Posts tagged fire
Lenses shaped like the bulging, bowl-shaped eyes possessed by dragonflies, praying mantises, houseflies and other insects can take exceptionally wide-angle photos without distorting the image.
To create the innovative camera, which also allows for a practically infinite depth of field, the scientists used stretchable electronics and a pliable sheet of microlenses made from a material similar to that used for contact lenses. The researchers described the camera in an article published today in the journal Nature.
Conventional wide-angle lenses, such as fisheyes, distort the images they capture at the periphery, a consequence of the mismatch of light passing through a hemispherically curved surface of the lens only to be captured by the flat surface of the electronic detector.
For the digital camera described in the new study, the researchers were able to create an electronic detector that can be curved into the same hemispherical shape as the lens, eliminating the distortion.
“The most important and most revolutionizing part of this camera is to bend electronics onto a curved surface,” said Jianliang Xiao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder and co-lead author of the study. “Electronics are all made of silicon, mostly, and silicon is very brittle, so you can’t deform the silicon. Here, by using stretchable electronics we can deform the system; we can put it onto a curved surface.”
Creating a camera inspired by the compound eyes of arthropods — animals with exoskeletons and jointed legs, including all insects as well as scorpions, spiders, lobsters and centipedes, among other creatures — has been a sought-after goal. Compound eyes typically have a lower resolution than the eyes of mammals, but they give arthropods a much larger field of view than mammalian eyes as well as high sensitivity to motion and an infinite depth of field.
Compound eyes consist of a collection of smaller eyes called ommatidia, and each small eye is made up of an independent corneal lens as well as a crystalline cone, which captures the light traveling through the lens. The number of ommatidia determines the resolution and varies widely among arthropods. Dragonflies, for example, have about 28,000 tiny eyes while worker ants have only in the neighborhood of 100.
Imitating the corneal lens-crystalline cone pairings, the camera created by Xiao and his colleagues has 180 miniature lenses, each of which is backed with its own small electronic detector. The number of lenses used in the camera is similar to the number of ommatidia in the compound eyes of fire ants and bark beetles.
The electronics and the lenses are both flat when fabricated, said Xiao, who began working on the project as a postdoctoral researcher in John Roger’s lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This allows the product to be manufactured using conventional systems.
“This is the key to our technology,” Xiao said. “We can fabricate an electronic system that is compatible with current technology. Then we can scale it up.”
The lens sheet and the electronics sheet are integrated together while flat and then molded into a hemispherical shape afterward. Each individual electronic detector and each individual lens do not deform, but the spaces between the detectors and lenses can stretch and allow for the creation of a new 3-D shape. The electronic detectors are all attached with serpentine filament bridges, which are not compromised as the material stretches and bends.
In the pictures taken by the new camera, each lens-detector pairing contributes a single pixel to the image. Moving the electronic detectors directly behind the lenses — instead of having just one detector sitting farther behind a single lens, as in conventional cameras — creates a very short focal length, which allows for the near-infinite depth of field.
The new paper demonstrates that stretchable electronics can be used as the foundation for a distortion-free hemispherical camera, but commercial production of such a camera may still be years away, Xiao said.
The three other co-lead authors of the paper are Young Min Song, Yizhu Xie and Viktor Malyarchuk, all of the University of Illinois. Other co-authors are Ki-Joong Choi, Rak-Hwan Kim and John Rogers, also of Illinois; Inhwa Jung, of Kyung Hee University in Korea; Zhuangjian Liu, of the Institute of High Performance Computing A*star in Singapore; Chaofeng Lu, of Zhejiang University in China and Northwestern University; Rui Li, of Dalian University of Technology in China; Kenneth Crozier, of Harvard University; and Yonggang Huang, of Northwestern University.
The research was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation.
CU news release
BUFFs FINISH SECOND AT WYOMING COWBOY CLASSIC SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. —
The University of Colorado men’s golf team had quite the final tune-up for the Pac-12 Championship later this month, as the Buffaloes used near-record improvement from one round to the next to jump from seventh into a second place finish in the Wyoming Cowboy Classic here Tuesday.
Colorado turned in the low round of the wind-shortened tournament, a 6-under 274 for a two round total of 580, second only to Gonzaga, which turned a 275 in the second round for a 574 overall score. CU had opened with a 306 score in extremely windy conditions Monday, which forced the cancellation of the second round after a nearly six hour first round, in which only two of the 24 teams in the field broke 300; on Tuesday in much calmer weather, all but one shot better than 300. No. 22 St. Mary’s (Calif.) and No. 40 Tulsa tied for third at 582, with Pac-12 rival Arizona fifth at 584. First round leader Wichita State fell to sixth with a 587 count. The Buffs, ranked No. 64 by GolfStat and No. 74 by Golfweek, defeated five teams ranked ahead of them and improved their record against Division I competition this season to 96-53.
It’s the third time that Colorado has finished either first or second in a tournament five times in a season: in 1980-81, the Buffs won two and had three runner-up efforts as they have done this year, and in 2008-09, CU had one win and four seconds. The team’s 32-stroke improvement from one round to the next was the second best in school annals; in the 1985 Air Force Falcon Invitational, the Buffs shot a first round 414 and then a second round 381 for a 33-shot improvement. That was a six player-five scorer tournament; the previous best in the more common five-for-four was 29-strokes in the 2005 PING-Arizona Intercollegiate (312 to 283 between the first and second rounds). “A great job by the team today, and any time you shoot the low round of the day in a tournament you are excited,” head coach Roy Edwards said.
