Posts tagged Texas
Buffs ten swings away from first place
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Colorado men’s golf team opened strong here Thursday in the NCAA Central/Fayetteville Regional, with the Buffaloes in sixth place and definitely in contention for a top five finish and the berth into the NCAA Finals that comes with it.
No. 33 Illinois leads the pack with a 6-under 282 score, thanks to the efforts of two true freshmen that combined to go 11 strokes under what some call the “happy side of par.” No. 4 Texas is second (285), followed by No. 11 Oklahoma State (286), No. 22 Kent State (288) and No. 12 and host Arkansas (290).
The Buffaloes, ranked No. 58 by GolfStat and No. 67 by Golfweek, turned in a 4-over 292 to stand in sixth. No. 20 SMU is five back of CU, with the remaining seven teams in the field all at 300 or higher.
The top five teams out of 14 competing will advance to the NCAA Finals, set for May 28-June 2 in Atlanta, Ga., as will the top two individuals not associated with the five teams that qualify.
The four Buffs who contributed to the team score made the turn at 1-over; they had a collective hiccup on the first four holes on the front side (4-over), but played the last five at 1-under. The end result was Colorado placing four in the top 25 through 18 holes, matched only by Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, three of the nation’s top 12 teams.
“It was definitely a good start, which we chalk up to our primary focus today being was to be patient and have a great attitude,” head coach Roy Edwards said. “The guys were phenomenal with that. I’m really proud of them, and that’s really the main reason we enjoyed a solid round.
“We need to do the same thing for tomorrow,” he continued. “That’s to be patient, take it one shot at a time. Right now, they’re only thinking about their first tee shot (Friday). You cannot get ahead of yourself here. It rained overnight and the course was really soft, so it played as easiest as it’s going to get today. The scores are likely not going to be as low, so the emphasis will be on the importance of being patient. That’s what we’ll stress.”
Sophomore David Oraee led the Buffaloes with a 1-under 71, which has him tied for ninth individually. He had a steady round with four birdies and 11 pars against three bogeys; the four birds tied for 10th most in the field. Playing to even par much of the round, he finished with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 with a bogeys sandwiched in-between to get it into red numbers on the 7,251-yard, par-72 The Blessings Golf Club course layout.
Freshman Philip Juel-Berg continued his stellar rookie season, posting a 1-over 73, which has him tied for 20th. He had three birdies, 11 pars and four bogeys on his day, as he made the turn at 3-over but played the front side at 2-under, thanks to birds on Nos. 6 and 9. There are 14 freshmen in the field; Juel-Berg finished currently is seventh among them, with three of the six ahead of him recording even-par rounds of 72.
CU’s No. 1 player and stroke average leader, senior Jason Burstyn, fashioned a 2-over 74, tying him for 25th; he had four birdies like Oraee, along with nine pars, four bogeys and one double. The latter came on No. 6, a 418-yard, par-4 that played as the day’s fourth toughest hole; that pushed him to 4-over on the day, but he bounced back and closed with birdies on Nos. 7 and 9.
Senior Derek Fribbs also shot a 74, with three birdies and 11 pars against three bogeys and a double. He got off to one of the hot starts of the day, standing 3-under after he birdied Nos. 12, 13 and 15 – a par-5, a par-4 and a par-3, respectively – but came back down to Earth with bogeys on No. 17 and then on Nos. 1 and 4. He was cruising along at even par until his final hole of the day, the 535-yard, par-5 No. 9, where he doubled after hitting his drive into a hazard. It was his first double bogey in six rounds.
“I was hitting it in their close and utilizing the slopes,” Fribbs said of his start. “But after a while, the putts weren’t falling. I still had opportunities on the back nine, I just couldn’t make any putts to take full advantage of things. The course played a little easier today than expected because you could hold your shots better than we thought, but we also had good course management today.”
Junior Johnny Hayes shot an 8-over 80, tying him for 60th, as he recorded two birdies and nine pars against five bogeys, a double and a triple. He scored the latter two in his first four holes to get to 5-over quickly, but settled down over the final 14 holes.
“Johnny had a rough start, but regrouped and then held it together pretty well for a bad start,” Edwards said. “For the most part, any time anyone made a mistake, they worked hard to make a bogey and nothing worse.”
Hayes certainly wasn’t alone in his struggles; the average score by the non-scorer for all 14 teams on Thursday was an 81.6; he actually tied for the fourth lowest as only three managed to break 80. Despite his troubles, he played the par-3 holes at a collective 1-under, tied for eighth best in the field.
Illinois freshman Charlie Danielson turned in the best round of the day to take the individual lead, as the 2012 Wisconsin state high school champion opened on the back nine and shot a 30, including five birdies over a seven hole span; he added two more birdies on the front side to finish with a 7-under 65. Freshmen dominated the top of the leaderboard Thursday, with Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge tied for second (67) and Illinois’ Thomas Detry fourth (68).
The field has been re-paired according to score for the second round; Colorado, the No. 10 seed here, will tee it up off the No. 1 tee beginning at 7:20 a.m. MDT with Kent State (No. 5 seed) and Arkansas (No. 2), who occupy the fourth and fifth spots ahead of the Buffs. The final round is set for a 7:50 a.m. start on Saturday.
CU media release
CU is in the ITA College Tennis Rankings for the first time in the regular season since April 2010.
The Buffaloes, ranked No. 75, join nine other Pac-12 Conference teams in the rankings. Colorado holds a 7-11 overall, 2-5 Pac-12 record, tying for sixth in conference standings. With three matches left in the season, the Buffs have already matched their 2011-12 win total.
“It’s exciting for the program, and it’s exciting for the players,” CU head coach Nicole Kenneally said. “It’s been a few years since we’ve been included in the national rankings. I think it’s a testament to all the hard work the players have put in during the fall semester and in this spring semester. It shows their continued engagement in the process of learning and getting better in every match and every practice. I’m excited for the program.”
The most recently the Buffs have been ranked in the regular season was when they concluded the 2009-10 regular season against No. 19 Texas. The Buffs went into the match ranked No. 68 and finished the season with an 11-13 overall, 3-8 Big 12 record and a No. 72 ranking.
