

Shower sample kit

Citizen science, showerheads, and the ecology of an emerging disease

Investigators: Noah Fierer, Matt Gerbert

Nearly 200,000 individuals in the United States suffer from pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) disease. NTM infections are slow-progressing, chronic, often resistant to treatment, and have cost the United States over $1.7 billion per year in treatment costs. Unfortunately, it is not known why the disease is increasing in prevalence, why some regions have higher rates of NTM disease, and what can be done to reduce the risk of acquiring the disease. CIRES Fellow Noah Fierer and CIRES research associate Matt Gerbert are working to answer these questions. The team's work will focus on how the abundances and diversity of showerhead-associated mycobacteria vary regionally across the United States, and how exposures to pathogenic mycobacteria vary as a function of water chemistry, household water source, and showerhead characteristics. The team has designed a unique citizen-science-based study to investigate these questions. Thousands of U.S. households will receive showerhead swabbing kits to gather bacterial samples, which the research team will analyze to extract and sequence DNA to characterize bacterial taxa. This study will highlight the utility of combining a citizen scientist-based approach and cutting-edge microbial ecology methods to study an emerging infectious disease, as well as strengthen ties with collaborators at National Institutes of Health and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.


Nowcasting geoelectric hazard on U.S. power grid

Investigators: Anne Sheehan, Daniel Feucht

Intense solar activity can produce powerful geomagnetic storms that pose a significant risk to the electrical power grid infrastructure of North America. In extreme events, currents induced by these disturbances can cause blackouts and may even damage power grid infrastructure. CIRES Fellow Anne Sheehan (Geological Sciences), along with PhD candidate Daniel Feucht, and NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center research scientist Christopher Balch, will seek to determine if datasets of near-surface geologic and geophysical properties can reliably predict the hazards associated with geomagnetically induced electric currents. The team will use models of observed magnetic and electric time series from EarthScope and localized datasets in their research. Determining a readily available geologic proxy for geoelectric hazards will improve past models, and permit more accurate nowcasting of geomagnetically induced currents across the United States.

Application of computer vision to earth science problems: An initial application using 3D scene reconstruction and image velocimetry to estimate surface water velocities in rivers

Investigators: J. Toby Minear, Christoffer Heckman, Robert Anderson

Velocity is one of the more difficult measurements to collect in the Earth Sciences, particularly for processes that are fast-moving or dangerous, such as debris flows, snow avalanches, rock falls, and steep streams. Dr. J. Toby Minear of the CIRES Earth Science and Observation Center, along with Assistant Professor Christoffer Heckman (Autonomous Robotics and Perception Group, Department of Engineering) and Professor Robert Anderson (Department of Geological Sciences and INSTAAR), are teaming up to develop a new measurement technique. The team will use robotics-based computer vision algorithms and hardware to develop an inexpensive stereoscopic non-contact system to measure surface elevations and velocities that cannot be measured with traditional techniques. This project has the potential to greatly improve the ability to measure and monitor difficult and dangerous natural hazard phenomena. Initial testing and development of the system will investigate river surface water elevations and velocities on Boulder Creek and the South Platte River, near Denver, Colorado.


Discerning heat from melt from composition in the deep earth: exploring a new approach to measuring seismic attenuation

Investigators: Craig Jones

Is melt water responsible for new crevasses in Greenland’s interior?

Investigators: Lora Koenig and Michael MacFerrin

Heterogeneous photo-initiated chemistry of alkyl organics in the earth’s atmosphere

Investigators: Veronica Vaida

Are there diamonds in the sky? Detection of diamondoid and other large hydrocarbons in the atmosphere

Investigators: Carsten Warneke, Joost de Gouw, Brian Lerner, and Abigail Koss

HOVERCAT: A novel aerial system to evaluate aerosol chemistry and its Impacts on arctic clouds

Investigators: Jessie Creamean and Margaret Tolbert

Demonstration of a high-signal soft-ionization quantitative method for online aerosol mass spectrometry

Investigators: Jose-Luiz Jimenez

Investigating the ionospheric gravity and pressure gradient current systems with satellite magnetic measurements

Investigators: Henry Patrick Alken


Hydroacoustic monitoring of Antarctic ice shelf collapse

Investigators: Anne Sheehan, Justin Ball, Ted Scambos

A low-cost ocean current and temperature sensor for long-term deployment in polar ocean environments

Investigators: Mark Serreze, Glenn Grant, David Gallaher

Earth remote sensing using signals of opportunity

Investigators: R. Steven Nerem, Dallas Master

Global inventory of natural gas isotopic and chemical composition for improved atmospheric methane budgeting

Investigators: John Miller, Stefan Schwietzke, Owen Sherwood.

Modeling of scale-dependent stochastic magnetosphere-Ionosphere coupling processes

Investigators: Tomoko Matsuo, Debashis Paul.

Lidar profiling water temperature in the ocean: a promising new technology to explore the ocean submesoscale variability with mach-zehnder interferometer

Investigators: Wentao Huang, Xinzhao Chu, Ralph Milliff, John Smith.

Dynasonde tomography: probing atmosphere with acoustic gravity waves

Investigators: Oleg Godin, Nikolay Zabotin.

Network theory to understand cloud systems

Investigators: J Graham Feingold, Franziska Glassmeier.

