Is increased Arctic snowfall a climate wild card?


Could heavier snowfall over Greenland slow the meltdown? @bberwyn photo.

New research project to assess how Greenland ice sheets responded to past changes in precipitation

Staff Report

FRISCO — There’s little question that global warming will drive significant melting of the world’s ice sheets, but it’s not clear exactly how fast that meltdown will happen.

Some climate models suggest that warmer ocean temperatures will lead to more snowfall over the Arctic — and that could slow the rate melting of glaciers and the rate of sea level rise, according toJason Briner, an associate professor of geology in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. Continue reading

Rocky Mountain National Park warns of late season fire danger

Big Meadows fire Rocky Mountain National Park Arial view

The 2013 Big Meadows fire in Rocky Mountain National Park scorched more than 600 acres. Photo courtesy RMNP.

Drying grasses and shrubs up fire danger in parts of Colorado

Staff Report

FRISCO — Summer may be winding down, but the wildfire season is not over yet. In the past ten days, fire managers and park rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park have responded to four illegal, escaped campfires.

All four were quickly extinguished, each burning less than 0.25 acres, but park managers say they all had the potential to spread quickly and threaten lives and property. Continue reading

Rally in Breckenridge to support climate action


Rally for climate action in Breckenridge on Aug. 20.

‘Beat the Heat’ event aimed at showing public support for Clean Power Plan

Staff Report

FRISCO — Summit County residents have a chance to show their support for meaningful action to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution at an Aug. 20 rally in Breckenridge organized by Environment Colorado. The rally will start 11 a.m. near Riverwalk Center, with Environment Colorado organizers doing one-on-one outreach to passers-by.

The Beat the Heat event is aimed at showing support for President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the single biggest step the U.S. has taken to address global warming. Activists want to make it clear that Coloradans want state leaders like Senator Michael Bennet and Senator Cory Gardner, as well as Governor Hickenlooper to lead on climate action. Continue reading

Warmer oceans lead to more extreme coastal rainstorms

Study tracks eastern Mediterranean climate trends

This image shows simulated precipitation (over 24 hours from 6 to 7 July 2012) of a model run using observed sea surface temperature (a) and (b) using a colder SST representative of the early 1980s). The black cross marks the town of Krymsk, the thin black lines are height contours with a distance of 150 metres.

This image shows simulated precipitation (over 24 hours from 6 to 7 July 2012) of a model run using observed sea surface temperature (a) and (b) using a colder SST representative of the early 1980s). The black cross marks the town of Krymsk, the thin black lines are height contours with a distance of 150 metres. Graphic courtesy GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Rapidly warming sea surface temperatures are resulting in more extreme coastal rainstorms, Russian and German researchers said after analyzing climate data from the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

The impetus for the study was a deadly 2012 flash flood in the Russian city of Krymsk, near the Black Sea coast that killed 172 people. The Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean have warmed by about 2 degrees Celsius since the early 1980s.

The study was led led by scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, and published in the international journal Nature Geoscience. Continue reading

Study: Global warming won’t cut winter-related deaths


Winter deaths are unlikely to decline substantially because of global warming, a new study says. @bberwyn photo.

Professor Patrick Kinney of Columbia University

Hot summer temps more of a problem

Staff Report

FRISCO — Even though winters may become warmer as climate change ramps up, it probably won’t result in a big reduction of winter deaths, says a new study that contradicts the conventional wisdom on health impacts of climate change.

“For years I’ve been hearing people say that global warming will reduce winter deaths but I wanted to check this claim out for myself,” said Columbia University Professor Patrick Kinney.

Kinney and his colleagues used statistical methods to pick apart the possible factors contributing to deaths of older people during the winter; they found that cities with warmer winters have similar amounts of winter deaths as do cities with colder winters. The new research was published this week in IOP Publishing’s Environmental Research Letters journal. Continue reading

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir expected to fill within a week

Denver Water juggling inflow, outflow


After peaking later than average, the sremaining nowpack in the Blue River Basin is melting fast. Graph courtesy Denver Water.


Flows in Blue River tributaries like Straight Creek are near their seasonal peak.

*Story corrected at 2 p.m. Dillon Reservoir outflow to the Blue River increased to 1,600 cfs Monday, July 15.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dillon Reservoir should be full within a week, according to the latest update from Denver Water, which just bumped up the outflow to the Lower Blue to make room for more runoff the next few days.

As of June 15, Denver Water was releasing about 1.600 cubic feet per second from Dillon Reservoir, with about 2,200 cfs flowing in from the Blue River and its tributaries. And Denver Water is expecting more high inflows for the foreseeable future, according to a recent email update:

“A fresh look at the estimated level of snowpack above Dillon Reservoir … tells us there is still eight inches of snow in some places, meaning high flows can be expected for the foreseeable future. The good news is that inflows to Dillon Reservoir – which have ranged from 2,206 to 2,623 over the past several days – appear to be trending downward.” Continue reading

May precipitation breaks records in southern Colorado

Wet spring boosts streamflow forecasts


Miracle May?

Staff ReportFRISCO — Statewide precipitation was more than twice the average, federal water watchers said in their June update. The rain and snow, along with cool temperatures at higher elevations, delayed the onset of runoff and boosted streamflow forecasts for the summer. “This substantial addition of moisture, both in the form of snow and rain have notably increased water supply forecasts across the state from a month ago,” said Brian Domonkos, the Colorado snow survey supervisor for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,948 other followers