The Buffs have marked several milestones this year. They earned their first ever Pac-12 win on March 10 with a 4-2 win over Arizona, breaking a 26-match regular season conference losing streak. This season, the Buffs have taken down two out of eight ranked opponents. CU beat No. 62 Stephen F. Austin 6-1 on February 2, marking their first win over a ranked opponent since the then-ranked No. 55 Buffs defeated No. 71 Denver on February 1, 2010.
After facing a tough stretch versus ranked Pac-12 teams, the Buffs got a big win over No. 59 Oregon last weekend. The 5-2 victory over the Ducks marks the highest ranked opponent the Buffs have defeated since beating then-ranked No. 46 New Mexico on February 7, 2009. All nine of CU’s most recent opponents have either been ranked, had at least one ranked player or both (as is the case for six of the teams, including Oregon). Of the teams the Buffs have faced this season, 11 hold a place the current rankings, with five ranked in the top 25.
The Buffs conclude their regular season against stiff competition. CU takes on No. 70 Washington State at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 5 and No. 45 Washington at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 7. They end the season against No. 63 Utah at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 20. All matches will be held at the CU South Campus Tennis Complex unless weather moves play indoors.
CU media release
BOULDER – Colorado sophomore guard Lexy Kresl was named to the 2013 Pac-12 Conference Women’s Basketball All-Academic second team, the league office announced on Tuesday.
Junior center Rachel Hargis received honorable mention to the all-academic squad.
To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average and either be a starter or a significant contributor.
Kresl, a native of Paradise Valley, Ariz., was the only underclassman out of the 10 student-athletes that made one of the all-academic squads. She averaged 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game this season and led the Buffaloes in 3-point field goals with 34. Kresl owns a 3.52 GPA and is majoring in integrative physiology.
Hargis was Colorado’s top shot blocker with 34 while averaging 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. A psychology major, the Robinson, Texas, native sports a 3.06 GPA.
PAC-12 ALL-ACADEMIC – WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Chelsea Bridgewater, UTAH Sr. 3.81 Psychology/Political Science
Kristi Kingma, WASH Sr. 3.94 Communication
Rachel Messer, UTAH Sr. 3.83 Management
Taryn Wicijowski, UTAH Jr. 3.93 Biology/Psychology
Mariah Williams, UCLA Sr. 3.89 Political Science
Layshia Clarendon, CAL Sr. 3.47 American Studies
Katie Grad, WSU Sr. 3.80 Sport Management
Lexy Kresl, COLO So. 3.52 Integrative Physiology
Eliza Normen, ASU Fr. 3.57 Biomedical Engineering
Carly Noyes, WSU Sr. 3.49 Elementary Education
Women’s Basketball Honorable Mention All-Academic
Ireti Amojo, Jr., WSU; Liz Brenner, So., ORE; Joy Burke, Jr., ASU; Talia Caldwell, Sr., CAL; Amanda Delgado, So.,
ORE; Ciera Dunbar, So. UTAH; Janae Fulcher, Sr., ASU; Cassie Harberts, Jr., USC; Rachel Hargis, Jr., COLO; Toni
Kokenis, Jr., STAN; Thea Lemberger, Jr., UCLA; Jordan Loera, So., ORE; Danielle Love, Jr., ORE; Mikayla Lyles, Jr., CAL; Christina Marinacci, Sr., USC; Alyssa Martin, Jr., OSU; Chiney Ogwumike, Jr., STAN; Kate Oliver, Jr., USC; Erica Payne, So., STAN; Eliza Pierre, Sr., CAL; Michelle Plouffe, Jr., UTAH; Mikaela Ruef, Sr., STAN; Bonnie Samuelson, So., STAN; Mercedes Wetmore, Jr., WASH; Aminah Williams, So., WASH.
By B.G. Brooks, CUBuffs.com Contributing Editor
BOULDER – Back in mid-November, coach Tad Boyle and his young Colorado Buffaloes worked up a significant reservoir of the stuff along the drizzly, dank South Carolina coast, unexpectedly winning the Charleston Classic.
When the Baby Buffs returned with it to the Rockies, Boyle found them – to quote the poet – “always in want.” And Sunday afternoon in their coach’s den, their want was rewarded.
Colorado will play Illinois in the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Austin, Texas. The Buffs are a No. 10 seed, the Illini a No. 7. It is CU’s 12th overall NCAA appearance, the second consecutive trip to the Big Dance, and the first time for back-to-back appearances by the Buffs on March’s majestic college dance card in 50 years (1961-62/1962-63).
Before their successful stint in Charleston, Boyle conceded if this was an NCAA Tournament team he couldn’t see it coming.
“I wasn’t sure,” he said after Sunday’s early, anxious moments had passed. “I’ll be honest with you, when I looked at our schedule before the season started, after Europe, I was thinking 15 to 17 wins – somewhere in that neighborhood. Less than that and I think we would have underachieved, over that I think maybe we overachieved, just because of our youth and our schedule early.
“What happens is, you win early like we did in Charleston, we beat some good teams and you start getting greedy. You want a little bit more and a little bit more. Once that happened, I think my expectations, our fans’ expectations, everybody’s expectations go up.”
Boyle is very careful, very crafty not to hitch his expectations to those circulating outside the Coors Events Center. But this time, he might have found it difficult not to. He saw what his third CU team might be if it improved month to month, and by the final week of the regular season – that would be before an ugly home loss to Oregon State – he had seen indications that if it didn’t repeat as Pac-12 tournament champions, it could be among the NCAA’s 37 at-large entries.
And that’s as much a tribute to his upgrade of CU hoops as was winning four games in four days last March in L.A.
“This is a hard tournament to get into,” Boyle said. “We can’t ever take this for granted. This is the first back-to-back NCAA Tournaments (for CU) since the early ‘60s – a long, long time ago . . . so in the modern era, the first back-to-back. We don’t want it to be the last. I think it’s a great step forward for our program to get an at-large bid. Obviously we’d rather win the Pac-12 Tournament, but the fact we didn’t and we got in shows some respect (by the Selection Committee).”
That respect didn’t show itself for what seemed a painfully long time Sunday afternoon. The CBS Selection Show went through a pair of 15-minute segments in announcing the Midwest and South brackets before “Colorado” flashed on the screen opposite Illinois in the East.
During their half-hour wait, Boyle and his upperclassmen were flashing back to two years ago in the same room, when a festive Selection Sunday watch party turned funereal when the Buffs were spurned. Angst built on this Sunday when Pac-12 champ Oregon, which had defeated Oregon less than 24 hours earlier, was relegated to a No. 12 seed in the Midwest.
