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Global warming: Feds launch wildlife adaptation plan

“The impacts of climate change are already here and those who manage our landscapes are already dealing with them.” ~David Hayes, Int. Dept.

More frequent desert dust storms dropping pollution on the Rocky Mountain snowpack is one of the climate change impacts affect the high country.

SUMMIT COUNTY —The Obama administration is launching an ambitious effort to create a climate-change adaptation strategy aimed at reducing the vulnerability and increase the resilience of fish, wildlife, plants and the communities that depend on them in the face of climate change.

Starting with identifying and describing the current and projected climate change impacts on the eight major ecosystems of the United States, the administration hopes to develop collaborative strategies and actions that agriculture, energy, transportation and other sectors can take to promote adaptation of fish, wildlife and plants. Continue reading

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Western governors seek better climate information

Western weather forecasting should improve under a new agreement between NOAA and the Western Governors' Association.

Extreme weather prompts call for improved forecasting

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Floods, drought, wildfires and severe storms have spurred the Western Governors’ Association and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make a deal that will improve the  development and delivery of climate science and services to Western states.

The agreement will increase collaboration and boost existing efforts to ensure Western states and the U.S. Pacific islands are better able to plan for natural hazards.

The memorandum of understanding was signed last week at the WGA’s Annual Meeting in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and Govs. C.L. “Butch” Otter (Idaho) and Chris Gregoire (Washington), the Chair and Vice Chair of WGA. WGA includes Governors from 19 Western states and three U.S. Flag Pacific Islands. Continue reading

Global warming to increase human health risks

NOAA teams up with university researchers to show how warmer temperatures will increase toxic algae blooms and exposure to other waterborne pathogens

Dust blowing off the Sahara into the Atlantic is clearly visible in the NASA satellite image. Research suggests rising concentrations of iron from the dust will increase blooms of toxic algae.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — At the same time that ecologists and forest health researchers discussed some of their latest global warming research at a symposium in Aspen, Colorado, scientists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science unveiled studies showing how rising temperatures could result in new human health risks within the next 30 years.

“With 2010 the wettest year on record and third warmest for sea surface temperatures, NOAA and our partners are working to uncover how a changing climate can affect our health and our prosperity,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “These studies and others like it will better equip officials with the necessary information and tools they need to prepare for and prevent risks associated with changing oceans and coasts.”

In several studies funded by NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Initiative, findings shed light on how complex interactions and climate change alterations in sea, land and sky make ocean and freshwater environments more susceptible to toxic algal blooms and proliferation of harmful microbes and bacteria. Continue reading

Opinion: ‘Trust, but verify’ holds true for Gulf oil spill

Oil spreading across the Gulf of Mexico in July, 2009. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

More unpleasant facts about the oil disaster coming to light in reports and documents obtained with Freedom of Information Act requests

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — I never thought I’d quote Ronald Reagan, but the latest news on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster makes me think of his admonition to “trust, but verify.”

Late Wednesday, the federal government released a report on how it arrived at its conclusions about the rate of oil that was spewing from BP’s failed well, and as it turns out, the widespread skepticism about some of those estimates was more than justified.

The report was released at the start of the holiday weekend, at a time when the media traditionally focuses on cheery recipes and the latest shopping news from the local mall. It suggests that there was a lot of internal debate, not only about the numbers themselves, but about how the information was being communicated to the public, and about the role of government and non-government scientists involved in the oil spill calculations. Continue reading

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