Mapping avalanche starting zone snow depth with a ground-based LiDAR

Investigators: Jeffrey Deems, Richard Armstrong


Fast time-response detection of small alkanes from oil and natural gas extraction using mass spectrometry

Investigators: Carsten Warneke, Patrick Veres, Joost de Gouw

New theory of sound pulse scattering with applications to remote sensing of the atmosphere

Investigators: Vladimir Ostashev, Daniel Wolfe, Stuart Bradley (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Geocoronal hydrogen density estimates using solar absorption in the exosphere

Investigators: Janet Machol, Paul Loto'aniu

Modification of aerosol air/water interfaces due to aqueous and surface chemical reactions

Investigators: Barbara Ervens, Veronica Vaida

Development and evaluation of low cost, unmanned aircraft-based turbulent flux measurement techniques

Investigators: Gijs de Boer, Christopher Fairall, Dale Lawrence (Aerospace Engineering), Daniel Wolfe

Blowing in the wind: fiber optic temperature profiler measurements from drifting high altitude balloons

Investigators: Sean Davis, Russell Chadwick, Lars Kalnajs (LASP), Dale Hurst, Karen Rosenlof, Randy Collander (CIRA), Joan Alexander (NorthWest Research Associates)

Development of an unbiased method for identifying regulatory proteins bound to DNA in vivo: finding the needle in the haystack

Investigators: Shelley Copley, William Old

Bracketing northern hemisphere mid-tropospheric temperatures: relation to circulation indices

Investigators: Thomas Chase, Benjamin Herman (University of Arizona), Roger Pielke Sr


Developing laser-based technology that could track SO2 dispersal

Investigators: Andrew Rollins (CIRES, NOAA), Troy Thornberry (CIRES, NOAA), Ryan Neely (CIRES, NOAA, NCAR), Ru-Shan Gao (NOAA)

Anthropogenic SO2 emissions, which stem from combustion processes, are increasing rapidly in developing nations like China and India. Once in the atmosphere, SOsignificantly affects air quality and climate. The mechanisms that might rapidly transport SO2 molecules from Earth’s surface high into the atmosphere are not well understood and have been difficult to measure. Rollins and his colleagues have designed a small, sensitive, laser-based instrument that will use fluorescence to detect SO2 and they plan to demonstrate that the instrument could be operated on small, unmanned aircraft. This type of aircraft is ideal for measuring SO2 concentrations in the stratosphere, and investigators will use the gathered data to understand decadal climate variability and the movement of SO2 around the Earth.

India’s historical lakes could shed light on future climate patterns

Investigators: Balaji Rajagopalan (CIRES, CU Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering), Peter Molnar (CIRES, CU Department of Geological Sciences), Emily Gill (CIRES)

Northwestern India, which is currently a desert region, was speckled with lakes ~6000 years ago according to paleo-evidence. CIRES’ Balaji Rajagopalan and his colleagues will use computer models to reconstruct the paleo history of these extinct lakes – and they hope to gain insight on the region’s future climate, along the way. The lake reconstruction model will simulate the growth, sustenance, and demise of these historical lakes by manipulating the amounts of precipitation, evaporation, and runoff occurring across northwestern India. The lakes existed during the Holocene, 6,000 years ago, when northwestern India was warmer and wetter than it is today. Climate models project the region will be warmer and wetter in the future so new findings pertaining to India’s Holocene climate could shed light on future monsoon and precipitation patterns. Modeling the evolution of regional lakes will allow investigators to actually quantify differences between India’s present climate and Holocene climate.

Identifying tsunamis in real time with observations of magnetic fields

Investigators: Manoj Nair (CIRES), Stefan Maus (CIRES), Patrick Alken (CIRES), Neesha Schnepf (MIT), Arnauld Chulliat (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris)

Scientists have placed observatories throughout the Pacific Ocean to measure the Earth’s magnetic field. Ocean water also produces magnetic fields, weaker than Earth’s, but detectable with recently improved technologies. Manoj Nair and his team suspect they can learn to detect tsunami-related magnetic signals in oceans, which are often masked by small fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field. With support from a CIRES Innovative Research Proposal, Manoj Nair and his colleagues will try to peak under this mask. The investigators will monitor magnetic signals on two islands, Easter Island and Tahiti, and identify the commonalities between the magnetic signals on both islands. These commonalities represent the Earth’s magnetic field, which does not vary over space, and they can be subtracted from the total magnetic signals collected on both islands. The ocean magnetic signals, which are affected by local ocean dynamics, can be extracted from the remaining magnetic signals. Eventually, the researchers hope that by monitoring Earth and ocean magnetic signals, they will be able to identify tsunamis in real time to support warning systems.

Unmanned aircrafts measure atmosphere dynamics with formation flying

Investigators: Dale Lawrence (CU Department of Aerospace Engineering)

Researchers are already using small, unmanned aircraft to take single-point atmospheric measurements like wind speed, air temperature, and air pressure. By flying multiple unmanned aircraft in tight formation while they are simultaneously recording atmospheric data, investigators could distinguish temporal vs spatial variations and could directly measure important atmospheric parameters that depend on gradients. Until now, scientists have only been able to hypothesize about small-scale changes in atmospheric dynamics. With this new technology, they will be able to gather information on complex processes such as the generation of turbulence and pollution transport. Successful test flights in Utah and Peru have already uncovered unexpected fine-scale temperature variations that may be due to spatial gradients, and investigators will soon be conducting proof-of-concept formation flight testing over the Colorado Front Range.

Using lightning strikes to investigate the Earth’s ionosphere

Investigators: Steven Hansen (CIRES), Anne Sheehan (CIRES, CU Department of Geological Sciences), Paul Bedrosian (USGS), Timothy Fuller-Rowell (CIRES)

The ionosphere is a region of charged particles, which encompasses the uppermost potions of the Earth’s atmosphere and affects telecommunications and space weather. Investigators have borrowed a geophysical technique often used for finding oil and gas deposits to gain an understanding of the ionosphere’s structure. Seismic waves propagate through the Earth’s crust, and these waves reflect off of subsurface structures before returning to sensors on the Earth’s surface. The data from these sensors are processed to create an image of the Earth’s interior. Analogously, investigators will measure lighting-derived radio waves that have been reflected back to the Earth to investigate the properties of the ionosphere. With roughly 50 lightning strikes occurring on Earth every second, they hope to create detailed images of the structure of the ionosphere as it changes over time and space – important information for understanding and forecasting disruptions to critical systems such as communications.