“I was sitting next to Andre (Roberson, junior forward) and we were both getting nervous,” Boyle recalled. “All the guys who were here two years ago . . . the rest of the guys don’t have any idea, but those guys do.”
The younger guys, however, were not sitting at ease. “I don’t know if I can even describe it,” sophomore guard Askia Booker said. “Your ears get hot, sweat starts coming down your head . . . you’re looking at teammates and they’re trying to keep themselves composed. It’s hard, nerve-wracking. But once you’re in, it’s all joy.”
Boyle’s nerves had everything to do with Selection Sunday 2011, but he added, “The fortunate thing was this was a new year, new team . . . a whole new deal. Logically – and I’m a pretty logical person – it shouldn’t have had anything to do with it. But emotionally, it’s human nature. You know how it works. We’re all scarred and sometimes you’re afraid of reopening those old wounds.”
They stayed closed and when the Buffs were in, with their opponent, date and destination, the Boyle den erupted in cheers.
“I’m happy for Andre getting to go back to Texas (he’s from San Antonio),” Boyle said. “Austin is a great place to go this time of year, heck, anytime of year for that matter. We’re very fortunate, and we’re playing a team from one of the toughest conferences in the country.”
Roberson, the nation’s leading rebounder who showed few effects at the Pac-12 tournament from a viral illness that sidelined him for the previous two games, called returning to his home state “definitely great. It’s a double for me. This is a great feeling, especially after what happened two years ago. We’re going to go and show everybody why we’re one of the best.”
One of Roberson’s personal goals this season is to advance to at least the Sweet Sixteen, and he believes “we can do that this year with the team we’ve got and the talent we have . . . I won’t say we overachieved, but we had a lot of young guys. We started to rebuild and I definitely feel we did a great job this year.”
Being seeded 10th was in the neighborhood where Boyle believed the Buffs might land – and he likes that spot.
“Quite frankly, I was hoping for a ten or eleven more than an eight or a nine,” he said. “You face usually a No. 1 seed (if you win the first game) and sometimes that No. 1 seed, they try and keep them close to home. They really put a lot of stock in those No. 1 seeds and once it starts going down from there, the part of the country is less important.
“So I thought certainly with a ten or eleven seed, your first-round opponent is maybe a little bit better, but your second-round opponent – now, they’re still going to be good, Miami is a No. 2 seed and won the ACC and the ACC Tournament – but you never know what’s going to happen in this thing. That’s what makes this tournament so special – the upsets. If a ten seed like Colorado beats a seven seed like Illinois, it’s not really considered an upset. But if a fifteen (seed) beats a two, it’s a major upset. Those eight-nine games are flips of the coin. We’re just elated to be a part of it.”
CU (21-11) and Illinois (22-12) have only played four games, with the Illini winning three. Their last meeting was in 1987 in Champaign, where the home team won 69-65. If the Buffs advance to the second round, they catch either Miami (Fla.) or Pacific; they’ve faced Miami once (a 73-66 CU win in Miami in 1957), but have never faced Pacific.
Illinois finished 8-10 in the Big Ten Conference and was ousted from the league tournament by Indiana 80-64. But the Illini defeated the Hoosiers 74-72 during the Big Ten regular season, as well as winning at Gonzaga 85-74 during non-conference play. Both Indiana and Gonzaga wound up as No. 1 NCAA seeds.
“They’re a very good team from one of the best leagues in the country if not the best,” Boyle said of Illinois. “They beat Gonzaga at Gonzaga and I don’t think anybody else did that this year. They’re a quality basketball team and we’ve got our work cut out for us. Whoever you play in this tournament, you’re going to play somebody good.”
Before Sunday’s Selection Show, Boyle asked his coordinator of operations, Bill Cartun, to start compiling tape on eight or nine possible NCAA opponents. Illinois was on Cartun’s list, so Boyle and his staff are a step ahead in that area. CU’s Illini scouting report will fall to assistant Mike Rohn.
The Buffs’ NCAA experience last March started and ended in Albuquerque, where they defeated UNLV before being sent home by Baylor. Boyle said the biggest lesson learned from that trip was to focus on one game, one opponent: “Not looking ahead is the biggest thing; there are no tomorrows.”
Playing in the moment is paramount, just as living in it on Sunday in Boyle’s den was excruciating.
“Everything you do as coach, and our players do, day in and day out in practice, all the jump shots, all the wind sprints, all the defensive drills – everything that we do kind of points to this day,” Boyle said. “It’s probably more important than it should be, but that’s the world we live in. You can’t bury your head in the sand. When it comes down to one day, one decision and it’s out of your hands, it’s nerve-wracking.”
When the Buffs were officially in, their coach reminded them, “It’s a heck of a lot easier when we win the Pac-12 tournament; there’s a lot less drama in this room.”
But that’s next season’s goal. A more immediate one awaits in Austin.
DINWIDDIE, SCOTT EARN ALL-PAC-12 HONORS
The standout from San Antonio, Texas, is CU’s first-ever defensive player of the year award recipient. Roberson was also named one of 10 players to the conference first team, in addition to being named one of the five players to the all-defensive team.
It’s the second year the conference coaches have named Roberson a first-team and all-defensive team selection.
Roberson (6’7”, 210-pound, San Antonio, Texas/Wagner HS) was a force on defense for CU this season, as the Buffs limited their opponents to a Pac-12 low 62.2 points per game in league play. He led the conference with 11.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game, while also contributing 1.4 blocked shots per game (8th in the Pac-12). His 1,019 career rebounds are second all-time at Colorado.
Roberson leads the nation in rebounding and ranks among the top-25 in steals per game. Also on the national level, he has recorded 10 rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 10 games this year, twice as many as any other Division I player. He’s the first CU player to average a double-double (10.8 ppg., 11.5 rpg.) in back-to-back years since Shaun Vandiver (1989-91).
Dinwiddie (6’6”, 190-pound, Woodland Hills, Calif./Taft HS) earned first-team honors for the first time in his collegiate career after leading the Buffs in scoring with a 15.4 points per game average (7th in Pac-12). His conference scoring per game (16 ppg.) ranks sixth, and he is fifth in free throw percentage (82.2) and 11th in assists (3.0).
