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Morning Photo: Winter vibes

Snow cometh …


FRISCO — Winter is working its magic across the high country of Colorado, painting the mountains and valleys with a glittery blanket of snow. These shots highlight the many different ways light can manifest on freshly fallen snow, all taken on different days, but at about the same time each day, within an hour after sunrise. Enjoy the season!

What drives extreme fires? It’s mostly the weather

Forest Service scientists study aftermath of Rim Fire to assess effectiveness of forest health treatments

A NASA Earth Observatory image shows smoke plumes from the Rim Fire in August, 2013. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.

A NASA Earth Observatory image shows smoke plumes from the Rim Fire in August, 2013. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A detailed new study of fire behavior of the 2013 Rim Fire in Yosemite provides a nuanced view of the effectiveness of forest health treatments.

The Rim Fire was the largest recorded fire in the Sierra Nevada region, and U.S. Forest Service researchers said in their study that the fire burned with moderate to high intensity on days the Rim Fire was dominated by a large pyro-convective plume, a powerful column of smoke, gases, ash, and other debris — regardless of the number of prior fires, topography, or forest conditions. Continue reading

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The ‘greening’ of the Colorado River Delta

The Colorado River Delta in May, 2014. Photo courtesy NASA.

The Colorado River Delta in May, 2014. Photo courtesy NASA.

Science team tracks effects of historic pulse flow

Staff Report

FRISCO — Last May’s pulse flow in the Colorado River helped revive vegetation along a huge swath of the river’s edge, triggering new plant growth and raising the water table in the delta. After comparing satellite images taken August 2013 with new images from this year, scientists calculated a 23 percent increase in the greenness of riparian zone vegetation. Continue reading

2014 Arctic report card documents ongoing global warming impacts

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A NASA Blue Marble view of Earth, with Greenland parts of the Arctic visible top-center.

Arctic warming twice as fast as rest of the planet

Staff Report

FRISCO — Parts of the Arctic Ocean are warming by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit every decade, and overall, Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast the global average, climate scientists said today as they released results of an annual Arctic Report Card.

The report documents increasing air and sea surface temperatures, declining reflectivity at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, which reached a new record low last summer. And there is ongoing shrinkage of  spring snow cover on land and summer ice on the ocean.

The warming Arctic atmosphere was strongly connected to lower latitudes in early 2014 causing cold air outbreaks into the eastern USA and warm air intrusions into Alaska and northern Europe. Continue reading

Feds taking input on new Florida manatee plan

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Manatees at Crystal Springs, Florida. bberwyn photo.

Refuge managers seek to balance protection of marine mammals with demand for public access at Three Sisters Springs

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a careful management plan at a freshwater spring in Florida can help protect manatees and ensure public access to the popular Three Sisters Springs recreation area.

The agency this week started taking input on a draft environmental assessment for management actions to protect manatees and still allow public access at Three Sisters Springs during the winter season. Continue reading

Climate: Increasing CO2 killing oyster larvae

Love oysters? Then you should be worried about global warming.

Love oysters? Then you should be worried about global warming and ocean acidification. bberwyn photo.

Natural buffering can’t keep up with increasing ocean acidification

Staff Report

FRISCO — Oysters at their earliest stages of development are already feeling the impacts of ocean acidification, scientists said this week, explaining that oyster larvae are sensitive to saturation state, rather than carbon dioxide or pH per se.

The saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells. A lower saturation rate is associated with more corrosive seawater. Continue reading

Colorado: Wildlife biologists still grappling with Kokanee salmon decline in Lake Granby

Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

New tool helps fisheries managers gather more eggs from other reservoirs

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say they’ve wrapped up their annual kokanee salmon egg collection activities for the year, with good results at Wolford Mountain Reservoir, where they were able to gather 1.78 million eggs.

But predatory lake trout and other factors combined to suppress egg production in Lake Granby, historically the biggest source of eggs for the desirable sport fish. Continue reading

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