Teaching stewardship and conservation through the arts

Investigators: Shilpi Gupta (CIRES, NOAA), Marda Kirn (EcoArts Connections, Boulder, CO)

Scientists concerned with the environmental challenges facing humanity often find that their facts and figures do not evoke changes in human behavior. Social science now suggests that to foster effective decision making and action, good communication must include cognition and affect (or intellect and emotions) working together. Since prehistoric times, the affective power of the arts has moved people - emotionally and physically - to act. In this study, scientists and artists are collaborating to create science-informed artworks for a room-sized animated globe display system called Science On a Sphere®. The team hopes these sustainability-focused narratives will inspire audience members to become more engaged in the stewardship and conservation of the main character of the stories: the Earth.

Measuring airborne microbial communities

Investigators: Noah Fierer (CIRES, CU Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Joanne Emerson (CIRES), Anne Perring (CIRES, NOAA), Joshua Schwarz (CIRES, NOAA), David Fahey (CIRES, NOAA)

With every breath we take, we inhale small particles such as dust, liquids, and microbes including fungal spores, bacteria, and archaea. These airborne microbes can affect the health of humans, animals, and crops while also influencing atmospheric chemistry and the creation of clouds. Despite their importance, scientists know little about the abundance and diversity of airborne microbes across space and time. To fill in these knowledge gaps, investigators will be collecting airborne microbes at ground level and at over 800 feet above the Earth’s surface during different times of the day and year. At the same time they will be testing a new detection system, which uses fluorescence to count the numbers of microorganisms in the atmosphere. For the first time, scientists will be able to watch short-term fluctuations in airborne microbial communities in real-time.

Unmanned aircraft measure wind turbine wakes

Investigators: John Cassano (CIRES, ATOC), Julie Lundquist (RASEI, ATOC, NREL), Brian Argrow (ASEN), Eric Frew (ASEN), Katja Friedrich (ATOC)

When wind passes through the blades of a wind turbine, it loses speed and increases in turbulence. On wind farms, wind turbines are arrayed relatively close together, and the wake from upstream turbines can reduce the efficiency of downstream turbines if the turbines are not spaced properly. Computer models that predict wind movement through wind farms are often inaccurate so CIRES’ John Cassano and his colleagues have devised an innovative way to measure the effects of wind turbines on wind movement. They will fly small, unmanned aircraft quite close to wind turbines to measure changes in wind variables. If data gathered using unmanned aircraft prove reliable, investigators will be able to gather data covering the entire atmospheric volume of a wind farm, which should prove to be a powerful tool for designing optimal groupings of turbines.


A new approach to NOx: Applications to diesel engines, biofuels, and oil and gas emissions

Investigators: Eric J. Williams (ESRL/CIRES), William P. Dubé (ESRL /CIRES), Peter M. Edwards (ESRL/CIRES), and Steven S. Brown (ESRL)

Strategies to control emissions of oxides of nitrogen from diesel engines can significantly increase the amount of emitted nitrogen dioxide (NO2) relative to nitric oxide (NO), which is tantamount to direct emission of ozone, a primary component of smog. The goal of this IRP is to develop an instrument that is capable of directly measuring NO2 in the presence of the very large levels of NO emitted from combustion sources such as diesel engines. The instrument will be used to evaluate emissions of NO2 and NO from a variety of vehicles to assess the magnitude of this potential air-quality issue.

Emissions of hydrogen sulfide and other air toxics associated with natural gas production using hydraulic fracturing

Investigators: Carsten Warneke (CIRES) and Martin Graus (CIRES)

Natural gas production can potentially emit air toxics by three processes: (1) H2S contained in the natural gas, (2) vapors from hydraulic fracturing fluids, and (3) the natural gas itself that contains many hydrocarbons including aromatic compounds. In this project, we will study the potential of measuring these compounds by proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) in the Denver-Julesburg and Uintah basins.

Nighttime aerosol optical depth measurements in the Arctic: development of a lunar photometer for use in Barrow, Alaska

Investigators: R.S. Stone (CIRES/ESRL), T. A. Berkoff (University of Maryland), E. G. Dutton (ESRL), T. C. Stone (U.S. Geological Survey), J. Wendell (ESRL), and D. Longenecker (CIRES/ESRL)

The lunar photometry project is intended to further develop and deploy a lunar tracking spectral radiometer at the NOAA Barrow Observatory for the purpose of determining aerosol optical depth at the times of day and year when the traditional methods utilizing the sun to this purpose are not possible. Considering the current substantial interest in aerosol pollution and related climate forcing in the Arctic, the project is especially relevant in the Arctic regions where much of the year's aerosol optical depth data is lost.

Chemopreventive aerosols to reduce dysplasia

Investigators: Robert E. Sievers (CIRES), Stephen P. Cape (CIRES), and Sai Tummala (National Jewish Health)

Lung cancer caused by black carbon combustion sources and smoking is one of the leading health-care issues in the world. We intend to study in test rodents whether our inhalable chemotherapeutic/preventive myo-inositol powder aerosols can solve an important unmet medical need, the reduction or elimination of precancerous lung lesions known as dysplasia.

Testing a silver bullet: evaluation of mechanisms that link COS and 18O in CO2 to gross ecosystem uptake of CO2

Investigators: David Noone (CIRES), Max Berkelhammer (CIRES), John Miller (Earth System Research Laboratories, ESRL, Global Monitoring Laboratory, GML), Colm Sweeny (ESRL GML), and Dan Yakir (CIRES)

Current model estimates for terrestrial ecosystem photosynthetic uptake (GPP) vary widely at local, regional, and global scales. Atmospheric measurements of carbonyl sulfide (COS) and the oxygen isotopic ratio in carbon dioxide (CO2) give us the chance to independently constrain GPP.