He leads the Buffs with seven 20-point scoring games (four of those in the Pac-12), tops CU in assists (91, 3.0 apg.) and at the free throw line (82.2%). He has led the team in scoring 13 times. The conference honor is Dinwiddie’s second straight after bring named to the second team as a freshman.
Roberson and Dinwiddie are the first CU pair named to the conference first team since 1968-69 when Cliff Meely and Gordon Tope were named to the Big 8 Conference first team. In fact, Ken Charlton and Jim Davis (1962-63), and Charlton and Wilky Gilmore (1961-62) were the other tandems in the same year named conference first team.
Scott (6’10”, 215-pound, Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer HS) is CU’s second selection to the all-Pac-12 freshmen team in as many years (Dinwiddie). His initial season as a Buff has been a successful one; he ranked second in team field goal percentage (48.7), free throw percentage (75.3), and rebounding (5.4).
Scott has started 27 of 28 games in which he has played. He is also fourth in scoring (10.7 ppg) with 16 games in double figures and a pair of double-doubles.
The other major conference awards were as follows: California junior guard Allen Crabbe – Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Year; Arizona State guard Jahii Carson and UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad – Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year; Stanford junior forward Dwight Powell – Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year; and Dana Altman of Oregon –John Wooden Coach of the Year.
Chucky Jeffery, Jen Reese, Brittany Wilson, Rachel Hargis also earned all-league honors
Senior guard Chucky Jeffery earned All-Pac-12 honors for the second consecutive season while junior guard Brittany Wilson was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Roberson was also named to the five-member All-Freshman team.
Sophomore forward Jen Reese and Roberson earned honorable mention to the All-Pac-12 team. Contributing to one of the top defenses in the Pac-12, Jeffery, Roberson and junior center Rachel Hargis all received honorable mention to the All-Defensive Team.
Roberson, a 6-foot-1-inch forward from San Antonio, is a five-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week this season, winning that award more than any other peer in the league. She is second on the team and ranks 15th in the Pac-12 in scoring at 12.4 points per game. She tops the Buffaloes in free-throws made and attempted (92-of-136) and is second in rebounding at 5.8 per outing. Roberson is one of the league’s better offensive rebounders with a team-best 86, ranking seventh on the league charts.
Roberson’s Freshman of the Year honor is the first of its kind for the Buffaloes in any conference. However, CU had four Big Eight Conference Newcomer of the Year winners, two of which were upperclassmen and two freshmen (Bridget Turner, 1986; Shelley Sheetz, 1992).
Jeffery, a 5-10 guard from Colorado Springs, Colo., leads Colorado in scoring (13.6 ppg), assists (4.0 apg), rebounds (8.6 rpg) and steals (2.3 spg). Jeffery has 10 double-doubles on the season, eight of which have come during conference play. She is prominent on the Pac-12 leaderboard ranking fifth in steals, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3), overall rebounding and defensive rebounds (6.6 drpg), 10th in scoring and 13th in free-throw percentage (.707).
Jeffery is the fifth Colorado player to win multiple all-conference first-team honors. Lisa Van Goor (Intermountain and Big Eight) and Shelley Sheetz (Big Eight) each won three while Tera Bjorklund and Jackie McFarland both won two (Big 12). She is also a two-time Media All-Pac-12 pick.
Wilson, a 5-7 guard from Long Beach, Calif., anchors one of the Pac-12’s best defenses, which is on pace to smash team records for scoring and field-goal percentage defense. She consistently draws the other team’s best back court player and has repeatedly held her opponent well below their season averages. Wilson has 42 steals on the season, helping a CU defense that averages 10 per game, ranking second in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes also rank second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (53.7 ppg) and third in field-goal percentage defense (.348).
Reese, a 6-2 sophomore, from Clackamas, Ore., is one of the Pac-12’s top bench players averaging 8.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, both figures ranking third on the team. She was an honorable mention to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team in 2012. Hargis, a 6-4 junior from Robinson, Texas, tops Colorado and ranks 12th in the Pac-12 in blocked shots at 1.1 per contest. She also has a career season-best 25 steals.
First Conference Weekly Honor For Junior Forward
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – University of Colorado junior forward André Roberson has been named the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 10-16, the conference office announced Monday afternoon.
Roberson tallied his fifth double-double of the season in Colorado’s only game of the week, a 50-43 win at Fresno State. Roberson scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed a career-best 20 rebounds. He shot 7-of-12 from the field with an additional three assists and one steal on the night.
Roberson grabbed his first PAC 12 honors for a 20-rebound night.
The San Antonio, Texas, native is the first Buff to have 20 boards in one game in more than a decade. His total is the most by a Pac-12 player this season and the most for a Pac-12 player in four years. The first road win of the season moved the Buffs to an 8-2 record, matching its best start since the 2001-02 campaign.
This is Roberson’s first career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor, and the third all-time selection for Colorado. He is the second CU player to be named conference player of the week this year.
Roberson is also looking to become the school’s first player since Shaun Vander (1989-91) to average a double-double in back-to-back seasons. Entering Friday’s home game against Northern Arizona (Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network), Roberson is averaging 12. 1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.
The 20-rebound performance against the Bulldogs was the 17th 20-rebound performance in CU history and tied for the fourth-most in a game away from home. It’s also the first 20-rebound performance in a CU road game in almost 52 years, since Roger Voss had 27 at Missouri on Feb. 4, 1961, and most away from home since Jamahl Mosley had 20 versus Baylor in Kansas City on March 8, 2001.
The blanket of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted to its lowest extent ever recorded since satellites began measuring it in 1979, according to the University of Colorado Boulder’s National Snow and Ice Data Center.
On Aug. 26, the Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million square miles, or 4.10 million square kilometers. The number is 27,000 square miles, or 70,000 square kilometers below the record low daily sea ice extent set Sept. 18, 2007. Since the summer Arctic sea ice minimum normally does not occur until the melt season ends in mid- to late September, the CU-Boulder research team expects the sea ice extent to continue to dwindle for the next two or three weeks, said Walt Meier, an NSID scientist.
“It’s a little surprising to see the 2012 Arctic sea ice extent in August dip below the record low 2007 sea ice extent in September,” he said. “It’s likely we are going to surpass the record decline by a fair amount this year by the time all is said and done.”
On Sept. 18, 2007, the September minimum extent of Arctic sea ice shattered all satellite records, reaching a five-day running average of 1.61 million square miles, or 4.17 million square kilometers. Compared to the long-term minimum average from 1979 to 2000, the 2007 minimum extent was lower by about a million square miles — an area about the same as Alaska and Texas combined, or 10 United Kingdoms.
