Posted on January 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New report recommends bolstering natural defenses, better long-range planning for coastal communities
Rising sea levels are already eating away at Florida beaches, requiring expensive augmentation projects. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with obvious threats like flooding, rising sea level is likely to affect the U.S. in more unexpected ways, including a decline in seafood quality and shifts in disease patterns, according to a new technical report released this week by the U.S. Geological Survey and NOAA.
The report emphasizes the need for increased coordination and planning to ensure U.S. coastal communities are resilient against the effects of climate change. Sea level rise and increases in extreme weather threaten the the sustainability of many existing coastal communities and natural resources, according to USGS researcher Virginia Burkett.
“An increase in the intensity of extreme weather events such as storms like Sandy and Katrina, coupled with sea-level rise and the effects of increased human development along the coasts, could affect the sustainability of many existing coastal communities and natural resources,” said Virginia Burkett of the U.S. Geological Survey and co-lead author of the report. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate, flooding, global warming, sea level rise, storm surges | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Melting Arctic ice altering mid-latitude weather patterns
A huge and persistent ridge of high pressure in the eastern Pacific has been shunting the jet stream northward, preventing storms from reaching Colorado. The pattern has been in place much of the winter, sustaining serious drought conditions across parts of the Southwest. Graphic courtesy San Francisco State University.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — If it feels like the weather has been stuck in a rut, that may not be too far from the truth. The jet stream is slowing down and meandering farther north and south, with more blocking patterns setting up across the northern hemisphere.
That leads to more extreme weather, both on the wet and dry side of the scale, said Rutgers University research professor Dr. Jennifer Francis, speaking at last week’s Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge.
Francis has been studying the connection between vanishing Arctic sea ice and weather in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, and evidence is piling up that the intense warming at high latitudes has serious implications for North America, Europe and Asia. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Colorado, global warming, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Arctic amplification, climate, drought, extreme weather, flooding, global warming, Jennifer Francis, Jet stream, Rutgers University | 5 Comments »
Posted on November 21, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite image shows a snow-covered UK in January 2010.
Modeling study suggests significant seasonal shifts in rainfall patterns
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Shifts in large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns driven by global warming could lead to an increased risk of damaging floods in parts of the UK, according to a modeling study by German researchers.
The research suggests a season shift in rainfall trends, with heavier precipitation in late autumn in the south-eastern regions of the country. In the the northwest, the heaviest rainfalls will be a little earlier — in November, rather than December.
These shifts will coincide with times of the year when river catchments in those regions are at their maximum water capacity, meaning there would be an increased risk of flooding. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Environment, extreme weather, flooding, global warming, UK, United Kingdom | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Study in Alpine lakes traces 1,600-year of history climate change
Sediments in Austria’s Mondsee show more evidence of flooding during transitions to cooler climate phases.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — While many recent research projects have highlighted the potential for more extreme weather as the planet warms up, a new study from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences indicates that parts of the Alps saw more extreme flooding during periods of transition to cooler climatic conditions.
By studying sediment layers in the Mondsee, an Alpine lake near Salzburg, Austria, the researchers found evidence of flooding during the time of the Great Migration and the Early Middle Ages (AD 450-750), as well as the transition to the Little Ice Age (AD 1140-1520). In contrast, there was less flooding during the medieval warm phase (AD 1000-1140) and the coldest period of the Little Ice Age (AD 1600-1700). (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Alps, climate change, extreme weather, flooding, Great Migration, Little Ice Age, Mondsee | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 25, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
An incoming storm system is bringing rain and snow to Colorado. Graphic courtesy NWS.
Fall storm brings much-needed moisture to state, but flooding possible in burned areas
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Rain may change over to snow above 10,000 feet in the Colorado high country today, as a strong cold front, associated with a tightly wound low pressure system over Utah, sweeps through the area.
According to the National Weather Service, 1 to 3 inches of the white stuff is not out of the question at the higher elevations, with scattered precipitation expected to continue through Wednesday and more showers possible Thursday before conditions start to dry out.
The weather system will also bring some of the coolest temperature readings to the area since last April, with highs barely climbing into the 50s, and nighttime lows dropping below freezing the next few nights, seasonable readings for this time of year. The daytime highs the next few days will actually be below average.
With the low pressure system stalling over northwest Colorado, the northeastern plains, and potentially other parts of the state, will see some much-needed moisture. That’s a mixed blessing in the Colorado Springs area, where radar is showing heavy showers over the Waldo Canyon burn area, leading to a flood advisory.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado weather, flooding, National Weather Service, snow, Waldo Canyon Fire flooding | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A 2004 NASA satellite image shows a volcano erupting on Vanuatu, in the South Pacific.