Developing an ensemble prediction system for operational space weather forecasting

Investigators: Curt A. de Koning (CU/CIRES/Space Weather Prediction Center, SWPC), George Millward (CU/CIRES/SWPC), and Dusan Odstrcil (George Mason University)

On Oct. 1, 2011, Enlil became the first operational numerical space weather prediction model to be used by the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Space Weather Prediction Center. The model is intended to provide one- to four-day advance warning of geomagnetic storms caused by quasirecurrent solar wind structures and Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs). At present, space weather forecasting uses a deterministic approach to numerical space weather prediction (NSWP)—a single forecast of CME arrival time at Earth obtained from a single set of observations of the solar corona. We plan to develop a pilot ensemble prediction system and demonstrate its potential to make improved forecasts of CME arrival time at Earth.

MiniCam 600–680-nm sensor for the PolarCube Satellite

Investigators: David Gallaher (CIRES), Ted Scambos (CIRES), Walt Meier (CIRES), and Brian Sanders (Colorado Space Grant Consortium, COSGC)

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Center for Environmental Technology, and COSGC are designing a satellite known as PolarCube. PolarCube is a triple-unit CubeSat passive microwave satellite that is currently being miniaturized for an orbital opportunity in 2013 or 2014. The proposed MiniCam is a small, space-qualified 600–680-nanometer digital imager to complement the satellite.

Validating and enhancing airborne lidar snow- depth mapping with ground-based lidar

Investigators: Jeffrey S. Deems (CIRES)

This project will combine ground-based and airborne lidar mapping in a novel approach to validate and increase the accuracy of snow-depth mapping in mountainous terrain, with benefits for water supply inventory and forecasting in the western U.S.

Cropland, soil moisture, and recent heat waves

Investigators: Thomas N. Chase (CIRES/CU Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering), Emily C. Gill (CIRES/CU Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering), Emily P. Wilson (CU Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Klaus Wolter (CIRES/NOAA)

This project seeks to test the hypothesis that the increasing amounts of land surface used for agriculture and changes in soil moisture may explain, to some degree, the increase in both the number and extreme temperatures of recently observed heat waves.


Developing a lower boundary layer radar for renewable energy research

Investigators: Christopher R. Williams, (CIRES), Laura Bianco (CIRES), Paul E. Johnston (CIRES), Daniel C. Law (ESRL CSL), Scott E. Palo (CU Aerospace Engineering)

A novel cryogenic analyte preconcentration module for trace gas and isotopic analyses

Investigators: B. R. Miller (CIRES/ESRL GML), J. Winokur (INSTAAR), B. Vaughn (INSTAAR), S. Montzka (CIRES/ESRL GML), P. Tans (CIRES/ESRL GML)

Contact freezing on demand: measurement of contact nuclei with a novel instrument using single droplets levitated in an optical trap

Investigators: Sara Lance (CIRES/ESRL CSL), Maggie Tolbert (CIRES), Josh Gordon (NIST)

Mixotrophy and nitrogen fixation in cyanobacteria

Investigators: James H. McCutchan, Jr. (CIRES) and William M. Lewis, Jr. (CIRES)

Secondary organic aerosol formation from evaporated crude oil

Investigators: Joost de Gouw (CIRES) and Jose-Luis Jimenez (CIRES)

Marrying two novel lidar technologies to profile the whole atmosphere

Investigators: Xinzhao Chu (CIRES), John A. Smith (CIRES), and Wentao Huang (CIRES)
Collaborators: Mike Hardesty (CIRES/ESRL-CSD) and Hanli Liu (NCAR)


Tracking the eco-paybacks of building a green city

Investigators: Carol Wessman, Brian Muller, Brian Buma

Urban green spaces offer city dwellers a welcome respite from the harshness of the concrete jungle, but what services do they really provide beyond a nice place to take a walk? An eye in the sky is going to help CIRES scientists Carol Wessman and Brian Buma, along with Brian Muller from the College of Architecture and Planning, find out. Using remote sensing, they will monitor the life cycle and effects of “green infrastructure” on urban environments, like the ways natural areas can help with carbon sequestration, improve water, or cool down that dreaded heat island effect. The study is the first step towards developing a systematic, localized breakdown of ecosystem services provided by incorporating natural areas in cities, which could be a key tool for places like Chicago and Shanghai as they establish green infrastructure policy for their climate change adaptations strategies. 

New instrument to ferret out trace gases, starting with ozone, hiding in water vapor

Investigators: V. Vaida, C. Young, R. Washenfelder, G. J. Frost

One problem with ozone is that it doesn’t take a lot to trigger complex atmospheric processes. Small concentrations can trip up satellites as they take readings on atmospheric chemistry, for instance. Other trace gases behave similarly and are equally difficult to quantify, especially when they get around water vapor. Experimental measurements have lacked the sensitivity to detect weak ozone and ozone-water signals. CIRES’ Veronica Vaida and CIRES/NOAA colleagues are developing a lab instrument with a super sniffer for ozone. This invention would also help investigate what happens to other oxidized trace gases that interact readily with water. 

Ancient corals and modern climate models to expose secrets of El Niño’s past

Investigators: Baylor Fox-Kemper, Samantha Stevenson, Helen McGregor, Steven Phipps

El Niño tends to be a bit coy when it comes to uncovering the truth behind its past. The dynamic duo of climate models coupled with field measurements can give a good picture of the modern nature of El Niño, but to understand the way it reacts to climate change, scientists need to dig back thousands of years, something that has so far proven difficult. Turns out ancient corals may offer the key to extending the timeline of El Niño’s history from decades to millenium. Baylor Fox-Kemper and Samantha Stevenson of CIRES are teaming up with researchers from the Universities of Wollongong and New South Wales in Australia to look at how the information collected from fossilized corals combined with modeling can shed light on El Niño’s past. Doing so would help put modern observations into context, and provide important comparisons between past and present El Niño cycles.