“To do it in a field of 24 teams and in the final round is particularly satisfying. We didn’t play very well yesterday, but the team really battled in very challenging conditions and was in position to shoot a low score.” All five CU designated scorers improved their scores Tuesday, led by junior Johnny Hayes, who rallied to fire a 1-under 69 after an 85 on Monday – the 16-stroke improvement tied for the fourth largest in CU history, trailing the top best of 18 (John Nyuli in the 1990 Miami-Doral Invitational, when he shot a second round 90 and a final round 72), and two 17 shot make ups (Rick Cramer at the 1989 New Mexico Tucker Invitational and Edward McGlasson in the 2002 Prestige at PGA West). Hayes vaulted from 116th place in the standings into a tie for 80th on the 7,133-yard, par-70 Talking Stick North Course layout with his 154, or 14-over par score. Senior Jason Burstyn lopped off nine strokes between rounds, with his 76-67—143 (3-over) effort tying him for 10th, as he moved up from 27th. He was among the leaders in par-3 (sixth) and par-4 (14th) scoring. Freshman Philip Juel-Berg did the same, as he fashioned a 79-70—149 scorecard here to tie for 40th, jumping 30 spots; his 25 pars were a team high and tied for the 14th most in the field. CU’s top finisher was senior Derek Fribbs, who tied for seventh. He had posted CU’s best first round score with a 4-over 74, and he managed to shave six strokes off that effort with a 2-under 68 for a 36-hole total of 142. He tied for the third most birdies in the field here with seven, played the two par-5 holes here at 3-under, tied for the best overall, and the 12 par-4 holes here at 4.08 per, sixth best. “Jason and Derek played really solid and Johnny did an awesome job of coming back from a poor first round,” Edwards said. “The team should be proud, but we need to continue to work and improve every day leading up to the Pac-12 Championship. We are fortunate to have a great group of guys who I know are very excited to keep getting better.” Sophomore David Oraee rounded out the CU scorers, finishing with a 77-76—153 (13-over) score, which tied him for 72nd. Redshirt freshman Drew Trujillo played as an individual here, and he tied for 95th (77-79—156). UC-Santa Barbara junior Glen Scher captured medalist honors with a 70-68—138, the only player under par in the tournament; there was a four-way tie for second with those players at an even par 140. The average score for 250 rounds here was almost six over par at 75.88, though it dropped from 78.64 to 73.06 between the two rounds. The Pac-12 Championships are in three weeks, set for April 29-May 1 at Los Angeles Country Club. Colorado appears to be peaking at the right time: the Buffs are 11-29 this year against Pac-12 opposition, but the bulk of that damage came in three tournaments, including the first two out of the chute this spring where the Buffs were 0-24; CU is 6-1 against league brethren in the last month.
by David Plati Associate AD/Sports Information University of Colorado Buffaloes 357 UCB / Fieldhouse Annex #50 Boulder, CO 80309-0357 303/492-5626 (office)
Linda Lappe, Colorado Head Coach:
On playing their best basketball late in the season:
“I think we are playing our best. I am so excited that we had a chance to play Stanford in our last game. I think Stanford really helps up prepare for the next level, which is now. It was a blessing in disguise – nobody wants to play Stanford because they are so talented and they run their system very well and I think they’re going to do really well in the Tournament. For us to be able to play a top-notch team like that before a long layoff and having to play some really good basketball, it was going to be key for us. We’re going to use a lot of those things we learned from that game. We watched a lot of film after that game. We’re going to take a lot of different things offensively and defensively from that and I think it’s going to help us as we go into the Kansas game tomorrow.”
On Kansas’ experience:
“Kansas has some experience and they have seniors on the floor that start for them that have played a lot of games that have been through the Big 12. They do have more NCAA Tournament experience than we do, but I think last year was their first year and they were able to get to the Sweet 16, so it doesn’t always mean a lot and doesn’t mean everything for sure. Us being home neutralizes their experience in the NCAA Tournament. We’ve tried to keep things as consistent as possible throughout this last week to be able to manage our emotions as we go into tomorrow’s game. Obviously there’s going to be some butterflies and some jitters, but the biggest thing is to make sure you’re cool, calm and collected and playing the way you always play, whether it was playing California, Stanford, or Louisville, or Wyoming, we have to go into this game exactly how we went into the rest of those games. If we do that, I think we’re going to have a high chance of success.”
On hosting an NCAA Tournament:
“It is a great thing to host the NCAA Tournament. I’m really grateful for our administration, for [Athletic Director] Mike Bohn, for bidding on the tournament. It’s a huge advantage. He believed that we would be in the tournament and that’s why you want to host. You want to give your home school as much of a chance to get out of the first two rounds as you possibly can. I’m so happy that Colorado has been gracious enough, not only financially, but with our resources, our people. Our employees here have done a lot to make this tournament a really good success.”
On playing Kansas:
“It was just a couple years that we played them three times and twice every other year. I think I played them eight times in my career. We feel a very good familiarity with Kansas. I think [Kansas head coach] Bonnie [Henrickson] does a tremendous job with her team. She always has them prepared. She always has them ready. She’s done a nice job of turning their program around. When she got it, it wasn’t nearly what it is now. I have a lot of respect for what she’s been able to do. I know one of our assistants picked her brain asking: ‘How did she do it? How did she turn it around?’ Because when we got the job, it was very similar. I have a lot of respect for what she’s been able to do. Kansas, in general, we know what they’re about. We know that they play in a good conference and we’re just excited to be able to play an old opponent in the NCAA Tournament.”
On Ariel Roberson’s development after redshirting last year:
“Anybody who’s had to redshirt, I would want them to do what Ariel did. That is, she was very engaged. She did her rehab during practice. She made sure she watched. She understood what our team was lacking last year and something she could bring this year. Part of that is consistency. Part of it is competitive fire. Ariel is a competitor and she loves to win. She wants to take big shots. She wants to make big stops on the defensive end. She’s a really good defender as well. What she was able to do was watch and learn and to see positioning and how important that is. People who go from playing to coaching right away, they don’t realize how much they were missing as a player. She had an opportunity to sit and watch and to be able to see all those things that maybe everybody else wasn’t able to see. She used it as an advantage for her. The other thing she did was to continually work on her shot. Even when she couldn’t really bend her knees or do anything like that, as soon as she could stand, even before she could stand, she would sit in a chair and shoot. She did anything she could do, basketball-wise, before she could even be on the court. She kept her touch and I think it really helped her shot. She shot it well this year, better than she ever did in high school. I think she utilized that year to get better at something. She is the one you want every injured player to watch and emulate because she did it the right way and that’s helped her this year.”
FIRST PRACTICE DAY QUOTES – Kansas
Bonnie Henrickson, Kansas Head Coach:
On scouting Colorado:
“Defensively, not only in their numbers because numbers can be deceiving, but when you watch them on film and see how well they play together. They can choreograph some things defensively, but they also play some great position defense. They play really well together. Look at their defensive field goal numbers and they are in the top three in all the team defensive stats in the Pac-12. They play the top of that league tough in one possession games. Watching them on field the numbers make sense. Sometimes you look at numbers and they do not always add up but theirs do. Angel [Goodrich] said it and she’s exactly right. Those pieces that were here two years ago are much improved. Chucky [Jeffery] was good as a sophomore. The Wilson twins were good as freshmen. Those kids have gotten better and that is a credit to their coaching to develop players. Obviously, Arielle [Roberson] is a phenomenal player. We recruited her and thought she would be a great player in our program. Certainly she has done everything that we thought she would be capable of. She plays both the three and the four. She shoots the three and she can put it on the floor. She is a tough kid. Rachel Hargis too, she was long and lanky and that hasn’t changed. From a fitness standpoint her body looks different on film then it did a couple years ago from our game over in Kansas City. The new players since we last played them are really impressive.”