While a large Arctic storm in early August appears to have helped to break up some of the 2012 sea ice and helped it to melt more quickly, the decline seen in in recent years is well outside the range of natural climate variability, said Meier. Most scientists believe the shrinking Arctic sea ice is tied to warming temperatures caused by an increase in human-produced greenhouse gases pumped into Earth’s atmosphere.
CU-Boulder researchers say the old, thick multi-year ice that used to dominate the Arctic region has been replaced by young, thin ice that has survived only one or two melt seasons — ice which now makes up about 80 percent of the ice cover. Since 1979, the September Arctic sea ice extent has declined by 12 percent per decade.
The record-breaking Arctic sea ice extent in 2012 moves the 2011 sea ice extent minimum from the second to the third lowest spot on record, behind 2007. Meier and his CU-Boulder colleagues say they believe the Arctic may be ice-free in the summers within the next several decades.
“The years from 2007 to 2012 are the six lowest years in terms of Arctic sea ice extent in the satellite record,” said Meier. “In the big picture, 2012 is just another year in the sequence of declining sea ice. We have been seeing a trend toward decreasing minimum Arctic sea ice extents for the past 34 years, and there’s no reason to believe this trend will change.”
The Arctic sea ice extent as measured by scientists is the total area of all Arctic regions where ice covers at least 15 percent of the ocean surface, said Meier.
Scientists say Arctic sea ice is important because it keeps the polar region cold and helps moderate global climate — some have dubbed it “Earth’s air conditioner.” While the bright surface of Arctic sea ice reflects up to 80 percent of the sunlight back to space, the increasing amounts of open ocean there — which absorb about 90 percent of the sunlight striking the Arctic — have created a positive feedback effect, causing the ocean to heat up and contribute to increased sea ice melt.
Earlier this year, a national research team led by CU embarked on a two-year effort to better understand the impacts of environmental factors associated with the continuing decline of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The $3 million, NASA-funded project led by Research Professor James Maslanik of aerospace engineering sciences includes tools ranging from unmanned aircraft and satellites to ocean buoys in order to understand the characteristics and changes in Arctic sea ice, including the Beaufort Sea and Canada Basin that are experiencing record warming and decreased sea ice extent.
NSIDC is part of CU-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences — a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquartered on the CU campus — and is funded primarily by NASA. NSIDC’s sea ice data come from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder sensor on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F17 satellite using methods developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
For more information and graphics visit CU-Boulder’s NSIDC website at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2011/091511.html. For more information on CIRES visithttp://cires.colorado.edu/.
Valmont Bike Park selected as host of 2014 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships
Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park has been selected to host the 2014 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships. The Cyclo-Cross National Championships is held in January and is expected to bring at least 1,500 athletes and even more spectators to Boulder. According to an Economic Impact Study from the 2009 Cyclo-Cross National Championships, the host that year, Bend, OR, reaped an economic benefit of $1 million from hosting the championships.
USA Cycling made site visits to the three finalist cities of Boulder; Austin, Texas; and Asheville, N.C. earlier this year. The committee visited Valmont Bike Park on Feb. 1. Austin was selected as the host of the 2015 Cyclo-Cross National Championships, and Asheville was selected as the host of the 2016 Cyclo-Cross National Championships.
“We had three outstanding bids, making the only logical choice to award all three communities,” said USA Cycling Managing Director of National Events Micah Rice. “The decision to award one-year contracts for the championships will also help foster cyclo-cross racing in three distinctively different parts of the country.”
“We are so proud that Valmont Bike Park was chosen to host the 2014 United States Cyclo-Cross National Championships,” said Kirk Kincannon, director of the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department. “This reiterates that we have a world-class park in our community, and we’re thrilled that this investment is paying off so quickly in terms of daily users, programming, events, and now as the host of a USA Cycling event. The Cyclo-Cross Championships should bring an estimated $1 million economic benefit to Boulder.”
“It is a real honor for Parks and Recreation to host this national event,” said Mike Eubank, Valmont Bike Park manager. “The Cyclo-Cross National Championships is like the Super Bowl of cycling. This is tremendous news for Boulder, and especially for all the local cyclists and bike organizations who have been involved in creating this one-of-a-kind bike park.”
“I’m incredibly proud of what our community has created at Valmont Bike Park, and hosting these championships is the next step in affirming the benefits of a dedicated bike park,” said Pete Webber, Valmont course designer and recent Masters World Champion.
Jan. 25, 2012
CU-BOULDER-LED TEAM TO ASSESS DECLINE OF
ARCTIC SEA ICE IN ALASKA’S BEAUFORT SEA
A national research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder is embarking on a two-year, multi-pronged effort to better understand the impacts of environmental factors associated with the continuing decline of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
The team will use tools ranging from unmanned aircraft and satellites to ocean buoys in order to understand the characteristics and changes in Arctic sea ice, which was at 1.67 million square miles during September 2011, more than 1 million square miles below the 1979-2000 monthly average sea ice extent for September — an area larger than Texas and California combined. Critical ocean regions north of the Alaskan coast, like the Beaufort Sea and the Canada Basin, have experienced record warming and decreased sea ice extent unprecedented in human memory, said CU-Boulder Research Professor James Maslanik, who is leading the research effort.
The team will be targeting the Beaufort Sea, considered a “marginal ice zone” where old and thick multiyear sea ice has failed to survive during the summer melt season in recent years, said Maslanik of CU-Boulder’s Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research in CU’s engineering college. Such marginal ice zones are characterized by extensive ice loss and a strong “ice-albedo” feedback.
“Sea ice is lost when the darker ocean absorbs more sunlight in the form of heat in the summers, resulting in potentially thinner sea ice that re-forms the following winter,” Maslanik said. “This positive feedback between heat absorption by the ocean and accelerated melting becomes reinforcing in itself.” Marginal ice zones also are characterized by significant human and marine mammal activity, he said.
There was a record loss of sea ice cover over the Arctic in 2007, he said. “In some areas of the Arctic Ocean the multiyear ice rebounded, but in the Beaufort Sea we did not see that kind of multiyear ice persistence like we used to see,” said Maslanik, who also is a research professor in the aerospace engineering sciences department.
