Climate: Drought ‘donut’ circles Colorado

Forecast for wet spring helps ease concerns

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A drought donut around Colorado?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Above-average reservoir storage and forecasts for a wet spring season could help keep Colorado out of drought trouble — even though statewide precipitation has been below average for the entire water year to-date, starting last October. As of mid-March, 40 percent of Colorado was classified as being in severe drought conditions, with only 25 percent of the state drought-free. Continue reading

Global warming: No more fish and chips?

Huge changes projected for North Sea fisheries

A map from the new University of British Columbia study shows the current distribution of species richness based on data going back to the 1950s.

A map from the new University of British Columbia study shows the current distribution of species richness based on data going back to the 1950s.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Numerous studies have tracked how global warming will affect the distribution of fish, with cold-loving species shifting to higher latitudes. That means popular North Sea fish such as haddock, plaice and lemon sole will become less common, according to UK scientists.

In a new study published in Nature Climate Change, the researchers pointed out that, in the last 40 years, the North Sea has warmed four times faster than the global average.

“We will see a real changing of the guard in the next few decades,” said University of Exeter researcher Dr. Steve Simpson. “Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place. For sustainable UK fisheries, we need to move on from haddock & chips and look to Southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration,” Simpson said. Continue reading

Can a lawsuit save Glacier National Park’s stonefly?

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Western glacier stonefly. Photo courtesy USGS.

Conservation advocates seek to draw attention to the plight of alpine ecosystems

Staff Report

FRISCO — The Rocky Mountains are heating up at about twice the rate of the global average, threatening entire ecosystems dependent on melting snow and glacial runoff.

Some species are already on the brink of extinction, including a tiny aquatic stonefly found only in Glacier National Park, which could vanish within the next few decades at the park’s glaciers disappear under the relentless rise of temperatures. Continue reading

Morning Photo: Painting with a camera

Best and brightest


FRISCO —A quick Saturday morning set culled from the archives shows how a camera can be much more than a simple recording instrument. In the right hands — and with the right light — it’s a creative tool as powerful as any palette of paint. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Antarctica meltdown likely to speed up soon

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Ice sheets of the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo

Natural variability still the key driver for East Antarctica temps

Staff Report

FRISCO — A lack of widespread data from Antarctica means it’s still challenging to differentiate human-driven global warming from natural temperature variations in the region, German scientists said in a new study.

Climate researchers need to understand temperature trends in Antarctica to better predict how fast the ice will melt and raise global sea level. But the study concluded that the uncertainties in the temperature trends over Antarctica are larger than previously estimated. Continue reading

After dropping for a few years, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions creep up again in latest EPA tally

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Carbon dioxide … and more.

Can the EPA’s clean power plan help tame the global warming dragon?

Staff Report

FRISCO — U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 9 percent in the last 10 years, the EPA said this week, releasing its 20th annual national greenhouse gas inventory.

The latest tally is current through 2013, which shows a 2 percent increase from the previous year, due to increased energy consumption across all economic sectors and increased use of coal for electricity generation. Continue reading

Colorado River managers downgrade flow projections

Lake Powell expected to see about half of average inflow

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A NASA Earth Observatory image of Lake Powell snaking through the Colorado Plateau. Visit this NASA link for more.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal water managers downgraded their expectations for Upper Colorado River flows by several notches in the past few weeks, as warm and dry early spring conditions across most of the basin nibbled away at the mountain snowpack that sustains the river’s flows through the summer.

The Bureau of Reclamation today said they expect inflows into Lake Powell to be just 3.75 million acre feet during the key April to July runoff season. That’s just 52 percent of the 1980-2010 average and down 1.35 million acre feet from the projections of just a month ago, when the agency was hoping for 5.1 million acre feet of runoff. Continue reading

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