On making the NCAA Tournament:
“We had quality wins over Creighton, Oklahoma and West Virginia and certainly stubbed our toe against Texas Tech. We were disappointed with a couple of our performances down the stretch but felt like we had six wins against the RPI top 60. Like the Pac-12 there are no off-nights in our league. The challenge is to be consistent every night and we knew that we hadn’t done that. We let a couple go at the end of the year. I knew it would be close when I looked at it. I thought there were 14 teams for six spots. I felt that our six wins against the top 60 RPI would speak for itself. At the very end you are splitting hairs. The committee starts to look at it and for us there were some wins that we had to have to get in certainly.”
On familiarity with the venue:
“We have never been to Little Rock and played pretty well there. From a confidence standpoint I see what you are saying. For me I said ‘Bus driver take a left here’ and I knew where we were. We went to dinner last night and I knew were we were. From a familiarity stand point between the two programs it is a wash. They know us and we know them. Chucky [Jeffery] knows our kids that were here. Our kids know her and both sets of twins. They are excited and they should be.”
On Carolyn Davis before and after her injury:
“In the beginning of the year her mobility and lateral movement wasn’t where it had been. Her rim to rim wasn’t where it had been. She is as good as she has been since the injury. Confidence wise she is as good as she has been. She has been more aggressive. She has attacked more with the ball in her hands. The thing she has done so well from the beginning at Kansas is how good she is without the ball early. She works hard and that never really changed. She has never been a real bouncy kid. She still has great hands and catches everything. If she can’t catch it, it is a really bad ball. She certainly is close to who she was last year.”
Carolyn Davis, Kansas forward
On being nervous before getting into the NCAA Tournament:
“We’re not in there with the committee, so we don’t know what exactly got us in. We played out the season the best we could. We know there were a few games we lost, so we watched the selection show like everybody else, hoping we got in.”
On defending Colorado forward Arielle Roberson:
“She’s a great post player. She got Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. That’s a great honor for her. Luckily for us, we played against a lot of great, versatile post players in the Big 12 so we’ve been challenged with that. I think if we’re able to stay down and contain her on her penetration and guard the three, we’ll be okay.”
Angel Goodrich, Kansas Guard:
On scouting the matchup with Colorado:
“We played them two years ago, so we know some of the players, like Chucky Jeffery, and the two pairs of twins. They’ve grown their game a lot. They were good then, and they’ve gotten better. We just want to play together as a team, and do what we have to do to get the win.”
The University of Colorado Boulder Police Department will honor its officers at the annual UCPD Awards Ceremony this evening. Among the honorees are Corporal Matt Delaria and Officer Joe Rossi, who will receive the Lifesaving Awards for intervening as a woman attempted to commit suicide. Commander Jason Wade will receive the Distinguished Service Star
Award for pulling a young man out of a burning car.
On the evening of Aug. 31, 2011, Corporal Matt Delaria and Officer Joe Rossi received a call from a woman who said her depressed friend had overdosed in an attempt to commit suicide at the College Inn, Room 103. The officers knew the College Inn campus housing was vacant that semester and believed the caller mistook it for the University Inn, a motel at 1632 Broadway. They quickly headed to the motel and spoke to a desk clerk, who confirmed the guest in Room 103 matched the name provided by the caller.
Through a partially curtained window, the officers saw the 33-year-old woman inhaling the contents of a compressed air canister before she lapsed back into unconsciousness. The officers forced entry through the window and provided immediate medical assistance as they called in paramedics. The woman had ingested a large amount of alcohol, prescription drugs and compressed air. She was taken to Boulder Community Hospital and survived. According to a letter of commendation from their sergeant, the officers’ “intimate knowledge of campus and their informed and experienced decision to check a similarly named and geographically adjacent location led to the saving of this young woman’s life.”
Distinguished Service Star Award
On Nov. 19, 2011, then-Sgt. Jason Wade discovered a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of U.S. 36 that had smoke billowing from the engine. Three young men attempted to put out the fire. Wade ordered the men away from the vehicle as he grabbed his patrol car fire extinguisher. A tire then exploded due to the intensifying heat. After Wade returned to the safety of his patrol car, the three men told him that a semi-conscious and intoxicated young man was still inside the car.
Wade returned to the vehicle, which was almost entirely engulfed by flames. Wade tried to quickly rescue the man, who was disoriented and fought Wade’s efforts. The man grabbed onto the door frame to prevent Wade from pulling him out of the car. Wade wrestled him out of the burning car. The man survived and was taken to BCH for evaluation.
Wade’s commander nominated him for the award due to his “bravery despite the imminent risk of serious harm and peril to himself.”
CU-Boulder Police Chief Joe Roy lauded the efforts of Wade, Delaria and Rossi.
“Commander Wade, Corporal Delaria and Officer Rossi should be commended for their roles during these emergencies,” Roy said. “Their quick thinking and heroic actions prevented further injury or death in these cases.”
Other awards to be presented tonight include:
· Collaboration and Determination: Presented to 12 officers for the speedy apprehension of Nathan Wood, who sexually assaulted a female CU student in October 2011 and stole women’s clothing while they were showering in residence halls. Wood was recently sentenced to 6 years in prison.
· Diligence and Resourcefulness: Presented to 8 officers for the investigation and arrests of CU students Mary Essa and Thomas Cunningham, who served marijuana-laced brownies to their professor and classmates in December 2012. The act sickened and/or hospitalized eight victims, who did not know that the brownies contained an active ingredient of marijuana. Each suspect has been charged with 18 felonies.
· Directed Problem Solving: Presented to 5 officers for their efforts to reduce alcohol/drug and other behavioral problems along the multi-use path and wooded areas of campus. These efforts resulted in the arrests or summonses of more than 110 people over the summer of 2012. Another Directed Problem Solving award will be given to 9 officers who have focused on reducing overall drug and alcohol problems.
· Boldness and Creativity: Presented to all patrol officers for their efforts to maintain pedestrian safety and prevent accidents among cars, pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders.
· Initiative and Enthusiasm: Presented to Sgt. Paul Taylor for his efforts with the Housing Liaison Program and annual prescription-drug take-back program.
· Diligence and Resourcefulness: Presented to Sgt. Aaron Siegel, who oversees security and safety management for more than 1,500 events per year on campus.
· President of the United States Visit Campaign Ribbon: Presented to active members of UCPD who served during three presidential visits over a 6-month timeframe in 2012.
“I am very proud of the outstanding work of our officers,” Roy said. “These smart men and women have proven time and again that they proactively solve problems and make every effort to protect the CU community. I am especially pleased with officers’ diligence last year in keeping the campus safe during major events such as President Obama’s three visits to CU.”
Creeping climate change in the Southwest appears to be having a negative effect on pinyon pine reproduction, a finding with implications for wildlife species sharing the same woodland ecosystems, says a University of Colorado Boulder-led study.
The new study showed that pinyon pine seed cone production declined by an average of about 40 percent at nine study sites in New Mexico and northwestern Oklahoma over the past four decades, said CU-Boulder doctoral student Miranda Redmond, who led the study. The biggest declines in pinyon pine seed cone reproduction were at the higher elevation research sites experiencing more dramatic warming relative to lower elevations, said Redmond of CU’s ecology and evolutionary biology department.
“We are finding significant declines in pinyon pine cone production at many of our study sites,” said Redmond. “The biggest declines in cone production we measured were in areas with greater increases in temperatures over the past several decades during the March to October growing season.”
The cones in which the pinyon seeds are produced are initiated two years prior to seed maturity, and research suggests the environmental stimulus for cone initiation is unseasonably low temperatures during the late summer, said Redmond. Between 1969 and 2009, unseasonably low temperatures in late summer decreased in the study areas, likely inhibiting cone initiation and development.
The study is one of the first to examine the impact of climate change on tree species like pinyon pines that, instead of reproducing annually, shed vast quantities of cones every few years during synchronous, episodic occurrences known as “masting” events. Redmond said such masting in the pinyon pine appears to occur every three to seven years, resulting in massive “bumper crops” of cones covering the ground.
In the new Ecosphere study, the researchers compared two 10-year sequences of time. In addition to showing that total pinyon pine cone production during the 2003-2012 decade had declined from the 1969-1978 decade in the study areas, the team found the production of cones during masting events also declined during that period.
Some scientists believe masting events evolved to produce a big surplus of nut-carrying cones — far too many for wildlife species to consume in a season — making it more likely the nuts eventually will sprout into pinyon pine seedlings, she said. Others have suggested masting events occur during favorable climate conditions and/or to increase pollination efficiency. “Right now we really don’t know what drives them,” Redmond said.
“Across a range of forested ecosystems we are observing widespread mortality events due to stressors such as changing climate, drought, insects and fire,” said CU’s Barger. “This study provides evidence that increasing air temperatures may be influencing the ability of a common and iconic western U.S. tree, pinyon pine, to reproduce. We would predict that declines in pinyon pine cone production may impact the long-term viability of these tree populations.”
Wildlife biologists say pinyon-juniper woodlands are popular with scores of bird and mammal species ranging from black-chinned hummingbirds to black bears. A 2007 study by researchers at the University of Northern Arizona estimated that 150 Clark’s Nutcrackers cached roughly 5 million pinyon pine nuts in a single season, benefiting not only the birds themselves but also the pines whose nuts were distributed more widely for possible germination.
For the new study, Redmond revisited nine pinyon pine study sites scattered throughout New Mexico and Oklahoma that had been studied previously in 1978 by Forcella. Both Forcella and Redmond were able to document pinyon pine masting years by counting small, concave blemishes known as “abscission scars” on individual tree branches that appeared after the cones have been dropped, she said.
Since each year in the life of a pinyon pine tree is marked by a “whorl” — a single circle of branches extending around a tree trunk — the researchers were able to bracket pinyon pine reproductive activity in the nine study areas for the 1969-1978 decade and 2003-2012 decade, which were then compared.
Pinyon pines take three growing seasons, or about 26 months, to produce mature cones from the time of cone initiation. Low elevation conifers including pinyon pines grow in water-limited environments and have been shown to have higher cone output during cool and/or wet summers, said Redmond. In addition to the climate-warming trend under way in the Southwest, the 2002-03 drought caused significant mortality in pinyon pine forests, Redmond said.
“Miranda’s ideas and accompanying results will be of value to ecologists and land managers in the deserts of the Southwest and beyond,” said Forcella, now a research agronomist in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. “The work is evidence that the University of Colorado continues to cultivate a cadre of high-caliber graduate students for which it rightfully can take tremendous pride.”
Pinyon nuts, the Southwest’s only commercial source of edible pine seeds today, were dietary staples of indigenous Americans going back millennia.
For more information on CU-Boulder’s ecology and evolutionary biology department visit http://ebio.colorado.edu.
On Sunday, February 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm, the Boulder County Regional Communications received a report of an explosion and fire at 5479 Jay Road, just outside the City of Boulder. At 11:31 pm, Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff George was first on scene, to find the home on fire. A neighbor advised Deputy George that an elderly woman lived alone in the residence. Deputy George forced entry into the home and found 83 year old, Marvyl Holder on the floor in her bedroom.
The neighbor, John Walpole, followed Deputy George into the residence and assisted in removing Marvyl out of the residence. Boulder Police Officer Ed Burke, the second responder, assisted George in carrying Marvyl away from the residence just moments before a second explosion in the residence.
Fire personnel from Boulder Rural Fire, City of Boulder Fire, Rocky Mountain Fire, Lafayette Fire and Mountain View Fire responded and extinguished the fire. The Boulder County Multi-Agency Fire Investigation Team (MAFIT) will investigate first thing this morning, but preliminary indications are pointing towards a gas leak. The home is considered to be a total loss.
Marvyl Holder and Deputy Jeff George were both evaluated by paramedics from AMR Ambulance and found to be alright, suffering from only minor smoke inhalation.
Boulder police are looking for six male suspects who caused extensive damage to the former Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, located at 1101 University, in the early-morning hours of November 17, 2012.
