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Climate: Scientist more certain, reporters more confused?

Study looks at use of ‘hedging language’ in newspaper climate stories

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The science is unequivocal, but the reporting is not.

Staff ReportFRISCO — Scientists may be more convinced than ever that greenhouse gas emissions are gradually frying the planet, but journalists just can’t seem to shake the habit of using “hedging language” that leaves room for doubt, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.The study compared newspaper coverage of climate science in 2001 and 2007, finding in that snapshot view that the use of wimpy, ambivalent words was more common in 2007, even though scientific certainty about the causes and impacts of global warming has grown. Continue reading

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Climate: Giant space-based mirrors? Probably not

Study finds reducing emissions is the best way to slow global warming

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Ever warmer …

Staff Report

FRISCO — In case anyone was thinking that humanity can engineer its way out of the global warming crisis, a new study by scientists with UCLA and other universities has found that the only thing that will really work is a significant reduction greenhouse gas emissions.

Positioning giant mirrors in space to reduce the amount of sunlight being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere or seeding clouds to reduce the amount of light entering earth’s atmosphere are not likely to be effective or practical in slowing global warming. Continue reading

Climate: Antarctic ice melting faster than ever

New satellite data details rate of melting

Yes, there is still lots of ice in Antarctica, but it's melting faster than ever. bberwyn photo.

Yes, there is still lots of ice in Antarctica, but it’s melting faster than ever. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Yet another major study — the third within a week — confirms that the Antarctic ice sheets are going to big factors in the rise in sea level during the next few decades.

Led by scientists from the University of Leeds, the study shows that Antarctica is losing about 159 billion tons of ice each year — twice as much as during the last detailed survey. The latest assessment relied on detailed measurements of ice sheet elevation change from data collected by the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite mission, which carries an altimeter specially designed for this task. Continue reading

Climate: Average April across the U.S.

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Temps for year-to-date still running below average

Staff Report

FRISCO — Despite a few cold snaps here and there, the average April temperature across the U.S. was remarkably close to normal, at .7 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, according to the latest monthly report from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Most of the country saw near-average readings for the month, with a narrow belt of above-normal temps along the West Coast and pocket of cold in the upper Midwest.

For the year to-date, however, the average temperature across the contiguous 48 states is .4 degrees below the 20th century average, making in the 36th-coldest January to April period on record, and the marking the coldest start to the year since 1993 — mainly due to very cold readings in the eastern U.S. Read the full report here. Continue reading

Climate: West Antarctic Ice Sheet is in trouble

Meltdown is inevitable …

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New findings require upward revision of sea level rise estimates. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Scientists say it’s only a matter of time before a huge chunk of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melts into the ocean, potentially raising sea level around the world by several feet.

“The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable,” said glaciologist Eric Rignot, a UC Irvine Earth system science professor who is also with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating parts of the glaciers. At this point, the end appears to be inevitable.” Continue reading

Climate: Utah tree-ring study shows severity of historic megadroughts

Luminosity.

Old Douglas firs can help reveal historic climate cycles.

Recent dry spells not so bad compared to past centuries

Staff Report

FRISCO — A tree-ring reconstruction of Utah’s climate going back to 1429 shows that the state has experienced several mega-droughts in past centuries that would be life-changing if they happen again, according to Brigham Young University professor Matthew Bekker.

The worst drought of the modern era, the 1930s Dust Bowl, barely ranks on the top 10 list of droughts in that 500-year span,” Bekker said. The findings reinforce similar studies for the Colorado River Basin. Continue reading

Declining populations spur Colorado mule deer strategy summit

Stakeholders to help hash out a plan in facilitated meeting format

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A Colorado mule deer near Missouri Creek. Photo courtesy Kim Fenske.

By Summit Voice

*More Summit Voice mule deer stories here

FRISCO —Colorado wildlife managers are trying to develop a strategy to confront the continued decline in the state’s mule deer population. To get some input on shaping a plan, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in coordination with The Keystone Center, an independent facilitator, is holding a series of seven public meetings across the state, including three in the northwest region during May. The resulting strategy will guide agency efforts to work towards increasing mule deer populations. Continue reading

Morning photo: Blue light special

UV haze …

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Some of the weirdest blue light that I’ve seen in the mountains, taken early morning off Ute Pass Road in Summit County, Colorado. DSLR,

FRISCO — A quick and random selection of mostly early morning shots featuring some unusual light, along with some freaakin’ cool images of the melting ice slabs along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. Continue reading

Global March temps 4th-warmest on record

Parts of Europe, central Asia were record warm

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Hot and cold in March 2014. Map courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The average global temperature in March 2014 soared to the fourth-highest reading on record, mainly due to warmer temperature readings over land surfaces, which averaged 2.39 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century norm, according to the monthly report from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Climate analysts said it was the warmest March since 2010 — the last time that an El Niño cycle influenced global temperatures. The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 1.30 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term historic average. For the year to-date, the global temperature is running 1.08 degrees above average, making it the seventh-warmest January-March period on record. Continue reading

Climate: Is the jet stream getting curvier?

A warming Arctic is changing the configuration of the jet stream, which affects mid-latitude weather. GRAPHIC COURTESY NOAA.

A warming Arctic is changing the configuration of the jet stream, which affects mid-latitude weather. GRAPHIC COURTESY NOAA.

New study traces historic changes in North American weather patterns

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A new University of Utah-led study suggests that this past winter’s persistent weather pattern across North America is linked with changes in the jet stream that may become even more pronounced as the Earth’s climate warms.

“If this trend continues, it could contribute to more extreme winter weather events in North America, as experienced this year with warm conditions in California and Alaska and intrusion of cold Arctic air across the eastern USA,” said geochemist Gabe Bowen, senior author of the study. Continue reading

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