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Researchers take routine winter measurements at the D-2
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Researchers take routine winter measurements at the D-2 Meteorological Station (3743) on Niwot

May 5, 2010
Researchers take routine winter measurements at the D-2 Meteorological Station (3743) on Niwot Ridge, Colorado. Shoshone Peak (3952 m) is in the background at right. This photo is circa 1953. Research of this type continues today through the National Science Foundation-supported Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research (NWT LTER) site. The Niwot Ridge site is the sole alpine tundra site and is located approximately 35 km west of Boulder, Colorado.

More about this Image The NSF established the LTER Program in 1980 to conduct research on long-term ecological phenomena in a variety of ecosystems within the United States. The LTER Network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1,100 scientists and students who investigate ecological processes over long periods of time and at broad scales. The Network promotes synthesis and comparative studies across sites and ecosystems and among other related national and international research programs. There are currently 24 LTER Sites representing diverse ecosystems and research emphases.

Examples of research topics studied on Niwot Ridge include the patterns and controls of nutrient cycling, trace gas dynamics, plant primary productivity and species composition, geomorphology, and paleoecology. A major theme of current research is the impact of climate change on the ecosystems of the Colorado tundra, with a particular focus on the effects of altered snowpack and rainfall regimes. New facilities (like a tundra laboratory), new research initiatives (like a 100-year snow fence, a subnivean laboratory), and centralization of data management activities will help the Niwot facility meet their research objectives.


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