Video surveillance captured images of the six suspects throwing rocks and breaking windows while standing outside the former fraternity house, before pushing a table against a wall to gain entry into a room on the second floor. Once inside, the suspects kicked in a wall and set off a fire extinguisher and caused additional damage.
Damage is estimated to be around $70,000. The building is currently vacant.
A white female was seen with the suspects outside the building, but she was not seen entering.
Police are looking for any information that would help identify the suspects. Photos from the surveillance video are attached. The suspects appear to be white males, between 18 and 25 years old. (You can see more photos by clicking here).
The case number is 12-15840.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Kipp Euler at 303-441-3393. Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-444-3776. Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.
Story by B.G. Brooks, Contributing Editor, CUBuffs.com
BOULDER – Competing as a member of the Top 25 is a relatively new experience for the Colorado women’s basketball team – and that inexperience might have showed early on Saturday afternoon.
But by the end of the first half, the No. 25 Buffaloes had settled in and were playing the part of a nationally ranked team. Using a 23-3 run to close the first 20 minutes, CU took full control and crushed Utah Valley 81-45 at the Coors Events Center.
Jen Reese had a career and team-high 16 points
The win was the 700th in the women’s program’s history and kept the Buffs unbeaten (10-0) this season. It was their 23rd straight victory in regular-season non-conference games and gave them a 30-4 non-conference record under third-year coach Linda Lappe.
“It’s exciting to know where we are at this point,” Lappe said. “It’s good to go into a break without a loss . . . there have been a lot of upsets in the last week or so; we wanted to make sure that wasn’t us.”
The Buffs, she said, finally “got a feel for the game” after their shaky start and eventually “did nice things in spurts” – such as hitting the open player on offense and showing intensity on defense.
The gnarly defense was particularly apparent in the first half; Sammie Jensen, Utah Valley’s leading scorer (17.7 average) and the Great West Conference player of the year in 2011-12, was held scoreless in the first 20 minutes and finished the game with nine points.
Benefitting from finding open spots and getting crisp passes from her teammates, CU’s Jen Reese led all scorers with a career-high 16 points. She got help from Chucky Jeffery (12), Brittany Wilson (11) and Arielle Roberson (10). Jeffery also had nine rebounds and seven assists.
“I just kind of got into a little flow,” Jeffery said. “I love dishing the ball out more than anything . . . I was just playing basketball and coach wanted us to rebound, so I did what I was asked to do.”
The Buffs never trailed, but despite jumping to a 7-0 lead they didn’t open like a Top 25 team. Jeffery said the Buffs were so intent on not letting their first national ranking since 2008 affect their play that it probably did to start the game.
“We have little distractions here and there and we were able to pull through,” she said. “So that was a good thing.”
The Wolverines caused some difficulties with their matchup zone defense and switching man-to-man. “Going in, we were ready but we were a little frantic in the beginning,” said Reese, who hit six of her 10 field goal attempts and was four-of-five from the free throw line. “We just had to calm down. We knew they would switch (defensively), so it was more of us just hurting ourselves.”
But the Buffs’ defense also presented big problems for the Wolverines. Lappe said her team’s ‘D’ “kept us in the game . . . we were very solid. We wanted to hold them to 45 points and we did that. It just took a little time for our offense to catch fire and we did that with transition baskets.”
Four consecutive free throws by Reese with 8:03 left before intermission opened a seven-point lead (18-11). And with that, the Buffs were off and running. Finishing the half with its 23-3 run, CU led 37-14 at intermission.
The Buffs didn’t ease off in the second half, going up by 31 (59-28) on a three-pointer by Wilson with 12:55 remaining, then getting a layup by Rachel Hargis (nine points, seven rebounds) to extend the lead to 33 (61-28) about 40 seconds later. They led by as many as 36 twice in the final 4:30.
Freshmen Jamee Swan (eight points, career-high seven rebounds, two steals) and Kyleesha Weston (career-high eight points, three assists, two rebounds, two steals) came off the bench and contributed their most effective minutes.
Swan said her 21 minutes “gives me confidence, and I think it gives our team confidence that they can trust in us as freshmen to do what we need to do when we’re asked to do it.”
Tina Doughty led Utah Valley (4-10) with 13 points and was the only Wolverines player in double figures. Utah Valley shot only 16.7 percent (4-for-24) from the field in the first half and finished the game at 30.6 percent (15-of-49).
Meanwhile, once the Buffs got untracked, they hit 15 of their 34 first-half field goal attempts (44.1 percent) and were at 47.9 percent (34-of-71) for the afternoon.
CU outscored Utah Valley 48-20 in the paint and 16-4 on fast breaks. The Buffs converted 16 Wolverines turnovers into 20 points, committed a season-low six turnovers themselves, and outrebounded the visitors 47-30.
CU plays New Mexico next Saturday in the second game of a men’s/women’s doubleheader at the Events Center. The men’s game against Hartford begins at noon.
Tomorrow, December 19, 2012, Sheriff Joe Pelle will rescind the current Fire Ban. The recent precipitation has reduced the fire danger threat by increasing the amount of moisture in the grasses and the other fuels.
Boulder County Commissioners adopt 2013 budget
The county’s mill levy and general operating budget to remain flat for 2013
Boulder County, Colo. – The Boulder County Commissioners have adopted a budget of $319.6 million for 2013, down from $321.7 million in 2012.
The 2013 budget represents a nearly flat comparison to the one adopted in 2012, based largely on the fact that the county is in its second year of a biannual property reappraisal cycle. With property values assessed only every other year, the second year in the cycle rarely reflects much of a change in the property tax portion of the county’s projected revenue stream.
The real difference in the budget this year is reflected through a reduction in carryover funds from the year prior and the annual adjustment of revenues in funds other than the General Fund (such as the Road & Bridge Fund and Capital Expenditure Fund) which fluctuate year-to-year based on their designated purpose and funding sources.
In keeping with a flat budget, the County Commissioners have worked hard to bring expenses in line with revenues for 2013, all the while continuing to support programs popular with county residents.
As in past years, the careful and deliberate process of evaluating program requests by elected offices and departments in a public forum has led to sound fiscal decisions that allow the county to function at a high level and continue to provide excellent service to county residents with essentially no increase to the General Fund.
“The 2013 budget is a culmination of more than six months of productive discussion and input from our non-profit leaders, elected officials and department heads who work closely every day with members of the public to figure out how best to meet the needs our community,” said Cindy Domenico, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners. “We are pleased to adopt this fully balanced budget which serves as a guiding document for carrying out the values of our residents.”