Taking the sting and hassle out of HPV vaccines

Investigators: Bob Sievers and Steve Cape

It’s estimated that more than 300,000 women die each year from cervical cancer, a disease caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), and especially devastating in developing countries. There is a vaccine for HPV, but right now that vaccine entails money, a little pain, and refrigeration — all factors that limit who can afford, tolerate or access this important health precaution. Much like the inhalable measles vaccine currently in human vaccination tests, CIRES’ Robert Sievers and CU colleague Steve Cape look to engineer a dry powder ‘wafer’ version of the HPV vaccine that users can absorb under the tongue. The innovation would help cut costs, increase longevity, and reduce the “ouch” factor of being vaccinated against HPV. 

Pathways of pollution go 3-D

Investigators: Mike Hardesty and Christoph Senff

Planes sampling the air with optical scanners and laser systems called lidars might sound like science fiction, but these technological wonders have revolutionized the way we understand our skies. Many projects tend to use one of these methods or measure one component of the air, but what could you learn from combining all these technologies into one experiment? CIRES Fellow and NOAA scientist Michael Hardesty along with CIRES’ Christoph Senff, Guy Pearson of Halo Photonics, Fay Davies of the University of Salford, and CIRES Fellow Rainer Volkamer decided to try it out as part the expansive air quality monitoring experiment known as CalNex. The result will be a never before seen 3-D view of wind and ozone transport over California, which will help provide a high-resolution picture of pollution pathways.

Going high-res and to the deep to bridge the earthquake-tsunami gap

Investigators: Anne Sheehan, Zhaohui Yang, George Mungov, Kelly Stroker

CIRES scientists hooked more than they bargained for when they pulled deep-sea pressure gauges and seismometers from the waters off New Zealand. The instruments were originally put in place to map the Alpine Fault. But during the year they were deployed, the dense network of sensors also recorded signals for five tsunami-generating earthquakes, providing a resolution of data that could help CIRES scientists Anne Sheehan, Zhaohui Yang, and George Mungrov, and NOAA’s Kelly Stroker come to grips with the physical nature of waves produced by ocean rumbles. The data will help bridge the earthquake to tsunami gap, which could help tsunami warning systems more accurately model the size of waves as they approach landfall.


Passive imaging of the environment

Investigators: Nick Zabotin and Oleg Godin

Passive Radio Imaging for Applications in Water Resource Management, Glaciology, and Space Weather Monitoring

Scanning heat flux with sound waves

Investigators: Vladimir Ostashev, Jesse Leach, and Sergey Vecherin

Measurements of the Area Averaged Vertical Heat Flux with Acoustic Tomography

Predicting short-term climate change?

Investigators: David Noone, Gil Compo, and Matt Newman

How Much Should We Trust Decadal Climate Projections at Regional Scales? 

Pine beetles and forest soil emissions

Investigators: Russ Monson, Joost de Gouw, and Noah Fierer

Soil Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds in Response to Pine Beetle Attacks 

Extending the arctic sea ice record

Investigators: Walt Meier, Mary Jo Brodzik and Dennis Wingo

Can Sea-ice Extent from the 1960s be Determined from Reprocessed Nimbus Data? 

Climate change and ocean productivity

Investigators: Brandi McCarty

How will Global Climate Changes Affect Ocean Productivity in the Tropics? 

Modeling glyoxal in haze, cloud

Investigators: Barbara Ervens and Rainer Volkamer

Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation from Glyoxal: Linking laboratory, field and model studies 

Glacier loss, through a photographic lens

Investigators: Roger Bilham

Quantification of 19th/21st Century Ice-Volume Loss in the Karakoram and Himalaya

Go, go, mini-glider: atmospheric sampling

Investigators: Ben Balsley, Don David, and Ken Smith

Development of the First Autonomous Mini-Glider for Sampling Small-Scale Atmospheric Structure from the Surface to 10 km


Sony PlayStation goes scientific

Investigators: Christopher Williams

Developing a Dual-Frequency FMCW Radar to Study Precipitation 

Micron-sized organisms, kilometer-scale conditions

Investigators: Margaret Tolbert, Noah Fierer, and Ray Fall

Do bacteria influence the weather? Exploring the role of bacteria in atmospheric ice formation 

A fundamentally different analytical technique

Investigators: Troy Thornberry, Ru-Shan Gao, and David Fahey

Measurement of low water-vapor mixing ratios using mass spectrometry 

A unique opportunity to determine unstudied links

Investigators: Ted Scambos and Robert Massom

Is Absence of Sea Ice a Causal Factor in Recent Antarctic Ice Shelf Break-ups?

An unconventional study of channel erosion rates

Investigators: Scott W. McCoy and Gregory E. Tucker

A new method to test the accuracy of channel erosion rates determined from cosmogenic radionuclides

A largely unexplored impact on climate

Investigators: Baylor Fox-Kemper, Keith Julien, Gregory P. Chini, and Edgar Knobloch

Windrows in Global Models: How Much Do Langmuir Circulations Matter for Climate?

At the nexus of air quality and climate change

Investigators: Joost de Gouw, Carsten Warneke, and Jim Roberts

Emissions of Acidic Trace Gases from Forest Fires

Challenging conventional wisdom

Investigators: Ben Balsley, Lakshmi Kantha, and Allen White

Investigating the Ubiquity of Small-Scale Turbulence in the Atmosphere with Implications for Atmospheric Modeling and Prediction 

Paving the way for new measurements from UAS

Investigators: John Adler, Steve Mitchell, and Xinzhao Chu

Development of a micro Blue / Green Laser system for Multi-Mission use by Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)


Improved hurricane forecasting

Investigators: Xuguang Wang, Tom Hamill, and Jeff Whitaker

Improving the Initialization of Hurricane Forecast using an Ensemble-based Data Assimilation Technique 

Measuring temperature and wind simultaneously from the ground up

Investigators: Xinzhao Chu, Wentao Huang, and Mike Hardesty

New Doppler LIDAR using Double-edge Atomic Absorption Filter with 3-Frequency Transmitter to Study Gravity Wave Excitation, Propagation, and Dissipation from Ground to Upper Atmosphere 

An experiment in non-linear geophysics

Investigators: Tom Chase

Should We Care About a Variable and Noisy Sun? 

