Biodiversity: NOAA research voyage aims to track rare North Pacific right whales

New data from the Gulf of Alaska expedition will help guide ongoing conservation efforts


North Pacific right whales are among the most endangered marine mammal species. There may be as few as 30 individuals remaining. Photo via NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO —There may only be about 30 North Pacific right whales remaining, but fisheries scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are determined to do all they can to try and save the species.

To start, a team of researchers has set out on a month-long research voyage to track the whales in the Gulf of Alaska, where they sometimes visit. North Pacific right whales may be the  most endangered marine mammal to visit U.S. waters. The species was decimated by historic whaling in the 19th century, as well as illegal whaling by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Continue reading

Study IDs Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska as hotspots for global warming impacts to fish populations

Northward shift of species projected, as Humboldt squid have already invaded West Coast waters

A map from the new University of British Columbia study shows the current distribution of species richness based on data going back to the 1950s.

A map from the new University of British Columbia study shows the current distribution of species richness based on data going back to the 1950s.

FRISCO — The Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea — both important commercial fishing areas — may be climate change hotspots that will see a significant shift in fish stocks in coming decades.

Cold-water species such as salmon and capelin have narrower temperature preferences than warmer water species, making them more sensitive to ocean warming and likely to respond more quickly, a new study concluded this week, finding that global warming will push West Coast marine species, including sharks and salmon, northward an average of 30 kilometers per decade. The findings are published in the journal Progress in Oceanography. Continue reading

Colorado: Finally, some snow in the forecast

Weather change coming, details uncertain

A Gulf of Alaska low will start to move toward western Colorado later this week.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — All those snow dances and sacrificial bonfires could pay off late this week as the weather pattern across North America looks to flip-flop, with high pressure in the West giving way to a broad Pacific trough that promises to bring widespread precipitation to the region.

But it’s too early to tell exactly where the snow will fall. For now, the forecast models are predicting that a vigorous cold front will cross Colorado Friday night into Saturday, bringing the best chance for snow. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Some spring powder in Summit County?

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Winter weather advisories posted for Tuesday night through late Wednesday

A spring sunset over Buffalo Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. BOB BERWYN PHOTO.

A big-picture view of the Pacific shows a big subtropical jet stream far to the south and some remnant winter energy swirling in the Gulf of Alaska. In between, an area of disturbed weather will move across the Rockies the next few days, bringing some fresh snow.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A classic spring storm is rolling across the West, marked by a deep trough of low pressure extending down into the desert Southwest. As an “inside slider,” the low will move east of the Continental Divide and set up a deep, moist northeast flow that could produce significant snowfall on the east slope of the Front Range under upslope conditions.

A winter weather advisory from 12 p.m. Tuesday night to 6 p.m. Wednesday (May 11), with 4 to 8 inches of snow possible above 7,000 feet along the Front Range. The winter weather advisory extends to the higher terrain of Summit County, where the National Weather forecast also calls for the chance of 4 to 8 inches of snow across the higher terrain. A-Basin could pick up some decent snow once the weather system moves east of the area Wednesday and the flow switches around to the north.

Farther west and south, around Vail, Aspen and Crested Butte, a winter storm warning is in effect, with heavier snow expected across south-facing slopes Tuesday night, shifting to north-facing slopes Wednesday. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Inch by inch …

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Morning alpenglow lights the crest of the Gore Range in Summit County, Colorado. Click on the image to see more sunrise photos.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A typical winter weather pattern is developing over Summit County, as a moist northwest flow rushes down from the Gulf of Alaska and over the state. Short periods of high pressure will bring dry and clear interludes, alternating with embedded disturbances bringing showery periods through the first half of next week. None of the systems looks to produce big dumps, but our snowpack will build, inch by inch.

Storm totals for the last two days include 10 inches at Wolf Creek, 6 inches at Copper Mountain and four inches at Loveland. Friday looks dry and cool, with highs in the mid-20s and a strong inversion that will trap cold air and smoke in the valley floors, possibly all day long. Lows the next few night are forecast to drop into the low single digits. The average high for Nov. 12 is 40 degrees, the average low is 12 degrees. The record high, 62 degrees, was set in 1952 and the record low, minus 18 degrees, was set in 1911. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Wintry storm winding up in the Gulf of Alaska

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

A big batch of westbound moisture is visible upstream over the Pacific the the GOES satellite image. Click on the photo to see the clouds in motion.

Most of next week is forecast to be cold, with snow on and off

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you like it nice and warm, enjoy the weekend, and if you’re looking forward to more snow, you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a major change in the pattern beginning Sunday, as a weak disturbance will graze the area with showers and bring gusty winds. Subsequently, a series of wintry storms will move across Colorado. The first is forecast to bring strong winds and significant snow Monday night into Tuesday, along with below-normal temperatures. Another storm is on the horizon for Thursday, and the final in the series could roll through next weekend. Continue reading


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