Commissioner Deb Gardner said she was pleased to adopt a budget that “balances the long and short term needs of the county and works within a sustainable context to make sure that the county will stay on track for years to come in responding to the priorities set forth by the residents of Boulder County.”
Commissioner Will Toor remarked on the complexity of the county budget and praised the efforts of county leaders and staff for continuing to implement and expand on highly-desired programs for residents, even within a fiscally-constrained framework.
“Whether we look at the strong support for our non-profit community and our human services safety net programs, or the extension of the popular EnergySmart program,” which faces an end to its federal grant in mid-2013, “or the continued improvement of our county’s transportation network, including all modes of transportation, we’re very pleased with the ability to support incremental expansions of these programs despite the fiscal constraints we’re under,” said Toor.
The County Commissioners thanked staff and everyone from the public who participated in the budget process, acknowledging that the collaborative effort in creating next year’s budget made for a much better document through their efforts.
Commissioners certify mill levy
The Commissioners also today certified a mill levy of 24.645 mills, the same as the last two years, which is projected to generate property tax revenues of $134,612,456 in 2013 (up only slightly from $134,408,021 in 2012). The county’s mill levy amount represents roughly 29 percent of a property owner’s total average property tax bill within Boulder County. Other taxing entities that receive property tax revenues include (from 2012 data): school districts (53%), cities and towns (11%), and “other” fire, water and special districts (7%).
For a copy of the funding package for 2013, visit: www.bouldercounty.org/gov/budget.
Monday, December 03, 2012
On Monday, December 03, 2012 at 12:00 p.m., Sheriff Joe Pelle enacted a fire ban for;
The mountain corridor of Boulder County. The mountain corridor includes all unincorporated areas west of Highway 93 and Highway 36 (North and South Foothills Highways and Broadway Avenue in the City of Boulder) including Rabbit Mountain Open Space.
Boulder County, Colo. – A forest thinning project at Heil Valley Ranch Open Space began on Friday and will continue until June. The Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department has hired a local contractor to mechanically treat approximately 150 acres of ponderosa pine forest.
Visitors to the open space property will likely hear the operations along the Wapiti Trail and Ponderosa Loop during the next eight months. Visitors must stay on-trail to protect their safety and that of the equipment operators.
Like so many ponderosa pine forests, the area is unnaturally dense due to years of fire suppression. This forestry project will create a mosaic of openings and uneven-aged groupings of trees. The goal is to have a healthier forest that is less susceptible to insects, disease or catastrophic wild fires. The treatment involves the use of two primary machines; a harvester that fells, delimbs, and bucks the tree into standard log lengths, and a forwarder to haul wood material off-site.
For additional information, contact Forest Specialist Nick Stremel at 303-678-6290 or email@example.com.
The University of Colorado at Boulder has been awarded $1.4 million for a new study on how changes in land use, forest management and climate may affect trans-basin water diversions in Colorado and other semi-arid regions in the western United States.
The grant, part of the National Science Foundation-U.S. Department of Agriculture Water Sustainability Climate Program, was awarded to Assistant Professor Noah Molotch of the geography department. Molotch and his team will be identifying thresholds, or “tipping points,” of change in land use, forest management and climate that may compromise the sustainability of the policies and procedures that dictate the timing and quality of water diverted from Colorado’s West Slope to the Front Range.
Molotch said that in Colorado and semi-arid regions around the world, trans-basin water diversions that redirect water from areas of surplus to areas of demand are based on policy agreements and infrastructure operations made under climatic and land use conditions that may differ considerably from conditions in the near future. Measurements over the past 50 years, for example, suggest a broad-scale reduction in snowpack water storage in the western U.S. because of regional warming temperatures, a trend due in part to a shift from snowfall to rainfall, he said.
In addition, land-cover changes associated with population growth, fire suppression and mountain pine beetle outbreaks have altered the hydrology of mid-mountain ecosystems in the West, said Molotch, who also is a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. CU is teaming up with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder on the NSF-funded project.
The NSF award comes on the heels of a May 2012 agreement between water managers in Summit and Grand counties on Colorado’s West Slope and in the Denver area on how best to share water from the Colorado River basin. “This is a great example of communities that historically battled for water resources coming to the table in a good faith effort to find solutions to water allocation issues,” said Molotch. “These groups have no pretenses about the potential impacts of climate change and realize we can’t afford to bury our heads in the sand on this issue.”
Collaborators on the project include Patrick Bourgeron and Mark Williams, fellows at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, and David Gochis, Kathleen Miller and David Yates of NCAR.
A study led by Molotch published Sept. 10 in Nature Geoscience tied forest “greenness” in the western United States to fluctuating year-to-year snowpack. The study indicated mid-elevation mountain ecosystems — where people increasing are building second homes and participating in a myriad of outdoor recreational activities — are most sensitive to rising temperatures and changes in precipitation and snowmelt.
“We found that mid-elevation forests show a dramatic sensitivity to snow that fell the previous winter in terms of accumulation and subsequent melt,” said Molotch, also a fellow at INSTAAR. “If snowpack declines, forests become more stressed, which can lead to ecological changes that include alterations in the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species as well as vulnerability to perturbations like fire and beetle kill.”
As part of the new award, Molotch and his team will evaluate regional climate models in the mountain West developed at NCAR in an attempt to make temperature, precipitation and snowpack projections “more robust,” Molotch said. While the efficiency of water in trans-basin diversion projects in the western U.S. has in the past been enhanced by the natural storage of moisture in mountain snowpack that allowed for a slow, steady delivery of water into the system, warming temperatures are already causing this beneficial “drip effect” to be greatly reduced, he said.
If the winter temperatures are hovering around 15 degrees Fahrenheit and the climate warms by a few degrees, for example, there will be negligible impact on snowpack, Molotch said. But if temperatures hover near freezing, slight temperature increases can trigger earlier snowmelt, and precipitation that used to be in the form of snow turns to rain, significantly affecting trans-basin water diversion activities.
“One of the most interesting aspects of this project to me is the changes we are seeing in the ‘wildland-urban interface,’ particularly in Colorado,” he said. “There is some irony that Front Range people who have built second homes in Summit County, for example, may actually start to have an effect on the water they have relied on to be piped through the Continental Divide to the Denver area.”