A novel method of tracking sediment

Investigators: D. Nathan Bradley and Gregory E. Tucker

Using Radio Transponder Tagged Clasts to Test Fluvial Sediment Dispersion Theory

A small, fast, sensitive and versatile NO2 detector

Investigators: Eric Williams, Bill Dube, and Steve Brown

Measurement of Nitrogen Dioxide by cw Cavity Ring-down Spectroscopy

Climate, land use and carbon cycling in soils

Investigators: William M. Lewis, Jr. and James H. McCutchan, Jr.

The Fate of Old Carbon in Stream Ecosystems

Cleaning up toxins found in crude oil and tar

Investigators: Shelley D. Copley and Ryan T. Gill

Optimizing a "Green Chemistry" Bioprocess: Decreasing Toxicity to Microbes during Conversion of Napthalene to 1-Naphthol


Phytoplankton and ocean circulation

Can phytoplankton change SST and upper ocean circulation? Specific objectives of this research are 1) to determine the extent to which variability of SSTs and currents in ocean models are improved by the new penetrative solar radiation calculation from the satellite-derived ocean color data, and 2) To quantify the impact of space and time variations of penetrative solar radiation on upper ocean variabilities ranging from diurnal to seasonal time scales.

Oxidized atmospheric organics

Sunlight initiated chemistry by low energy vibrational overtone excitation of oxidized organics in the atmosphere: In a collaboration between experiment and theory, the investigators will investigate a new paradigm for sun light initiated chemical reactions occurring by low energy by excitation of vibrational overtones in the ground electronic state.

Microbial ecology and atmospheric chemistry

VOC production by soil microorganisms: Linking microbial ecology and atmospheric chemistry: The goal of this study is to characterize the types and quantities of volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs) produced by soil microorganisms.

Groundwater and climate

Is the Ground Drying up in South Platte? Despite the important role of groundwater in the basin there are virtually no efforts in understanding long-term behavior of the groundwater system within the context of climate variations.

Aerosol optical properties

Highly resolved wavelength dependencies of aerosol optical properties in the shortwave spectrum: The objective of this project is to measure the wavelength dependence of aerosol optical properties at high spectral resolution across the solar spectrum.

Abrupt climate change

Possibility of Abrupt Climate Change in the Next Few Decades: This investigator will perform several 100-year integrations of two global atmospheric general circulation models(GCMs) with prescribed ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropics and with coupling to a simple mixed layer ocean model elsewhere.


Collaborative studies of atmospheric aerosols

Investigators: Maggie Tolbert, Becky Garland, A. Ravishankara, Ed Lovejoy and Tahllee Baynard

Combining cavity ring-down spectroscopy with a differential mobility analyzer to probe the water uptake and optical properties of mixed organic-inorganic aerosols.

Realization of snow/vegetation interactions using field spectroscopy

Investigators: Noah Molotch and Thomas Painter

Quantifying the impact of vegetation on snow metamorphism to gain insight into how forest canopy density impacts snowmelt rates. This is a unique application of an ASD-FR contact probe to determine snow stratigraphy.

Mountain temperatures at fine spatial scales

Investigators: Jessica Lundquist, Martyn Clark and Andrew Slater

Deploying small temperature probes along the Continental Divide to attain finer spatial resolution and determine how well meteorological stations represent surrounding topography.

Anthropogenic carbon forcing in a simple climate model with coupled hydrological and carbon cycles

Investigators: Vijay Gupta, Tom Chase and Keith Nordstrom

Investigating extreme floods and droughts in a climate model where biota exhibit the potential for modulating global temperatures that are comparable to IPCC predictions for CO2 doubling.

Is climate change on the Tibetan Plateau driven by land use/cover change?

Investigators: Oliver Frauenfeld and Tingjun Zhang

Using AVHRR/NDVI data to compare climate warming sensitivities of high altitude and high latitude regions by determining the impacts of land use change in remote regions of Tibet.

Sea ice on Mars? Earth-Mars satellite altimetry comparison and theoretical modeling

Investigators: Todd Arbetter and Ted Scambos

Contrasting recognized ice fracture patterns in the Antarctic to similar patterns on the Elysium Planitia as indications of past water dynamics on Mars.


Organic Aerosols as reactors in present, past and planetary atmospheres

Investigators: Veronica Vaida and Teresa Eliason (Chemistry)

Probing the role of organic aerosol interfaces in promoting reactions and couple it to atmospheric, oceanic and biospheric models to establish their role in the chemical evolution, climate and composition of planetary atmospheres.

An opportunity to develop a state-of-the-art tethered lifting system

Investigators: Michael Jensen, Rod Frehlich and Ben Balsley (CIRES)

 Extending the unique capabilities of their CIRES-developed platform to produce high-resolution profiles of winds, temperatures, humidity, turbulence and trace gases in the boundary layer.

An electrochemical ion source for thermal ionization mass spectrometry

Investigators: Lang Farmer and Emily Verplanck (Geology) with Carl Koval (Chemistry)

Devising a new class of metal ion emitter for Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) that would provide improved sensitivity in isotope geology and geochronology studies.

Novel technique to measure ultrafine particle size distributions

Investigators: Charles Brock (NOAA/AL) and José Jimenez (Chemistry)

Developing a fast response scanning condensation particle counter (SCPC) to measure ultrafine (4-70 nm) particles that are of great atmospheric and environmental importance.

Undocumented nitrogen fixation in water by colonial blue-green algae embedded in mucus

Investigators: Mark Bradburn and Bill Lewis

Investigating the remarkable ability of an aquatic cyanobacteria to simultaneously conduct photosynthesis and fix nitrogen in processes that are normally mutually exclusive.

A one-second frequency response from a one-KM-long tiltmeter

Investigators: Roger Bilham and Naia Suscek (Geology)

Building and testing an extremely fast response tiltmeter that may provide new insights of Earth's tilt previously unavailable to researchers.


