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Is it time for a national climate summit?

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Ominous skies during last summer’s horrific Colorado wildfire season. Bob Berwyn photo.

Science, conservation groups call for high-level talks on addressing climate challenges

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Citing damage from intense storms like Sandy, more intense and frequent wildfires and prolonged droughts, a coalition of national groups, including the American Meteorological Society and the American Fisheries Society, are calling for a national, science-based climate summit.

In a Feb. 8 letter to President Bararck Obama, the groups said the summit “would be designed to identify policies and actions that can be taken by each Federal agency and by state and local governments to address the causes and effects of climate change.”

Other groups signing on to the letter include: Society for Conservation Biology, Society for Ecological Restoration, The Wildlife Society and the Ecological Society of America. Continue reading

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Global warming: Reservoir drawdowns a factor in atmospheric methane levels

Reservoir drawdowns appear to have the potential to increase heat-trapping methane in the atmosphere.

Study measures increased methane emissions as reservoir levels drop

By Summit Voice

Lowering water levels in reservoirs may significantly increase emissions of heat-trapping methane gas, according to Washington State University researchers who measured dissolved gases in the water column of Lacamas Lake.

Graduate student Bridget Deemer found methane emissions jumped 20-fold when the water level was drawn down. A fellow WSU-Vancouver student, Maria Glavin, sampled bubbles rising from the lake mud and measured a 36-fold increase in methane during a drawdown.

Methane is 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And while dams and the water behind them cover only a small portion of the earth’s surface, they harbor biological activity that can produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. There are also some 80,000 dams in the United States alone, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Inventory of Dams.

“Reservoirs have typically been looked at as a green energy source,” Deemer said. “But their role in greenhouse gas emissions has been overlooked.” Continue reading

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