“The biggest question is whether places like the Beaufort Sea and adjacent Canada Basin have passed a ‘tipping point’ and now are essentially sub-Arctic zones where ice disappears each summer,” he said. Such ice loss could be causing fundamental changes in ocean conditions, including earlier annual blooms of phytoplankton, which are microscopic plant-like organisms that drive the marine food web.
The vast majority of climate scientists believe shrinking Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to rising temperatures primarily caused by human activities that pump huge amounts of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The new $3 million study led by Maslanik, “The Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment,” or MIZOPEX, is being funded by NASA.
The team will undertake extensive airborne surface mapping using a variety of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or UAS, comparing the results with data collected by a fleet of satellites from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Japanese space agency. Unlike satellites, small, unmanned aircraft can fly below the clouds, observe the same location continuously for hours and make more precise measurements of sea ice composition and sea surface temperatures. Maslanik and his CU-Boulder team previously used unmanned aircraft to assess ice conditions both in the Arctic and in Antarctica.
The MIZOPEX arsenal also will include floating buoys that measure ocean temperatures. CU-Boulder engineering faculty members Scott Palo and Dale Lawrence and their graduate students are converting miniaturized versions of dropsondes — standard weather reconnaissance devices designed to be dropped from aircraft and capture data as they fall toward Earth — into the buoys that will be deployed by the UAS.
The modified dropsondes, which were developed at CU-Boulder for use in Antarctica, will be combined with CU-designed miniature unmanned aircraft that will land on the ocean near sea ice floes. Such floes are critical to several species of Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, walruses and seals.
The buoys and unmanned craft will collect sea surface and subsurface temperatures to about a meter deep, while the overflying unmanned planes and satellites measure temperatures at the surface, Maslanik said. “We want to know if the warming is just at the ocean surface or if there is additional heat getting into the mixed layers of the upper ocean, either from absorbed sunlight or from ocean currents, that could be contributing to sea ice melt.”
The team plans to gather information over 24-hour cycles to determine how the ocean and ice are reacting to atmospheric changes. “Understanding what’s happening in the water is critical to forecasting what will happen to ice in the near term, as well as in the decades to come,” said MIZOPEX team scientist Betsy Weatherhead of CU-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
“We’ve never had the data before,” Weatherhead said. “With this new instrumentation, we’ll be able to ask questions and test theories about the drivers of ice melt.”
The MIZOPEX effort involves CU-Boulder, NASA, Fort Hays State University in Kansas, Brigham Young University, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, NOAA, the University of Washington and Columbia University. Ball Aerospace Systems Group of Boulder also is collaborating on the project.
Other MIZOPEX project scientists from CU include Brian Argrow, Sandra Castro, Ian Crocker, William Emery, Eric Frew and Mark Tschudi. Argrow directs the CU-headquartered Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles, a university-government-industry partnership for the development and application of unmanned vehicle systems.
For more information on MIZOPEX visit http://ccar.colorado.edu/mizopex/index.html.
For more information on CU-Boulder’s Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles visit http://recuv.colorado.edu/.
SLOW, STEADY JOB GROWTH FORECAST FOR COLORADO
IN 2012, SAYS CU LEEDS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Colorado will continue on the road to recovery and add jobs in 2012 following a positive year in 2011, according to economist Richard Wobbekind of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
Wobbekind’s announcement was part of the 47th annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum presented Dec. 5 by CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
Compiled by the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, the comprehensive outlook for 2012 features forecasts and trends for 13 business sectors prepared by approximately 100 key business, government and industry professionals.
“In 2012 we’re predicting slow but steady growth for Colorado, much like the U.S. economy,” said Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division. “We’ll continue to add jobs in a wide array of sectors, but not at the dramatic rate that is necessary to significantly lower the unemployment rate.”
Overall, the forecast calls for a gain of 23,000 jobs in 2012, compared with a gain of 27,500 jobs this year. Most sectors of the Colorado economy are predicted to grow in 2012, including the addition of 2,900 jobs in construction, marking the first positive job growth in that troubled sector in four years.
When comparing the Leeds’ forecast to forecasts for other states, Colorado is expected to be in the top 10 states for job growth in 2012.
“The broader story here is Colorado entered the recession later, came out of the recession later and now appears to be accelerating past the rest of the country in terms of job growth and recovery,” Wobbekind said.
Even with positive job growth predicted for the state, Wobbekind said uncertainty at numerous levels still clouds the economic picture in the state and nation.
“The theme of almost every national forecast is uncertainty,” he said. “Every day there is a new event in Europe or a new event in Washington. So you continue to have all of these elements of uncertainty and they impact consumer confidence and household spending. That is something that is very hard to forecast or predict.”
The strongest sector for projected job growth in Colorado in 2012 is the educational and health services sector. The sector is expected to add 7,500 jobs in 2012.
On the agriculture side, Colorado farmers and ranchers are coming off what is expected to be a record-setting year for net farm income. Colorado’s agricultural producers benefited from unexpectedly strong market prices for livestock and crops in 2011, leading to an estimated record net farm income in the state of $1.7 billion. Historic drought in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas spared much of Colorado in 2011, leading to increased market prices for Colorado agricultural products.
“Mother Nature played a major part in this, and this year it played in our favor,” Wobbekind said, adding that Colorado agriculturalists also are expected to do well in 2012.
The manufacturing sector, after adding jobs in 2011 for the first time since 2003, will return to a long-term downward trend and is forecast to lose 1,900 jobs. Two other sectors expected to lose jobs are information, forecast to shed 500 jobs, and financial activities, losing 1,000 jobs.
In 2011, Colorado consumers spent more on goods and services, with retail sales increasing 6.5 percent for the year. In 2012, retail sales are forecast to remain relatively strong with a gain of 4 percent.
“We view the consumer as coming back to the table,” Wobbekind said. “Consumers have deferred a lot, including what we would call more necessary expenditures such as automobiles and other essential products that have been wearing out and need to be replaced.”
With 2011 coming to a close, Wobbekind said Colorado’s economy is ending the year on a positive note.
“We went into the year a little bit slow and then built up momentum for pretty much the entire year, and the last couple of months we’ve passed the national growth rate for jobs, and we’ll end the year above the national growth rate for jobs,” he said. “2011 was a decent year in which we added jobs in a fairly wide variety of sectors.”
