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Morning photo: Sunday set

Signs of spring?

A moment of clarity ...

A moment of clarity …

FRISCO — I love those warm spring days when the snow seems to melt in front of your eyes. Instead of a smooth, unbroken, layer, the snow melts away in patches, starting on sunny slopes or around the base of trees, and the surface is pitted and rough. Every little grain of dust or twig catches the sun’s heat and the surround snow melts in a little crater. After months of stasis, the landscape seems to come to life — a time of transitions. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Take 2

Winter winding down …

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Bring on the day!

FRISCO — I’m a little reluctant to let go of winter too quickly, but after feeling 50-degree temps for the first time in about six months, I’m willing to think about it. In the meantime, some winter highlights from the archives. Please visit our online gallery at Fine Art American for more Colorado landscape and nature images. Continue reading

Morning photo: Emergent

Earth tones

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Emergent sage, Summit County, Colorado.

FRISCO — Summit County gleamed white once again after a quick overnight storm dropped a few more inches of snow, the latest wave in a seemingly endless onslaught of winter. But it only took a few hours of warm spring sunshine start the inexorable thaw process in the valleys, where — surprise — there’s already a bit of brown earth showing. Melting snow on emergent sage has to be one of the best smells in the world, and if you don’t believe me, take a stroll along the Oro Grande trail in Dillon. Please visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for more Summit County landscape and nature photography.

Continue reading

Global warming stretches Rocky Mountain wildflower season

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In response to global warming, pasque flowers are blooming earlier in the spring in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Colorado ecosystems will see profound changes

Staff Report

FRISCO — The Rocky Mountain wildflower season is about one month longer than it was just a few decades ago.

That  may be pleasant for hikers and photographers, but the rapid shift in the timing of seasonal blooming will have profound consequences for birds and bugs that depend on the blooms for food.

The 39-year study shows  more than two-thirds of alpine flowers have changed their blooming pattern in response to climate change. Half the flowers start to bloom weeks earlier, more than a third are reaching their peak bloom earlier, and others are producing their last blooms later in the year. Continue reading

Morning Photo: Saturday set

March!

Soon ...

Soon …

FRISCO — OK, it’s not quite spring yet, as least as far as the “official” definition, which sets the start of the loveliest season at vernal equinox, around March 21. But meteorologically speaking, March 1 is the start of spring, regardless of what the groundhogs and robins are doing, and it’s also the snowiest month of the year for our little slice of the Colorado high country. Sometimes it feels like a battle of the seasons, with winter furiously throwing more snow on to the ground in an ultimately futile effort to slow the inevitable — like the return of the robins. Continue reading

Morning photo: Frost flowers

In winter’s grasp …

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Delicate crystals grow on stalks of dry grass near the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

FRISCO — Despite the risk of slightly frostbitten fingers, I have a strange fascination with the frost formations that grace the Colorado high country during the winter. The best time to photograph them is during the middle to late part of fall, when daily temperature fluctuations are greatest and there’s still some moist air streaming off streams, ponds and lakes. That’s the combination that fuels the best growth. Continue reading

Dartmouth study suggests clearcutting and ‘snow farming’ as global warming mitigation

This near-total clearcut near Frisco, Colorado, may provide a higher-value ecosystem service than a slow-growing forest. bberwyn photo.

This near-total clearcut near Frisco, Colorado, may provide a higher-value ecosystem service than a slow-growing forest. bberwyn photo.

Higher albedo of snow-covered ground a factor in climate mitigation calculations

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Snow farming is nothing new for ski area operators, who have long been cultivating the white stuff to help keep their slopes covered. Now, a recent study by researchers at Darthmouth College suggests that snow farming could also make sense on a larger scale, in the context of climate-change mitigation.

In a novel look at forests and snow, their report says that replacing forests with snow-covered meadows may provide greater climatic and economic benefits than if slow-growing trees are left standing in snowy high latitudes. In those areas, persistent snow cover reflects heat back into space, partially offsetting the effect of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Continue reading

Climate: A tale of two winters

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Colorado stands out as one of the few western states with above average precipitation during January 2014.

January 2014 cool and dry across the U.S.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The monthly summary from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center tells a tale of two winters across the United States, with cold conditions and big snows in the eastern half of the country and record drought and warmth in parts of the West.

Overall, the nationally averaged temperature across the contiguous 48 states was 30.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 0.1 degrees below the 20th century average, making it the coldest January since 2011, according to the state of the climate report for January 2014. Continue reading

Are the Winter Olympics at risk from global warming?

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Where will the Olympic flag fly for future winter games as the global climate warms?

‘Fewer and fewer traditional winter sports regions will be able to host a Olympic Winter Games in a warmer world…’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — By the middle of this century, many legendary winter Olympic cities will likely be to warm to host the games in the future, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and Management Center Innsbruck (Austria).

“The cultural legacy of the world’s celebration of winter sport is increasingly at risk,” said University of Waterloo Professor Daniel Scott, a Canada Research Chair in global tourism and lead author of the study. “Fewer and fewer traditional winter sports regions will be able to host a Olympic Winter Games in a warmer world.”

Only six of the previous Winter Olympics host cities will be cold enough to reliably host the Games by the end of this century if global warming projections prove accurate, and even under conservative warming scenarios, only 11 of the previous 19 sites could host the Games, the study found after tracking temperature increases at previous Olympic sites. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday set

Winter wonderland

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Shooting into the sun with an iPhone, using the camera’s HDR to capture a bit of the iridescence in the upper level clouds as a winter storm descended on Summit County.

FRISCO —It certainly feels like the heart of winter right now in Summit County, as well it should. Mid-January is the time for snow and ice, and this year Mother Nature has delivered on time. Today’s Sunday set is a little photographic homage to the white stuff, an important part of life in the Colorado high country in so many ways. Visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for a full selection of Colorado landscape images, available as fine art prints or greeting cards. Continue reading

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