Initial Assessment of Wildfire, Blowdown, and Salvage-Logging Effects on Biogeochemical Cycling and Regeneration Dynamics in Routt National Forest, Colorado

Investigators: Carol Wessman and Christina Rumbaitis-del Rio (EPOB/CIRES)

Taking advantage of the 1997 blowdown, subsequent salvage logging, and recent forest fires to study the effects of multiple stresses on forest recovery.

Can Directional Seismic Noise be Used to Hindcast Ocean Waves

Investigators: Vera Schulte-Pelkum (CIRES/Geology), Andy Moore (CIRES/PAOS, John Wahr (CIRES/Physics) and Paul Earle (USGS)

Testing a novel method of extracting ocean swell correlations from existing seismic data that could be a proxy for historical climate variation.

Using 14CO2 to Measure the Fossil Fuel Combustion Component of Atmospheric CO2

Investigators: John Miller and Pieter Tans (CMDL)

Tracking carbon-14 to determine fossil fuel combustion fraction on local scales with weekly time resolution.

Web-Based Geospatial Data Applications for Atmospheric Field Missions

Investigators: Dan Kowal and John Cartwright (NGDC)

Applying web-based relational database management system to present field data in a GIS format to enhance data synthesis and presentation between laboratories that will become a resource available to others.

Does Petrochemical Ethylene Enhance the Release of Reactive VOCS by urban Vegetation?

Investigators: Joost de Gouw (NOAA/AL) and Ray Fall (Chemistry

Exploring unexpected anthropogenic ethylene emissions and testing their combined stimulation of plant growth and contribution to photochemical air pollution.


Urban Ecology in the Colorado Front Range: Assessing Interdisciplinary Components and Functional Structure

Investigators: Carol Wessman (CSES) and Nancy Golubiewski (INSTAAR)

Quantifing ecosystem change due to urban growth.

Water Complexes as Unconventional Absorbers of Solar and Terrestrial Radiation

Investigators: Veronica Vaida (Chemistry), Erik Richard, Adrian Tuck, John Daniel and Susan Solomon (NOAA/AL)

Developing instrumentation to explore relatively unknown radiative properties of hydrates and complexes that could help resolve differences between radiation models and measurements.

Mapping Ecological and Environmental Responses to 20th Century Warming in a Tropical Andean Cordillera

Investigators: Anton Seimon and Todd Albert (Geography)

 Using ground, aircraft and satellite data to historically determine the evolution and impacts of El Nino by capitalizing on newly discovered historic photography and recent deglaciation in the Andes.

An Integrative Framework for Water Quantity and Quality Decision Making in the Fave of Climate Variablity

Investigators: Balaji Rajagopalan (CDC), Martyn Clark (NSIDC) and Edie Zagona (CADSWES)

Combining NOAA climate forecasts, a USGS watershed model, and the RIVERWARE decision support system to aid decision makers dealing with a real world polluted river.

Direct measurements of Evaporation: A Novel Approach

Investigators: Bruce Kindel and Carol Wessman (CSES)

Developing a spectrographic remote sensing method for measuring evapotranspiration at the surface.

A Post-Genomics Approach to Evolution of Microbial Fitness in Complex Mixed-Waste Environments

Investigators: Shelley Copley (MCDB) and Ryan Gill (CEAE)

Testing microbe fitness to pollutant environments with the hope of developing bioremediation strains.

The Search for Optimal Pertubations

Investigators: Chris Aiken, Andy Moore and John Hart

Exploring a proof of concept for optimal perturbations within Generalized Stability Analysis (GSA) theory.


An Interdisciplinary Investigation of Uncertainties in the Variability of the Climate and Terrestrial Ecology

Investigators: Wanli Wu and Amanda Lynch (PAOS)

Conducting ensemble model simulations to evaluate variability of regional climate and terrestrial ecology uncertainties arising from boundary forcing plus testing if future surface energy partitioning could be expected to change.

Role of Meteoritic Transition Metals in Determining the Chemical and Optical Properties of Atmospheric Aerosols

Investigators: Veronica Vaida (Chemistry) with Shelley Copley (MCDB), Dan Cziczo, Dan Murphy and Adrien Tuck (NOAA/AL)

Investigating aerosol coagulation and meteoric metal catalysis of organic materials that could have an impact on origin of life theories.

Quantifying Seismic Hazard in the Southern Rocky Mountains Through GPS Measurements of Crustal Deformaion

Investigators: Anne Sheehan and Fred Blume (Geology)

Investigating the seismic stability of the Front Range, take benchmark measurements, and begin recording crustal strain for the first time.

A Study of Anomalous Propagation Signatures in WSR-88D Data During Downslope Windstorms

Investigators: Louisa Nance (ETL) and Eric Thaler (NWS)

Testing the hypothesis that unexplained Nexrad Doppler echoes reveal terrain-induced gravity waves and may help in predicting destructive downslope winds.

The Uptake of Nitrogen Oxides by Plants - Probing the Biological and Chemical Mechanisms

Investigators: Russ Monson (EPOB) and James Roberts (NOAA/AL)

Linking biological and atmospheric processes by studying peroxyacetyl nitrate radical equilibria and uptake by vegetation.

The Climate Time Line Information Tool

Investigators: Dan Kowal and Mark McCaffrey (NGDC)

Developing a web tool to provide user-friendly access to interdisciplinary data that includes a map locator, temporal and spatial displays, statistical assessment tools, and tutorial.

Inaugural Survey of Russia and Chinese Emission of Ozone-Depleting Substances From In-Situ Measurements Aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway

Investigators: Dale Hurst and Jim Elkins (CMDL)

Participating in a rare opportunity to measure CFCs in a remote part of Siberia and test progress toward meeting Montreal Protocol standards.

