Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies

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The Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies serves the mountain science community and regional resource managers by hosting & conducting interdisciplinary research and conducting integrative 24/7/365 monitoring that captures weather, snowpack, radiation, soils, plant community and hydrologic signals of regional climate trends.

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Colorado Dust-on-Snow: Press & Publications

    Popular Press  |  Scholarly Publications  |  Student Theses  |  Presentations     (most recent on top)

          CODOS Quick Links


Our rapidly shrinking water supply by Eric Ming. The Watch Newspapers, March 2, 2012.

Air Quality Difficult to Gauge in Dustier American West by Kirk Johnson. New York Times, Dec 10, 2011.

Why Development in the Desert Means Lower Rivers and Less Snowpack in the Rockies, By Allen Best. New West Development. November 30, 2011.

Colorado Natural Heritage Program Blog: Cool Climate Collaboration, November 23, 2011

LA Times: Dust cuts Colorado River flow, scientists say

LA Times Blog: Would curbing desert dust help the Colorado River?

Reuters/Yale Environment 360: Dust Hastens Snowmelt in Colorado

NASA News: NASA Funded Study Shows Desert Dust Cuts Colorado River Flow

USGS News: Dust Hastens Colorado River Snowmelt, Cuts Flow: Restoring Desert Soils Could Lessen Impacts of Climate Change

Science and Technology: Desert Dust reduces Colorado River Flow, says new study

NSF: Windborne Dust on High Peaks Dampens Colorado River Runoff

CIRES Press Release and Video, featuring Jeff Deems and Brad Udall

Dust, snow make for problematic mix for skiers by Scott Willoughby. Denver Post. April 20 2010.

Dust on crust: Dusting off wilderness by Will Sanda. Durango Telegraph. April 22 Cover Story.

Dust settling on local peaks has a big impact by Mike Horn. Crested Butte News. April 21, 2010.

Dust in snow causes early melting in region's high country by Scott Rappold. Colorado Springs Gazette. 
April 17, 2010.

Dust-on-Snow: On Spring Winds, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Earlier snowmelt, altered water supplies, result by Cheryl Dybas. National Science Foundation Discovery. April 2, 2010.

Is Pink Snow Hurting the Vail Valley? - Sarah Mausolf. Vail Daily News. March 24 2010.

Visionaries: Researcher Tom Painter is more worried about dirty snow than global warming - Cameron Walker. Skiing Magazine. Feb/March 2010.

High stakes snow speculation: gauging our water future - Mike Horn. Crested Butte News. January 27, 2010.

Dust levels may have melted snow - Zach Fridell. Steamboat Today. August 21, 2009.

La fonte accélérée des neiges de l'Ouest américain inquiète les agriculteurs: Le phénoméne, provoqué par des tempêtes de poussiére, menace l'irrigation des cultures - Le Monde. June 5, 2009.

Dust storms speed snowmelt in the West - Nicholas Riccardi. Los Angeles Times. May 24, 2009.

Spring runoff to be fast and furious: Snowpack disapearing because of dust storms; Crystal River nears flood stage - Scott Condon. Aspen Times. May 2009.

Climate change, water shortages conspire to create 21st century Dust Bowl- Scott Streater. New York Times. May 14, 2009.

The Dangers of Dark Snow - Dave Buchanan. The Daily Sentinel [Grand Junction, CO]. May 14, 2009.

Dust on the horizon: Record number of dust storms threatens the Southwest - Will Sands. Durango Telegraph. April 30, 2009.

Dust storms spur environmental fears: Increase in dirt affects ecosystems in Western states - Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post. April 23, 2009.

Rust-red Friday: Massive dust storm blankets much of mountains across centeral, southwest Colorado - Chris Dickey. Gunnison Country Times. April 9, 2009.

Dirt-dusted slopes may hasten mountain snowmelt - Catherine Lutz, Aspen Daily News. March 2009.

Snow Researchers set to do dust hunting: Researchers studying dust effects on snowpack - Idaho Mountain Express. Feb 2009. 

Silverton Study Funded in Water Bill - Joe Hanel, The Durango Herald. Feb 13, 2009.

High Peaks, Dirty Snow - Forest Magazine by Allen Best. Winter 2008

Kicking up dust. How did desert dust land in high-mountain lakes? by Allen Best. Aspen Times, July 2008

National Public Radio devoted stories on CSAS research May, 2006 - Snow effect;  Dust emission

High Country News devoted story ‘Dust and Snow’, May, 2006 (this story contributed to Michelle Nijhuis’ winning the 2006 AAAS Science Journalism prize)

Backcountry Magazine devoted story ‘Colorado’s dirty little secret’, December, 2006.

Scholarly Dust-on-Snow Related Publications:
Painter, T. H., J. Deems, J. Belnap, A. Hamlet, C. C. Landry, and B. Udall (2010), Response of Colorado River runoff to dust radiative forcing in snowProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published ahead of print September 20, 2010,doi:10.1073/pnas.0913139107.

Lawrence, C. R., T. H. Painter, C. C. Landry, and J. C. Neff (2010), Contemporary geochemical composition and flux of aeolian dust to the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, United StatesJournal of Geophysical Research, 115, G03007, doi:10.1029/2009JG001077.

Steltzer, H., C. Landry, T. H. Painter, J. Anderson, and E. Ayres. 2009.Biological consequences of earlier snowmelt from desert dust deposition in alpine landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106:  11629-11634, doi_10.1073_pnas.0900758106.

Neff, J.C., A.P. Ballantyne, G.L. Farmer, N.M. Mahowald, J.L. Conroy, C.C. Landry, J.T. Overpeck, T.H. Painter, C.R. Lawrence and R.L. Reynolds. 2008.  Increasing eolian dust deposition in the western United States linked to human activity, Nature Geoscience, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 189-195, March 2008, doi: 10.1038/ngeo136

Painter, T. H.,  A. P. Barrett, C. C. Landry, J. C. Neff, M. P. Cassidy, C. R. Lawrence, K. P. Thatcher, L. Farmer. (2007)Impact of disturbed desert soils on duration of mountain snow coverGeophysical Research Letters. V34, 12, L12502, 10.1029/2007GL030208.

Student Theses:

  • Annie Bryant, PhD, Radiative forcing by desert dust in snowmelt-dominated hydrologic systems from coupled satellite and in situ measurements, Dept of Geography, University of Utah, projected graduation June 2012. 

  • Corey P. Lawrence. Aeolian deposition in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, USA: The biogeochemical role of dust in soil development and weathering. Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD, May 2009). 

  • S. McKenzie Skiles, MA, Interannual Variability in Radiative Forcing by Desert Dust in Snowcover in the Colorado River Basin, Dept of Geography, University of Utah, projected graduation June 2010. 

  • Kathleen McBride. A synoptic climatology of desert dust deposition to the snowpack in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, U.S.A., Department of Geography, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff (MA, December, 2007).

  • Shane Stradling, An investigation of how dust deposition affects snowpack and snow albedo, Swamp Angel Site, San Juan County, CO, Department of Geosciences, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado (BS, May 2007).

Presentations and Outreach: