The Knife Edge – June 14, 2022

The Knife Edge – June 14, 2022

On Saturday, June 11, 2022, we went up Kelso Ridge (exposed class 3 scrambling route) on Torreys Peak (14,267 ft.). Its neighboring peak, Grays, is the highest point along the continental divide, a drainage divide where on one side of the peaks, all water drains...
River Highways – June 8, 2022

River Highways – June 8, 2022

Back in the 1800s, rivers were the highways of the times. But waterfalls – like St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi river – provided significant obstacles for boats, their passengers, and their cargo. In Minnesota, the “twin” cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul...
Hurricane Season Starts – June 1, 2022

Hurricane Season Starts – June 1, 2022

It’s that time of year again in North America – when hurricane season starts – and the outlook for summer 2022 is an above-average season. The prediction, according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is anywhere from 3 – 6 major ones...
Coastal Redwoods – May 25, 2022

Coastal Redwoods – May 25, 2022

Muir Woods National Monument is home to some of the tallest trees on Earth: the coastal redwoods there measure in at 260 feet tall, or, the height of a 24-story building. But they can top out at nearly 400 feet! The trees grow in the moderate temperatures along the...
Be Climate Savvy – May 18, 2022

Be Climate Savvy – May 18, 2022

Temperatures here in Colorado have been soaring into the mid-80s – in May! Severe flooding and landslides have been devastating South Africa; the eastern Australia floods of 2022 have been some of the worst recorded flood disasters; India and the Himalaya are...
Science Fair Season – May 11, 2022

Science Fair Season – May 11, 2022

Tis the season! For science fairs, that is. Springtime is science fair season, when thousands of students across the country, from elementary to high school, compete in regional, state, national and international fairs. In fact, I’m writing to you right now from...
Science in Star Wars – May 4, 2022

Science in Star Wars – May 4, 2022

May the 4th be with you – happy Star Wars day! And happy Science Wednesday as well! In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the icy planet of Hoth hosts a temporary Rebel base where the heroes have to defeat Imperial walkers in order to escape. How could...
The Future IS Fire – April 27, 2022

The Future IS Fire – April 27, 2022

Here is another video I compiled for the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center: this one focused on wildfire.   On December 30, 2021, the unthinkable happened. Peaceful suburbs of Denver, Colorado, looking forward to celebrating the start of a New Year,...
The Human Touch – April 20, 2022

The Human Touch – April 20, 2022

Climate change has always happened on Earth, which is clearly seen in the geological record. For the last three weeks, we’ve covered natural climate change: from orbital parameters to the Sun to volcanoes to the oceans and internal variability in the climate system....
Natural Climate Change – Part 3 – April 13, 2022

Natural Climate Change – Part 3 – April 13, 2022

This week, we explore the Earth’s oceans and natural ocean-atmosphere interactions. Chapter 3: Natural Climate Change: The Oceans and Internal Variability When the air temperature starts to warm and it’s time to open up the backyard pool and go for a swim, it’s...
Natural Climate Change – Part 2 – April 6, 2022

Natural Climate Change – Part 2 – April 6, 2022

Chapter 2: Natural Climate Change: Volcanoes and the Sun So, we’ve established that orbital parameters, like eccentricity of Earth’s orbit and the magnitude of the tilt of the planet are not responsible for the current and rapid climate change that we are seeing. What...
Natural Climate Change – Part 1 – March 30, 2022

Natural Climate Change – Part 1 – March 30, 2022

In the lead-up to our “Climate Solutions Days” summit/virtual conference at the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center during “Earth Week” 2022, Science Wednesdays are going to focus on climate change these next few weeks, starting with natural climate change...
Origins of SARS-CoV-2 – March 23, 2022

Origins of SARS-CoV-2 – March 23, 2022

In order to prevent future pandemics, it is important to understand the circumstances that led to past ones. This includes looking at all hypotheses in detail and trying to discern the origin from a complex array of data. Did the COVID-19 outbreak originate at a...
Staying Afloat – March 16, 2022

Staying Afloat – March 16, 2022

It’s the year 2022. Despite scientific progress in many realms, there’s still a stubborn persistence of pseudoscience, irrational beliefs and even downright science denial. There are many ways we can and do deceive ourselves on a day-to-day basis. When we want...
The Endurance – March 9, 2022

The Endurance – March 9, 2022

Over 100 years ago, an incredible story of survival transpired at the bottom of the world. The “Endurance” was a ship used to transport an expedition team, headed by Ernest Shackleton, to cross Antarctica on foot. But, instead, the ship and the crew got trapped in the...
Climate Solutions Days – March 2, 2022

Climate Solutions Days – March 2, 2022

For this Science Wednesday, I’d like to share something we’ve been working on at the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center at the University of Colorado. Interested in learning more about climate change impacts? How to communicate science? Then...
The Polar Vortex – February 23, 2022

The Polar Vortex – February 23, 2022

Around this time last year, Texas experienced an intense and damaging Arctic blast of cold air. Texas, of all places! This week, the “polar vortex” is at it again, bringing snow, ice and incredibly cold temperatures, this time across the central and eastern US. So,...
No (Real) Snow at Winter Olympics? – February 16, 2022

No (Real) Snow at Winter Olympics? – February 16, 2022

It’s wintertime in the Northern Hemisphere – and typically that means cold temperatures and snow at the higher latitudes. Beijing, China, the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, is at roughly the same latitude as Denver, Colorado. It’s cold, but it’s also incredibly...
The (Melting) Top of the World – February 9, 2022

The (Melting) Top of the World – February 9, 2022

It’s no surprise that there is worldwide retreat of mountain glaciers in recent decades given rising greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures. The concern of losing water from these frozen “storage towers” lies in the fact that ecosystems will suffer,...
COVID as vascular disease – February 2, 2022

COVID as vascular disease – February 2, 2022

What does a particle accelerator, a machine that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to very high speeds and energies, have to do with imaging the human body? At the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, a particle...