Loss of coral reefs could make some islands uninhabitable

The residents of

Some reef-ringed atolls will see their drinking water supplies wiped out due to global warming.

Island flooding likely to increase dramatically as coral reefs die

Staff Report

FRISCO —Besides losing critical marine nurseries, the decline of coral reefs will put some island communities at direct risk of flooding and even threaten freshwater drinking supplies, according to a new study that tries to project how climate change will affect the ability of coral reefs to mitigate coastal hazards.

About 30 million people living on low-lying coral islands and atolls are dependent on ecosystem services provided by reefs. Right now, some of those islands see flooding from large waves a few times each decade, but that number is expected to increase dramatically. Continue reading

Spike in extreme rains linked with global warming

Raindrops splashing into a pond in Vail. PHOTO BY DYLAN BERWYN.

A new study documents a distinct increase in extreme rainfall events linked with global warming.

Southeast Asia sees biggest increase in dangerous rainstorms

Staff Report

FRISCO —There’s clear evidence that global warming is causing more frequent record-breaking rainstorms, according to scientists with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The upward trend in extreme rainfall events has been striking in the last 30 years, and particularly noticeable in Southeast Asia, the researchers said in a new study, explaining that the spike lies outside the range of natural variability.

The worldwide increase is consistent with rising global temperatures, which are caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, the scientists said. Continue reading

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir outflows boosted again

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The Blue River near flood stage near Silverthorne.

Blue River running high through Silverthorne

Staff Report

FRISCO — Flows in the Lower Blue River, below Dillon Dam, are going up again.

With snowmelt speeding up under warm and sunny skies, Denver is boosting the outflow to 1,800 cfs to avoid a scenario where Dillon Reservoir spills at a level that causes outflows to go over that level.

That’s exactly what could happen without upping controlled releases now, Denver Water spokesman Matt Wittern said via email.

“Our experts predict that, if we maintained 1,700 cfs outflow and inflows remain around 2,400, Dillon Reservoir would be full and spilling within a week,” Wittern said. That could bring excessive flows and the potential for flooding below Dillon Reservoir.

Wittern said Denver Water is estimating the remaining snowpack in the Blue River as equivalent to between five and seven inches of water near Hoosier and Fremont passes.

That snow is melting fast, with no letup in sight. Inflows from runoff into Dillon Reservoir averaged 2,467 cfs Tuesday, which was well above current and planned outflows. And those inflows aren’t expected to drop below 1,700 cfs in the next seven days, which means Dillon Reservoir will continue to fill quickly, at the rate of about six inches per day. As of Wednesday, the reservoir was 3.25 feet below capacity.

Wittern also explained that Denver Water can’t legally divert water through the Roberts Tunnel if it’s not needed.

“Right now water levels are very high on the South PIatte River, eliminating this action as an option,” he said.

Troy Wineland, state water commissioner for the Blue River, said property owners in the Lower Blue who face flooding risks can prepare by perusing Summit County’s High Water Preparedness” manual which includes instructions on sandbag preparation and placement, as well as free sand / bag supply locations.

Wineland also said water users in the Lower Blue should be aware that higher flows will push more water through diversions, possibly over-topping in irrigation ditches.

Colorado: Flash flood warning covers DIA

Intense thunderstorm drops 2 inches of rain in northeast Denver

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Moisture streaming northeastward across Colorado has triggered another round of heavy thunderstorms.

FRISCO — With rain gages picking up anywhere from 1 to 2.5 inches of rain over northeastern Denver, the National Weather service has issued a flash flood warning for Denver International Airport and surrounding areas.

Flooding is expected in northern Aurora, northeastern Commerce City, Brighton, Denver International Airport’s terminal concourses and Barr Lake.

The flash flood watch is in effect through 9:30 p.m. The NWS is urging people to move to higher ground: “Act quickly to protect your life.” Small creeks and streams will overflow, with danger spots along highways, especially at underpasses.



		

	

Widespread flood warnings in Colorado

Hikers, motorists warned about overflowing streams and rivers

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Subtropical moisture streaming into Colorado is triggering more flood concerns.

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Flooding is possible in southwest Colorado, parts of the high country, as well as many Front Range streams.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With more subtropical moisture streaming into Colorado from the Southwest, parts of the state are under flood watches and flood warnings at the start of the weekend, including:

  • South Boulder Creek near Eldorado Springs,
  • Cache La Poudre River near Greeley affecting Weld County.
  • South Platte River at Henderson affecting Adams County.
  • South Platte River near Kersey affecting Weld County.
  • South Platte River near Weldona affecting Morgan County.
  • South Platte River near Balzac affecting Logan, Morgan and
    Washington Counties.

In the high country, the Eagle River is expected to come close to overflowing this weekend, with a flood advisory for the weekend. Other rivers running high include the Roaring Fork between Aspen and Glenwood Springs and the Colorado River from the Eagle/Grand County line to the Utah border. Continue reading

Climate research shows clear trend of more Midwest flooding during past 50 years

Warmer atmosphere means more moisture, more rain

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Missouri River flooding in July, 2011, via NASA’s Earth Observatory program.

Staff Report

FRISCO — After carefully reviewing data from hundreds of stream gauges, University of Iowa scientists say they’ve identified a clear trend of increasing floods during the past 50 years.

“It’s not that big floods are getting bigger, but that we have been experiencing a larger number of big floods,” said Gabriele Villarini, a civil and environmental engineer and corresponding author on the paper, published Feb. 9 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change. Continue reading

Global warming: Many U.S. coastal areas to see frequent flooding sooner rather than later

High water at the mouth of the Mississippi River, near Venice, Louisiana.

High water at the mouth of the Mississippi River, near Venice, Louisiana. bberwyn photo.

Study eyes flood ‘tipping’ points

Staff Report

FRISCO — Rising sea levels will subject many coastal areas in the U.S. to frequent flooding by the middle of the century, according to a new NOAA study aimed at identifying flood “tipping points.” By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened by 30 or more days of flooding each year the study concluded.

The research was led by NOAA scientists William Sweet and Joseph Park and published this week in the American Geophysical Union’s online peer-reviewed journal Earth’s Future. Continue reading

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