Feasibility of Reanalysis Before the Radiosonde Era

Investigators: Gil Compo, Jeff Whitaker and Prashant Sardeshmukh

Testing the validity of surface and lower tropospheric circulation reanalyses simulated from previous surface synoptic data as a means of extending climate studies back to the early 1900's.

The Use of Multi-Model Super-Ensemble Techniques in Hydrology

Investigators: Martyn Clark (NSIDC) with Lauren Hay and George Leavesley (USGS)

 Adapting proven meteorological ensemble techniques to a hydrology model to assess improvement of runoff, understand variations, apply regression improvement, and combine with atmospheric ensemble model output.

Developing an Interface Between Simple and Complex Climate System Models for Investigation Geophysiology

Investigators: Tom Chase, Vijay Gupta and Keith Nordstrom

 Coupling a simple biospheric/hydrologic model with GCMs as a means for identifying negative feedbacks that are not yet included in current parameterizations.

Climate Modeling with Simplified Dynamics and Detailed Physics

Investigators: John Bergman and Prashant Sardeshmukh

Testing the viability of an intermediate complexity model that will be easier to interpret, have a better statistical footing, and be useful in detecting/predicting long term climate change.


Simplifying the Representation of Snow Physics in Environmental Models

Investigators: Sergey Sokratov and Richard Armstrong (NSIDC)

Applying sensitivity testing of various parameters to find the minimum suite of variables for predicting water content of snow cover.

Quantitative Test of a Statistical-Mechanics Analogy Between Convective Clouds and Chemical Kinetics

Investigators: Brian Mapes (CDC)

Seeking to improve convective updraft area (sigma) in model parameterization of global cloud cover.

Daniel King and James Butler (CMDL)


Studying a homogeneous plant source as a proof of concept for future studies seeking to balance global methyl halide sources and sinks.

Toward a molecular Phylogeny of a Metabolic Enzyme, Maleylacetoacetate Isomerase

Investigators: Shelley Copley and Norm Pace (MCDB)

Conducting a phylogenetic analysis of a specific metabolic enzyme to address the distribution of this metabolic pathway among microorganisms.

Mid-Tropospheric Temperature Regulation at High Latitudes

Investigators: Tom Chase, Ben Herman (U of AZ) and Roger Pielke, Sr. (CSU)

Testing the hypothesis that Arctic air masses maintain enough contact with sea surfaces in winter such that minimum annual SST's are able to control mid-tropospheric temperatures above a certain threshold.

In Situ Calibrations of Lower-Atmospheric Horizontal and Vertical Winds and CN2 Measured by Wind Profilers

Investigators: Susan Avery, Mike Jensen, Ben Balsley and Rod Frehlich (CIRES)

Using a new powered parachute to calibrate profiler radar patterns and thus improve the accuracy and interpretation of 3D wind data.

Air Quality Regulations and Snow Accumulation in the West

Investigators: Don Anderson (ETL) with Marty Hoerling (CDC)

Testing the hypothesis that coal burning and atmospheric haze in the Interior West are correlated with snow accumulation during the preceding season.


The sound of raindrops: development of an acoustic rain gauge

Chris Williams (NOAA/AL) is developing a new accoustic technique for the measurement of raindrop size and intensity

Surface ozone measurements at San Cristobal, Galapagos operated by the national park youth group

Holger Voemel (CMDL) is seeking to extend O3 observations in the Galapagos and involve local youth in this science project

Development of a different fuel cell analyzer for tall tower atmospheric oxygen measurements

Britt Stephens with Pieter Tans (CMDL) are improving a commercial O2 analyzer for investigating O2:CO2 signatures and fluxes

Exploring nonlinear dynamics of extreme events in driven threshold systems

John Rundle (C4) Claudio Cioffi (Political Science) are exploring new approaches to modeling nonlinear dynamics of extreme events to derive fundamental results applicable to both geophysical and social systems

A new method for estimating bacterial growth rates by use of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen

William Lewis and Sujay Kaushal are testing a new method of using organic tracers for measuring growth rates in natural microbial communities of aquatic environments

Inuit knowledge of climate and climate change in the Easter Canadian Arctic; linking Indigenous and scientific knowledge: an interactive CD-ROM

Shari Fox (NSIDC) is recording the climate history stored in the cultures of indigenous peoples before it is lost

Chemical reactivity in organic aerosols

Shelley Copley (CIRES) and Veronica Vaida (Chemistry) are determining if interesting chemical reactions occur within organic surfaces of aqueous aerosols as a consequence of their architecture

Examining the relationship between the fair-weather atmospheric electric field and global climate change

Ben Balsley and Rod Frehlich are using kites platforms to obtain continuous FWAEF measurements as a proxy for climate change and an understanding of continual recharging of the planetary electric field

High resolution solar radiometer measurements for the characterization of atmospheric aerosols and gaseous transmission

Bruce Kindel and Zheng Qu (CSES) are elucidating the impacts of atmospheric aerosols, develop instrumentation, and conduct field cross-calibrations

Fine particle formation using super-critical CO2-assisted aerosolization

obert Sievers, Brenda Korte and a graduate student (Chemistry) are conducting fundamental studies to characterize current technology and improve their techniques

Selective detection of reactive biogenic vocs by negative-ion CIMS

Ray Fall, Veronica Bierbaum and Thomas Custer (Chemistry) are developing analytical techniques to seek unequivocal identification of recently discovered volatile organic hydrocarbons

Single molecule detection in the gas phase: an explosive idea

John Birks (Chemistry) and a graduate student are developing a new analytical technique for quantifying OH, H2, and DMS

Development of novel si-gel based ion sources for thermal ionization mass spectrometers

Lang Farmer (Geology), Steven George (Chemistry), and Emily Verplanck (Geology) are improving sample ionization and sensitivity thus enabling isotopic studies on much smaller geologic samples.

Satellite gravity and large-scale hydrology

John Wahr, Chris Milly (GFDL) and a graduate student are developing techniques for determining continental water and snow cover using satellite gravity field measurements obtained from the GRACE satellite.