Posted on August 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Dwindling precipitation in the Southwest spells trouble for native fish. bberwyn photo.
Study shows significant loss of fish habitat by mid-century
FRISCO — Big sections of vulnerable stream habitat for native fish in the Southwest are likely to disappear by mid-century as global warming causes stream flows to dwindle.
By 2050, stream-drying events could increase by 17 percent, and the number of zero-flow days could go up by 27 percent in the Verde River Basin, affecting species like speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus), roundtail chub (Gila robusta) and Sonora sucker (Catostomus insignis).
The drying trend will fragment aquatic habitat, hampering feeding and spawning. Some populations that are already isolated may very well disappear, said Ohio State University researcher Kristin Jaeger, an assistant professor at the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, drought, endangered species, extreme weather, global warming, Southwest, Verde River | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Year to-date tied for third-warmest
Hot July for Planet Earth. Courtesy NASA.
FRISCO — With the exception of a few cool pockets, including parts of the eastern United States, above-average temperatures prevailed across most of the globe last month, making it the fourth-warmest July on record.
The globally average land-surface temperature was the 10-warmest on record and the average global sea-surface temperature for July tied with 2009 as the warmest ever, according to the monthly global state of the climate report from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate, Environment, global warming, July 2014 global temperatures | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More heatwaves, wildfires and water shortages in the outlook
Colorado will warm dramatically in the next few decades.
FRISCO — By the middle of this century, Denver’s average temperature could be 6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today — on par with Albuquerque, according to a new climate report released by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in early August.
Even with deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, Colorado will continue to get warmer. An increase of at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century is all but certain, and that will have a big impact on the state’s water supplies, state officials said, reinforcing the results of a series of studies all showing that rising temperatures will reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, Environment, global warming, stream flows, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Heading north …
Global monitoring for Alpine climate impacts
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Rocky Mountain National Park has graciously invited our crowdfunded Beacon-based reporting projectto visit a high alpine basin where scientists can see how alpine areas respond to climate change.
The long-term observation site is part of a global network of mountain stations recording detailed temperature readings of air and soil, and carefully watching plant and animal communities. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, crowdfunding, Environment, global warming, journalism, Rocky Mountains | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A Quandary Peak pika enjoys some sunny weather recently on his rocky ledge. bberwyn photo.
Plenty of good habitat left in the Colorado Rockies, researchers conclude
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — New surveys by Colorado wildlife biologists suggest that pikas seem to be holding their own as temperatures rise in the Rocky Mountains. The study found that pikas remain well distributed in the Colorado high country.
“In their primary habitat, mainly at and above timberline where there is lots of talus, we find pikas almost everywhere we look,” said Amy Seglund, a species conservation biologist for Parks and Wildlife based in Montrose. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, Colorado, global warming, pikas, Rocky Mountains, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Snow up to 50 percent thinner in some parts of Arctic
A detailed study shows dramatic thinning of the Arctic snow cover in recent decades, especially on the sea ice west of Alaska, Photo courtesy Ignatius Rigor.
FRISCO — Arctic snow cover has thinned significantly in recent decades, especially on sea ice off the west coast of Alaska, with some as-yet unknown consequences for the environment, researchers said this week in a new study accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.
In the study, led by scientists with NASA and the University of Washington, the scientists compared and analyzed data from NASA airborne surveys, collected between 2009 and 2013, with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers buoys frozen into the sea ice, and earlier data from Soviet drifting ice stations in 1937 and from 1954 through 1991.
Results showed that snowpack has thinned from 14 inches to 9 inches (35 cm to 22 cm) in the western Arctic, and from 13 inches to 6 inches (33 cm to 14.5 cm) in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, west and north of Alaska. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic snow cover, climate change, Environment, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 12, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Hot and cold pattern persists
The yin and yang of climate, with hot readings in the far West and below-average temperatures the Midwest, along the Atlantic seaboard and the deep south. Map courtesy NCDC.
FRISCO — A hot-and-cold pattern continued over the continental U.S. in July, with some western states reporting record and near-record warmth, while parts of the Midwest were record cold for the month. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, July temperatures, U.S. climate statistics | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Archaeologists, ocean scientists team up on detailed study of historic climate cycles in Pacific Ocean
Study offers new clues to past and future El Niños.
FRISCO — Today’s climate models may not do a very good job of predicting changes in the Pacific Ocean El Niño-La Niña cycle, an international team of scientists said after studying old seashells that display a distinct history of climate variations.
Understanding how El Niño responds to global warming is significant because the undulating rhythm of warming and cooling waters in the equatorial Pacific is a key driver of weather patterns around the world. Some modeling studies have suggested that ancient El Niños may have been weaker than today’s but the new research suggests they were as strong and as frequent as they are now, at least going back about 10,000 years. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, El Nino, Pacific Ocean | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Early morning cloudscape pano near Frisco, Colorado.
FRISCO — For a few weeks every summer, Colorado’s weather pattern experiences a seasonal shift that gives us a taste of the tropics. As big high pressure areas move around, moisture often streams into our mountains from the south, keeping the air moist and temperatures relatively warm at night, since the clouds, or even just the moist air, act as a blanket and prevent the day’s warmth from radiating back into space at night. It may be hard to believe, given how much snow we get in the middle of winter, but our monsoon season is actually the wettest time of year in Colorado. And, of course, it’s one of the best times to snap pictures of dramatic cloudscapes. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, Morning photo, photography, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: cloudscapes, Colorado weather, monsoon, photography, Summit County photography | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Alaska caribou. Courtesy USGS.
Shifts in wildlife populations will affect Native American communities
FRISCO — Some big caribou herds in Alaska could lose more than 20 percent of their habitat as growing wildfires destroy critical foraging areas. Those changes will likely affect generations of Native American families whose existence is spiritually linked with the Arctic ungulates, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey reported in a new study.
Rapidly warming Arctic temperatures are to blame — global warming increases the flammability of lichen-producing boreal forests, which are important winter habitat for caribou herds. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: Alaska, caribou, global warming, wildlife | Leave a comment »