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Learn about NWT LTER and
• High elevation "water towers"
• Early warning signs
• Life in the extremes
• Rocky Mountain lake algae

The Niwot Ridge LTER program

The Niwot Ridge LTER (NWT) program is an interdisciplinary research program with the long-term goals of building a predictive understanding of ecological processes in high-elevation mountain ecosystems and contributing to broad conceptual advances in ecology. NWT also provides education, outreach, and knowledge to inform alpine resource management and conservation. Our program is built on a foundation of more than 35 years of research that includes decades-long experiments and monitoring designed to understand ecological dynamics and trajectories of change.

Mountain ecosystems are among the most vulnerable to environmental change. In this high-elevation, resource-poor environment, changes in temperature and precipitation alter snowpack, growing season length, and water flow dynamics and high levels of atmospheric deposition shift nutrient limitations. However, vulnerability to such environmental changes is difficult to predict in a system characterized by spatial complexity and temporal variability. Both terrain and biota modulate climate effects spatially and temporally in mountain ecosystems by dictating the wind-driven redistribution of snow and the onset and speed of snowmelt. The downhill flow of water from snowmelt links terrestrial habitats and connects them with alpine lakes and streams. Long-term observations at NWT suggest that this complexity can lead to both rapid change and stability. Our research at NWT is aimed at gaining a better understanding of where and when environmental changes lead to ecological changes, and elucidating the mechanisms driving ecological responsiveness and stability.


April 5, 2017

Denver Post: Catching air: Scientists trek high into the Rockies to measure rising greenhouse gases.

Climate researchers say the the weekly climb to gather air samples has become more of a mission...

March 9, 2017

CU Boulder Today article:  Long-term ecological study to continue at very special site, Niwot Ridge.

Thanks to a $6.8 million renewal grant to CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research...

November 15, 2016

NWT Research Funding: RFP and Research Priorities.

Information on Niwot Ridge Long-term Ecological Research Program 2017 request for proposals.

More News >>

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For current climate conditions, click on links below:

Current Meteorological Data Graphic

Current Meteorological Data: D1 | Saddle | C1

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #DEB-1637686. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necesarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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