Colorado’s unemployment rate for 2012 is expected to decrease from 8.7 percent at the end of 2011 to 8.4 percent, compared with a projected national unemployment rate of around 9 percent.
Colorado’s population is projected to grow 1.5 percent, or 75,900 people, in 2012.
To view the entire economic outlook for Colorado in 2012, including an overview of each of the state’s major economic sectors, visit http://leeds.colorado.edu/BRD and click on the Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2012 icon
ARCTIC SEA ICE REACHES MINIMUM 2011 EXTENT,
THE SECOND LOWEST IN THE SATELLITE RECORD
The blanket of sea ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean appears to have reached its lowest extent for 2011, the second lowest recorded since satellites began measuring it in 1979,
The Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.67 million square miles, or 4.33 million square kilometers on Sept. 9, 2011.
While this year’s September minimum extent was greater than the all-time low in 2007, it remains significantly below the long-term average and well outside the range of natural climate variability, according to scientists involved in the analysis. Most scientists believe the shrinking Arctic sea ice is tied to warming temperatures caused by an increase in human-produced greenhouse gases pumped into Earth’s atmosphere.
“Every summer that we see a very low ice extent in September sets us up for a similar situation the following year,” said NSIDC Director Mark Serreze, also a professor in CU-Boulder’s geography department. “The Arctic sea ice cover is so thin now compared to 30 years ago that it just can’t take a hit anymore. This overall pattern of thinning ice in the Arctic in recent decades is really starting to catch up with us.”
Serreze said that in 2007, the year of record low Arctic sea ice, there was a “nearly perfect” set-up of specific weather conditions. Winds pushed in more warm air over the Arctic than usual, helping to melt sea ice, and winds also pushed the floating ice chunks together into a smaller area. “It is interesting that this year, the second lowest sea ice extent ever recorded, that we didn’t see that kind of weather pattern at all,” he said.
The last five years have been the five lowest Arctic sea ice extents recorded since satellite measurements began in 1979, said CU-Boulder’s Walt Meier, an NSIDC scientist. “The primary driver of these low sea ice conditions is rising temperatures in the Arctic, and we definitely are heading in the direction of ice-free summers,” he said. “Our best estimates now indicate that may occur by about 2030 or 2040.”
There still is a chance the sea ice extent could fall slightly due to changing winds or late season melt, said Meier. During the first week of October, CU-Boulder’s NSIDC will issue a full analysis of the 2011 results and a comparison to previous years.
NSIDC is part of CU-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences — a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration headquartered on the CU campus — and is funded primarily by NASA.
NSIDC’s sea ice data come from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder sensor on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F17 satellite using methods developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Aug. 11, 2011
University of Colorado Boulder engineering faculty are leading a $7.2 million multidisciplinary research initiative on soil blast modeling and simulation for the U.S. Department of Defense.
The research, which starts this month, is aimed at creating a more accurate representation of the impact of buried landmines and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, on light-armored military vehicles so that the vehicles can be better designed to withstand such blasts.
The award is administered by the Office of Naval Research as part of the defense department’s competitive Multi-University Research Initiative or MURI program, which supports basic science and engineering research at U.S.universities related to long-term national security needs.
MURI awards are provided to accelerate progress in cutting-edge research areas by supporting multidisciplinary teams with larger and longer awards than other DOD research programs.
The grant will provide $4.2 million to CU-Boulder and $3 million to co-investigators at four other institutions. The other schools involved are the University of California, Berkeley; University of Texas at Dallas; University of Tennessee Knoxville; and the University of Utah.
Richard Regueiro, assistant professor in CU-Boulder’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, is the principal investigator. CU-Boulder professors Ronald Pak, John McCartney and Stein Sture of civil engineering, and Oleg Vasilyev of mechanical engineering, also areinvolved.
The research initiative will involve experiments using CU-Boulder’s large 400-g ton geotechnical centrifuge coupled with computational modeling. The objective is to develop and validate a model that accurately represents explosive blasts of varying charges, depths and soil types.
CU-Boulder’s proposal was one of 27 MURI awards made to academic institutions in different topical areas in 2011. The proposals, which are being funded with a total of $191 million over five years, were selected from a field of 332 proposals, including 17 on the topic of soil blast modeling and simulation.
Occasionally, we get someone who feels they have some insight to the Murder of Jon Benet Ramsey on Christmas Night 1996. Here is one such vision. Interesting because it goes down the road of Stephen Singular s “Presumed Guilty an investigation into the JonBenet Ramsey Case, the media, and the culture of Pornography” In his book he makes connections between the child Pageantry world, pedophile followers, the weirdness of the mothers involved, the porn industry and more.
In the 1990s we interviewed strippers who said they came up through the child pageant business. there are other books and studies done which show the connection between the pagaent business , porn, deviant sex crimes and all of it.
The question remains Could a child pageant photographer have killed little Jon Benet??
“My vision concerning Jon Benet Ramsey
By David Figueroa”
“I, David Figueroa lived in Tyler, Texas. on 26 December 1996, I was working for Jack O’Diamond Lincoln Mercury. The news flashed on television concerning the murder of the little girl from Boulder. I had moved to Tyler, Texas. on February 1996 in pursuit of my “Dream” to fulfill God’s plan for my life. I wanted to be the Crusade Director for R.W. Schambach Revivals. I was not successful in obtaining the job.
After much frustration I decided to move back to Tulsa, Oklahoma., on June 1997 where I formerly lived. I was driving my car on Lewis avenue when suddenly I was pulled over by a Tulsa Police Officer for having my license plate wrongfully displayed. To my devastation I was shocked to receive the information that I had a warrant out for my arrest for a)indecent exposure & b)sexual battery. This crime occurred in July of 1994 after I met Tulsa’s leading Master Tarot Card Reader. I was studying the prophetic ministry, metaphysical knowledge and the world of the Psychic Realm. The evening of that July in 1994, I was studying material by the late Dr. Lester Sumrall on the subject of Demonology. (I should have been at Braums Ice cream) At about 11:00 pm I received a call from Master Tarot Card Reader “Miss So-n-So”. We had a 2 hour conversation which covered different topics including her personal life. I was single, 30 years old, lonely and the interest of meeting her was something I entertained. I had gone through a divorce 5 years earlier and wanted to meet a nice lady, and this gave the occasion being that she indicated she was single. She invited me to her place of business. She said she owned a hair salon and it happen to be on 31st Sheridan & I lived on 21st Sheridan. We talked about the possibility of me even getting a hair cut from her. She also said she gave readings and charge $40.00. She invited me over and told me that she would be alone there on her day off but that she would be there for me.
I prepared to go to work but I made plans to meet with her and get to know her. At 10:00am the designated time given to meet her, I walked in to her Hair Salon and introduced myself. She was there with another lady. She was in progress of a Tarot Card Session. I said to her; I thought you wanted to meet me? She just sat there in a hypnotic state of mind and I told her I was leaving. As I did an about-face and walked off, I was overcome by a force and turned around and expose myself. When I snapped out of it, I was alarmed and pushed the other lady out of the way as she stood and I ran out. I think that I was confused by the material I was studying the previous night and the extent and content of the conversation I had with “Miss So-n-So.” That night I called her back and several times afterward. I was really confused with all the junk I was studying.
The next day a Det. Richard Smith from the Tulsa Police Department called me at exactly 11:00pm. He told me there was a homicide and wanted to talk to me about it. He ask if I knew “Miss So-n-So”, the Tarot Card Reader. I said; Yes. He said; she has been murdered and you need to come talk to me tonight. I went to the police station and met with the Detective. He gave me a cup of coffee. He questioned me; do I know Miss So-n-So? I said I did. And, then He continued by saying I have been accused of indecent exposure but it is a misdemeanor, do not worry about it. I went home and I was worried and confused.
Three years passed by and I was in Tyler, Texas. When I decided to return to Tulsa on 1997 I had no idea I had a warrant out for my arrest. It just so happens that the arrest took place on the same day the incident happened on 1994.
I was devastated. I was sentenced to 2 years at John Lilley Correctional Center. I served 6 months in the Tulsa County Jail. While at John Lilley Correctional Center I had two visions. I saw an inmate who was a Christian packing his belongings and I heard a voice that said; “tell him tomorrow to pack his things because in 3 days he will be leaving”. The inmate was there for 20 years! Then right after that vision, Jon Benet Ramsey appeared to me. She had a camera strapped around her neck and she said to me three times; “the photographer did it”. Then she vanished.
The next day I saw the inmate who was a believer in Jesus Christ in the dorm. I approached him and told him; “The Lord Jesus told me to tell you in a vision to pack your things because in 3 days you will be leaving”. He looked at me as if I was nuts. And, there were about 4 other inmates there with him. He told me: “David you better be right because if you are not I am going to come looking for you”. About that time his name was called out in the intercom. It was exactly 1:00pm. Three hours later he approached me because he was looking for me. He was grinning from ear to ear with the good news that was given to him by the case manager who told him to “pack his things because in 3 days he was leaving”. Three days later he was gone.
I believe God has given me the answer to the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey.
I was released from John Lilley Correctional Center on 28 January 1999. Soon thereafter I landed on a job at The Petroleum Club of Tulsa. I rented a room from my manager Jeannie Thorton. While off of work one afternoon, I had woke up from bed and proceeded toward the hallway to the restroom,when suddenly at the bottom of the stairs stood Jon Benet Ramsey. She had a camera strapped around her neck as in the vision at John Llley Correctional Center and said to me three times; “the photographer did it”. And then she vanished. This premonition occurred a few more times thereafter. I was so convinced that it was from God that I told Clp. Randy Lawmaster from the Tulsa Police Department about it.
I am a Catholic. I grew up in church all my life except for the ages of 14,15 & 16, when I rebelled.
If this vision is a mistake I do apologize but I think it is from God. And, the answer to the murder concerning Jon Benet Ramsey has to do with a camera or photographer.
A University of Colorado Boulder research team has developed a new software program allowing neuroscientists to produce single brain images pulled from hundreds of individual studies, trimming weeks and even months from what can be a tedious, time-consuming research process.
The development of noninvasive neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, spurred a huge amount of scientific research and led to substantial advances in the understanding of the human brain and cognitive function. However, instead of having too little data, researchers are besieged with too much, according to Tal Yarkoni, a postdoctoral fellow in CU-Boulder’s psychology and neuroscience department.
The new software developed by Yarkoni and his colleagues can be programmed to comb scientific literature for published articles relevant to a particular topic, and then to extract all of the brain scan images from those articles. Using a statistical process called “meta-analysis,” researchers are then able to produce a consensus “brain activation image” reflecting hundreds of studies at a time.
“Because the new approach is entirely automated, it can analyze hundreds of different experimental tasks or mental states nearly instantaneously instead of requiring researchers to spend weeks or months conducting just one analysis,” said Yarkoni.
Yarkoni is the lead author on a paper introducing the new approach to analyzing brain imaging data that appears in the June 26 edition of the journal Nature Methods. Russell Poldrack of the University of Texas at Austin, Thomas Nichols of the University of Warwick in England, David Van Essen of Washington University in St. Louis and Tor Wager of CU-Boulder contributed to the paper.
Brain scanning techniques such as fMRI have revolutionized scientists’ understanding of the human mind by allowing researchers to peer deep into people’s brains as they engage in mental activities as diverse as reciting numbers, making financial decisions or simply daydreaming. But interpreting the results of brain imaging studies is often more difficult, according to Yarkoni.
“There’s often the perception that what we’re doing when we scan someone’s brain is literally seeing their thoughts and feelings in action, but it’s actually much more complicated,” Yarkoni said. “The colorful images we see are really just estimates, because each study gives us a somewhat different picture. It’s only by combining the results of many different studies that we get a really clear picture of what’s going on.”
The ability to look at many different mental states simultaneously allows researchers to ask interesting new questions. For instance, researchers can pick out a specific brain region they’re interested in and determine which mental states are most likely to produce activation in that region, he said. Or they can calculate how likely a person is to be performing a particular task given their pattern of brain activity.
In their study, the research team was able to distinguish people who were experiencing physical pain during brain scanning from people who were performing a difficult memory task or viewing emotional pictures with nearly 80 percent accuracy. The team expects performance levels to improve as their software develops, and believes their tools will improve researchers’ ability to decode mental states from brain activity.
“We don’t expect to be able to tell what people are thinking or feeling at a very detailed level,” Yarkoni said. “But we think we’ll be able to distinguish relatively broad mental states from one another. And we’re hopeful that might even eventually extend to mental health disorders, so that these tools will be useful for clinical diagnosis.”