Liz Burakowski lives in New Hampshire, working as a Research Assistant Professor in the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire. As a climate scientist, she runs climate models, analyzes satellite images, and measure snow to understand how northeastern United States winters have changed in the past, what we can expect in the future, and the impacts on our ecosystems and society.
Liz has seen the effects of warming winters on our mountains, and knows her fellow winter recreation enthusiasts have experienced the changes, too. Keeping a conversation going is key to building trust, identifying solutions, and advocating for local to national policies that address climate change in our communities.
What is citizen science? Why join CSO?
Liz been skiing, riding, and sliding on snow for 30 years and studying snow as a scientist for over a decade. She’s passionate about communicating climate science and joining the Community Snow Observations connects her with other skiers, riders, and sliders who want to learn about our changing snow and contribute to science.
Citizen science is an opportunity for anyone to participate in the scientific process. Liz is both a snow scientist and a citizen scientist for projects that track phenology (ie: when trees green up), birds, and biodiversity. Citizen science is also a great way to engage in environmental stewardship through observation of one’s environment.
The northeastern U.S. lacks the robust network of automated snow measurements—known as SNOTEL—that the western U.S. has, and most of our ground-based observers collect data near airports and at lower elevations. CSO offers the opportunity to greatly expand the number of snow depth measurements in remote, high elevation locations.
As a scientist, CSO measurements could help Liz improve the models I use to project winter climate and snow into the future. Additionally, as a member of the Protect Our Winters Science Alliance, she believes that participation of outdoor enthusiasts in the scientific process empowers them to more deeply connect them to their environment and to contribute to a better understanding of how climate is changing in their winter community.