How long will California’s drought continue?

Snowpack at record low levels

'o;j

A NASA Earth Observatory photo shows dry conditions in California in Jan. 2014.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The snowpack in some key California watersheds is at or near all-time record low, the state’s water managers reported this week after conducting their monthly surveys.

At one site, west of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the California Department of Water Resources reported less than 1 inch of water content in the snowpack, just 5 percent of the March 3 historical average for that site. Snowpack measurements are online here. Continue reading

Colorado: House committee rejects clumsy GOP attempt to roll back renewable energy target

Playing politics with our future

dg

Got wind?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado won’t be lowering its 30 percent renewable energy target anytime soon, as lawmakers on a State House committee yesterday rejected a measure that would have cut the renewable energy standard from 30 percent to 15 percent. Continue reading

Climate: Do cities trigger their own weather?

Study tracks increased thunderstorm formation over Atlanta

A classic anvil-headed cumulunimbus cloud drops showers just east of the Continental Divide near Grays and Torreys Peak Tuesday evening. We haven't had a chance to see these beautiful clouds recently because we've been right underneath them. Click on the image to learn more about thundercloud formation.

A classic anvil-headed cumulunimbus cloud drops showers just east of the Continental Divide near Grays and Torreys Peak in Colorado.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Along with steadily raising global temperatures in the long-term, human-caused changes in land cover can affect day-to-day weather, including the formation of thunderstorms.

Specifically, urban areas appear to help trigger the formation of thunderstorms, possibly due to an increased concentration of aerosols, according to new research published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. Continue reading

Environment: Can adaptive grazing techniques help rebuild soils and sequester carbon?

Most modern cattle, including these longhorns near Silverthorne, Colorado, are descended from a

Adaptive grazing could have environmental benefits, researchers say. bberwyn photo.

Short-rotation pastures with long recovery time for fields may yield environmental benefits

Staff Report

FRISCO — While healthy forests are known to be important carbon sinks in the global atmospheric cycle, there’s also a role for robust soils, according to a study team that’s exploring whether new grazing management techniques could have long-term environmental benefits.

The Arizona State University-SoilCarbon Nation team is looking at adaptive multi-paddock grazing, rotating stock through small pastures for short periods of grazing and longer recovery periods for soil and vegetation.  The method mimics the migrations of wild herd animals, such as elk, bison and deer, and could help create robust soils, watersheds and wildlife habitat while sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide. Continue reading

Climate: Average U.S. temp nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit above average in January 2015

kl;h

Warm across the West. Graphic courtesy NOAA.

Warm temperatures records outpace cold readings by seven to one

Staff Report

FRISCO — Despite plenty of media hype about snowstorms in the Northeast, January 2015 picked up where December 2014 left off — with above average temperatures across most of the U.S.

In its monthly state of the climate report, the National Climatic Data Center reported that record high temperatures outnumbered record-low readings by about seven-to-one for the month. Preliminary data show there were 3,499 warm daily temperature records broken or tied (1,906 warm maximum and 1,593 warm minimum), compared to 775 cool daily temperature records broken or tied (441 cool maximum and 334 cool minimum). Continue reading

Environment: EPA says Keystone XL pipeline could add 1.37 billion tons of ‘extra’ greenhouse gases to atmosphere

sdg

sdg

Oil price drop should be bigger factor in evaluations

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — In case there was ever any doubt (and there wasn’t), the EPA this week made it clear that construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would result in a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The agency’s formal comment letter to the State Department focused on shifting market conditions, including the recent dip in oil prices, pointed out that the overall analysis for the pipeline failure to explore alternative routes that would not put critical land and water resources at risk. Continue reading

Climate: Study shows how smoke from distant wildfires can affect tornado formation

A tornado near Lakeview, Texas. Photo courtesy NOAA.

A tornado near Lakeview, Texas. Photo courtesy NOAA.

New study could help produce better tornado forecasting

Staff Report

FRISCO — Under certain conditions, wildfire smoke transported thousands of miles can intensify tornadoes in U.S., according to University of Iowa researchers, who studied how smoke from agricultural burning in Central America affected tornado conditions in the United States.

The research specifically looked at the smoke impacts on an April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak that spawned 122 twisters, killing 313 people, considered the most severe tornado event since 1950. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,233 other followers