In addition to providing land and water resource decision makers with projections on how future water supply and demand will change in the future, the NSF-funded project will provide a unique educational experience for graduate students, Molotch said.
“We have climate change, snowpack, changes in land use, all feeding into the pipeline that is bringing water to Colorado’s Front Range,” he said. “As the two main stressors, climate change and land use increase, there is the possibility of pushing the systems into an unsustainable state.”
BUFF GOLFERS RALLY TO FINISH SECOND IN SIMPSON INVITATIONAL
ERIE, Colo. — The University of Colorado men’s golf team tied its third-best single round in program history but came up just a little bit short in defending its title in its own 3rd Annual Mark Simpson-CU Invitational, as Pac-12 Conference rival Oregon State held off the Buffaloes’ charge in winning by two strokes.
The Beavers closed things out with a 6-under 282 score for a tournament total of 843, or 21-under par. The Buffs recorded a 13-under par 275 to jump from fourth after two rounds into the runner-up spot with an 845 score, while Colorado State held the third position it entered the day in, finishing with an 847 score. Missouri-Kansas City, the first round leader, captured fourth with an 854 score while Kansas and Texas-Arlington tied for fifth (858).
After hanging around par for the first six holes, the Buffs collectively caught fire, the four scorers playing the last dozen holes at 13-under par; three of the four shot rounds in the 60s Tuesday with the fourth posting a 2-under 70 the 7,771-yard, par-72 Colorado National Golf Club course. The 19-under team score marked the fifth-best effort in relation to par in school history for a 54-hole tournament.
“It obviously was a good day, any time you shoot the low round of the tournament in the last round it’s a good thing,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said. “We really didn’t play that well the first six or seven holes; we weren’t terrible, just not getting deep into the red numbers. But we really brought it back after that, and that shows the character of the guys on our team.
“We were in sixth if not seventh place early on, and at least 17 strokes back,” he continued. “The thing that was really gratifying was that they didn’t look any different the way they were playing at the end of the day than they did at the start of things yesterday. That’s a sign that the guys really trust in their abilities, are very even keel. Today, we got a little mojo going and were able to get things really going without our best player scoring as well as he’s capable of.”
“Oregon State’s got a really good team, so we were pleased that were able to push them at the end.”
Senior Derek Fribbs led the Buffaloes here with a third place individual finish, finishing up with a 5-under 67 that gave him a 207 total for the meet, or 9-under par. He closed things out with an eagle, three birdies and 14 pars Tuesday, scoring a team-best 13 birdies which were also the eighth most in the 80-man field. He tied for second in par-5 scoring (7-under) and was seventh in par-4 scoring (3-under) while playing CNGC’s difficult par-3’s at just one over, which was 10th best among all the participants.
“Derek really played consistent,” Edwards noted. “When he made any mistakes at all, they were small ones, which in turn really contributed to him playing so consistent. He’s continued to get better over his four years here and it’s really starting to come together for him overall. He’s pretty good at a lot of things and has very minimal weaknesses in his game anymore.”
Sophomore David Oraee tied for seventh, as he put a 69 into the books in the final round for a 54-hole score of 210, or 6-under par. He had five birdies and two bogey with 13 pars Tuesday, as he closed with 12 birdies over the three rounds, tied for 10th most in the field, with his 37 pars a team-high. He was fifth in par-3 scoring (1-under) and 11th in par-5 scoring (5-under) while playing the par-4 holes even.
Both Fribbs and Oraee recorded par or better on 49 of the 54 holes played here; each had four bogeys and a double for their only holes over par.
Senior Beau Schoolcraft fashioned a 3-under 69 in his final round, enabling him to crack par for the tournament, tying for 20th at 2-under 214. He had six birdies, nine pars and three bogeys his final time around CNGC, the six birdies a team-best in the final round; he scored nine of those with 37 pars, the 12th-most in the field, over 54 holes. He played the par-5s at 6-under, tied for fifth-best, with his 1-over on the 12 par-3s for the tourney tying for 10th best.
Freshman Philip Juel-Berg ended things with a 2-under 70, giving him an even-par 216 scorecard overall; he led the field in par-3 scoring, playing the dozen holes collectively at 3-under. He recorded 10 birdies in the meet (four on Tuesday), with 36 pars (tied for 19th) against six bogeys and a double.
Senior Jason Burstyn, a two-time champion in as many tournaments entering CU’s home tourney, wound up tying for 52nd after closing with a 4-over 76 for a 6-over 222 total. He had his moments but never got things rolling like he did at the Ballyneal Challenge or at the Air Force Invitational, finishing up Tuesday with a birdie, 13 pars, three bogeys and just the second double bogey (out of 144 holes) this fall. He had six birdies and 37 pars overall, against 10 bogeys and the lone double.
Was Edwards concerned about his No. 1 player’s performance? Not at all. As the seventh-year CU coach was wrapping things up some two-plus hours after the tournament ended, the lone golfer at the far end of the driving range was his two-time medalist in 2012.
Four Buffaloes played as individuals, typical for the host school of a tournament to get its entire eligible roster some added experience. The newest Buffalo made the biggest splash, as junior Johnny Hayes finished ninth overall with a 5-under 211 score after wrapping things up with a 1-over 73. The transfer from Towson (Md.) State had 11 birdies and 30 pars while finishing high in par-4 (2-under, 16th) and par-5 (5-under, 11th).
“He did a great job in his first college tournament in almost two years,” Edward noted. “He spent some time away from the game but missed it so much that he wanted to get back into it. He had some very good results back east in a couple of amateur competitions, but this was still impressive for his first time out. He caught everyone’s attention.”
Redshirt freshman Drew Trujillo tied for 35th (75—218, 2-over) scoring 15 pars and three bogeys in his final round; he had nine birdies and 35 pars with nine bogeys and a double for his three rounds. Another redshirt frosh, Tyler Engel, finished 74th after closing with a 77 for a 13-over 229 total; he had five birds and 35 pars against 12 bogeys, a double and a quad.
Freshman Ross Thornton wrapped things up with a 6-over 78; he finished in the 80th position (last) as he was disqualified in the second round for signing for an incorrect scorecard.
CSU’s Kirby Pettit was the medalist, but he may be thinking what could have been. He opened with a bogey and the settled down with a par – and then caught fire. He played the next five holes at 5-under (an eagle and three birdies), then scored another eagle and two more birds on the back for a tournament low score of 8-under 64. That combined with a 71-67 effort on Monday gave him a 14-under 202 total, good for a three-shot win over Oregon State’s Brian Jung.