Island nations can expect to see more drought and flooding
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Already under the gun from rising sea levels, some South Pacific island nations could also be swamped by more extreme floods and hit by drought as global temperatures rise in response to more heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The international study, led by CSIRO oceanographer Dr. Wenju Cai, examines how the South Pacific rain band will respond to greenhouse warming.
The South Pacific rain band is largest and most persistent of the Southern Hemisphere, spanning the Pacific from south of the Equator, south-eastward to French Polynesia. Occasionally, the rain band moves northwards towards the Equator by ip to 1,000 kilometers, inducing extreme climate events. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, Environment, flooding, global warming, La Niña | Tagged: climate change, CSIRO, extreme weather, flooding, global warming, South Pacific rain band | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 9, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Flooding a concern along the Rio Grande
Along the Rio Grande …
By Summit Voice
It appears that the U.S. has not learned from recent Eastern European history that walls and fences just don’t work when it comes to trying to keep people in or out of a country.
Pushed mostly by politicians with a xenophobic agenda and pandering to a xenophobic constituency, plans for a massive border wall along the Rio Grande continue, and now, it appears as though the new 14-mile section of wall could block flood water from draining into the Rio Grande, bottling it up in towns and farm land and significantly worsening damage inflicted, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
The three border wall sections will consist of concrete bollards spaced four inches apart and topped by as much as 15 feet of steel fencing. If the bollards become choked with storm debris, the structures will function as dams, deflecting water out of the river channel and perhaps even changing the channel of the River itself (and thus our border). The wall sections are slated to be placed in the Rio Grande floodplain adjacent to the communities of Roma, Rio Grande City and Los Ebanos. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, world news | Tagged: border wall, flooding, immigration, International Boundary and Water Commission, Mexico, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Rio Grande, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, World news | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 29, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Rains, flooding threaten water infrastructure
Climate researchers say they’ve documented an increasing number of severe storms in the Midwest most likely linked with global warming.
SUMMIT COUNTY — A startling increase in severe storms is straining water infrastructure and threatening public health and safety, according to a report from the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The number of those big storms has doubled in the last 50 years, with greatest increase in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.
“Global studies already show that human-caused climate change is driving more extreme precipitation, and now we’ve documented how great the increase has been in the Midwest and linked the extreme storms to flooding in the region,” said Rocky Mountain Climate Organization president Stephen Saunders,” suggesting that it might not be accurate to simply characterize the storms as natural disasters. “And if emissions keep going up, the forecast is for more extreme storms in the region,” he said. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, flooding, global warming | Tagged: climate, extreme weather, flooding, global warming, Midwest, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rocky Mountain Climate Organization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Instead of worrying about floods, water managers will be looking to maximize storage of what could be a very low runoff year in some of Colorado’s river basins
This year's snowpack (bright blue) is tracking close to the levels of 2002 (black) and well below average (light blue). Last year's near-record snowpack is shown in red.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Even though it feels like winter is just getting started in the high country, Colorado water managers are starting to think about spring runoff, flooding and water storage.
Denver Water will issue its first spring reservoir outlook early next month after the March 1 snowpack figures have been compiled, and the National Weather Service this week issued its first outlook for flood potential.
No surprise, the spring runoff flood potential is slightly below average in the South Platte Basin, the Upper Colorado Basin and the North Platte Basin, including the headwaters tributaries in Grand, Jackson and Summit counties. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, La Niña, Snow and weather, Summit County news, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado River Basin, Colorado water supplies, Denver Water, flooding, spring runoff | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Text or email messages send out flood info from 7,000 stations
High water in the Blue River in Breckenridge, Colorado, July 2011.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Spring runoff season isn’t all that far away, and while rivers won’t be flowing anywhere near as high as last year, a new high-water alert system from the U.S. Geological Survey could be useful to boaters or others who might be in harm’s way from flooding.
The WaterAlert service sends out email and text notifications about water levels from any of the USGS’s 7,000 USGS real-time streamgages around the country. There is no cost to users for this notification service.
“USGS WaterAlert provides current river information to people in harm’s way,” said Bill Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water. “WaterAlert can be used by emergency managers and the general public alike as a first alert for a developing flood.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, rivers, water | Tagged: flood warnings, flooding, rivers, USGS, water, WaterAlert | 1 Comment »