The Buffaloes turn right around and will play in the University of New Mexico’s Tucker Invitational, traveling to Albuquerque for the 54-hole tournament this Friday (36 holes) and Saturday (18). Fourteen teams will participate in he Tucker, including two schools who played here this week, Utah and Wyoming.
BUFFALO INDIVIDUALS (*—played as an individual)
3. Derek Fribbs………………………… 70-70-67—207
T7. David Oraee…………………………. 73-68-69—210
9. *Johnny Hayes……………………… 71-67-73—211
T20. Beau Schoolcraft…………………… 72-73-69—214
T27. Philip Juel-Berg…………………….. 75-71-70—216
T35. *Drew Trujillo……………………….. 71-72-75—218
T52. Jason Burstyn………………………. 75-71-76—222
74. *Tyler Engel…………………………. 83-69-77—229
80. *Ross Thornton…………………….. 74-DQ-78
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS
1. Kirby Pettitt, Colorado State……… 71-67-64—202
2. Brian Jung, Oregon State………….. 67-71-67—205
3. Derek Fribbs, Colorado………….. 70-70-67—207
4. Nathan Hughes, UMKC…………….. 67-68-73—208
T5. Chris Gilbert, Kansas……………….. 69-71-69—209
T5. Korbin Kuehn, UMKC……………….. 68-70-71—209
T7. David Oraee, Colorado…………… 73-68-69—210
T7. Riley Fleming, UT-Arlington……….. 67-72-71—210
9. Johnny Hayes, Colorado………… 71-67-73—211
T10. Sean Walsh, Gonzaga………………. 69-69-74—212
T10. Oskar Arvidsson, Denver………….. 70-69-73—212
T10. Nick Chianello, Oregon State……… 69-71-72—212
T10. David Fink, Oregon State………….. 72-69-71—212
T10. Kyle Westmoreland, Air Force……. 73-70-69—212
T10. Victor Doka, Denver…………………. 70-70-72—212
T10. Hunter Brown, UT-Arlington………. 72-68-72—212
T10. Alex Gutesha, Kansas………………. 70-70-72—212
1. Oregon State…………………….. 284-277-282—843
2. Colorado………………………….. 290-280-275—845
3. Colorado State…………………… 289-279-279—847
4. Missouri-Kansas City………….. 280-282-292—854
5. Kansas…………………………….. 287-283-288—858
5. Texas-Arlington………………….. 287-285-286—858
7. Northern Colorado………………. 292-283-286—861
8. Denver……………………………… 295-278-292—865
9. Air Force…………………………… 295-284-288—867
10. Gonzaga……………………………. 296-283-290—869
11. Houston Baptist…………………. 290-294-286—870
12. Texas State………………………. 295-288-290—873
13. Wyoming………………………….. 308-282-286—876
14. Utah………………………………… 287-299-297—883
A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study that ties forest “greenness” in the western United States to fluctuating year-to-year snowpack indicates mid-elevation mountain ecosystems are most sensitive to rising temperatures and changes in precipitation and snowmelt.
Forests where people live and play to be hit hardest
Led by CU-Boulder researcher Ernesto Trujillo and Assistant Professor Noah Molotch, the study team used the data — including satellite images and ground measurements — to identify the threshold where mid-level forests sustained primarily by moisture change to higher-elevation forests sustained primarily by sunlight and temperature. Being able to identify this “tipping point” is important because it is in the mid-level forests — at altitudes from roughly 6,500 to 8,000 feet — where many people live and play in the West and which are associated with increasing wildfires, beetle outbreaks and increased tree mortality, said Molotch.
“Our results provide the first direct observations of the snowpack-forest connections across broad spatial scales,” said Molotch, also a research scientist at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “Finding the tipping point between water-limited forests and energy-limited forests defines for us the region of the greatest sensitivity to climate change — the mid-elevation forests — which is where we should focus future research.”
While the research by Molotch and his team took place in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, it is applicable to other mountain ranges across the West, he said. The implications are important, since climate studies indicate the snowpack in mid-elevation forests in the Western United States and other similar forests around the world has been decreasing in the past 50 years because of regional warming.
Forests are drying and becoming more vulnerable
“We found that mid-elevation forests show a dramatic sensitivity to snow that fell the previous winter in terms of accumulation and subsequent melt,” said Molotch, also a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “If snowpack declines, forests become more stressed, which can lead to ecological changes that include alterations in the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species as well as vulnerability to perturbations like fire and beetle kill.”
A paper on the subject was published online Sept. 9 in Nature Geosciences. Co-authors on the study include Ernesto Trujillo of INSTAAR and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, Michael Golden and Anne Kelly of the University of California, Irvine, and Roger Bales of the University of California, Merced. The National Science Foundation and NASA funded the study.
Molotch said the study team attributed about 50 percent of the greenness in mid-elevation forests by satellites to maximum snow accumulation from the previous winter, with the other 50 percent caused by conditions like soil depth, soil nutrients, temperature and sunlight. “The strength of the relationship between forest greenness and snowpack from the previous year was quite surprising to us,” Molotch said.
The research team initially set out to identify the various components of drought that lead to vegetation stress, particularly in mountain snowpack, said Molotch. “We went after snowpack in the western U.S. because it provides about 60 to 80 percent of the water input in high elevation mountains.”
The team used 26 years of continuous data from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, a space-borne sensor flying on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite, to measure the forest greenness. The researchers compared it to long-term data from 107 snow stations maintained by the California Cooperative Snow Survey, a consortium of state and federal agencies.
In addition, the researchers used information gathered from several “flux towers” in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, which measure the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. Instruments on the towers, which are roughly 100 feet high, allowed them to measure the sensitivity of both mid-level and high-level mountainous regions in both wet and dry years — data that matched up well with the satellite and ground data, he said.
“The implications of this study are profound when you think about the potential for ecological change in mountainous environments in the West in the not too distant future,” said Molotch, an assistant professor in the geography department. “If we take our study and project forward in time when climate models are calling for warming and drying conditions, the implication is that forests will be increasingly water-stressed in the future and thus more vulnerable to fires and insect outbreaks.
“When you put this into the context of recent losses in Colorado and elsewhere in the West to forest fire devastation, then it becomes something we really have to pay attention to,” he said. “This tipping-point elevation is very likely to migrate up the mountainsides as the climate warms.”