Sunday set: Winter dreams

From the archives

There’s pure magic in the deep, cold heart of winter, especially during the golden hour, when the rising or setting sun can be playful, mysterious and perplexing. The images in this set capture a bit of that magic, but there’s so much more. #getoutside #explore and don’t forget your camera! If you want to support independent journalism, visit our online gallery to buy a fine art print, with proceeds supporting Summit Voice.

Climate: New study documents Rocky Mountain meltdown

Changes will affect regional water supplies

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Global warming is fundamentally changing Colorado’s high alpine ecosystems. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Long-term data from a monitoring station high in the Colorado Rockies is showing remarkable signs of climate change, according to new findings published a special issue of the journal Plant Ecology and Diversity.

The research, conducted west of Boulder, along Niwot Ridge and Green Lakes Valley, shows that the only glacier in the area has been thinning by about three feet per year during the past 15 years.

And careful surveys of alpine vegetation shows that, at one location, the plant community has changed dramatically, with a significant increase in alpine shrubs above treeline in recent decades, according to said ecologist Mark Williams, of the University of Colorado Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

“Places that once harbored magnificent wildflowers are being replaced by shrubs, particularly willows,” Williams said in a press release from the National Science foundation, which helped fund the new study. Continue reading

Warmer climate means more fires — any questions?

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More wildfires ahead as world warms up. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

Study ties ancient wildfire surge in the Rockies to warmer climate phase

Staff Report

Offering yet more evidence that the West’s recent spate of megafires is linked with a warming climate, University of Wyoming researchers showed that a warm spell about 1,000 years ago also spurred more blazes. The study suggests that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate.

“What our research shows is that even modest regional warming trends, like we are currently experiencing, can cause exceptionally large areas in the Rockies to be burned by wildfires,” says John Calder, a Ph.D. candidate in UW’s Program in Ecology and the Department of Geology and Geophysics. Continue reading

Morning photo: Mountain colors

Dawn patrol … and more

FRISCO —What could be better than a rainbow stretched across the jagged skyline of the Tenmile Range? Maybe the scattered rays of the morning sun coming up over the Continental Divide, or the vibrant buzz of a bumblebee perched on purple thistle, or deepening purple and orange clouds over Frisco’s landmark Peak One. It’s tough to choose, that’s for sure, so I’m glad I don’t have to pick just one favorite image from this week’s photo wanderings in Summit County. If you love these shots, check out the online Summit Voice gallery, where a purchase goes a long way toward supporting independent Colorado environmental journalism.

Morning photo: Late summer

Monsoons and mushrooms …

Summer rolls by fast in the high country, but it’s not over yet. During a building El Niño year like this, subtropical moisture could linger over the southern Rockies late into August, and even early September, extending the monsoon and mushroom season. Already, this season’s abundant moisture has resulted in a bumper crop of fungi, not to mention a slew of glorious cloudscapes and carpets of wildflowers from the valleys up to the highest peaks. This short set includes a few of my favorite shots from the past week in Summit County, Colorado.

Morning photo: Back in the mountains

“That’s the sound of sunshine comin’ down …”

FRISCO —Travel is awesome, but it’s easy to come back from even the coolest trip when you live in a place as beautiful as the Colorado mountains, especially when it’s mushroom season and the sky fills with rainbows. I have a Facebook friend, former journalist Theo Stein, who often tags photo’s I’ve posted with the comment, “Tis a privilege to live in Colorado,” and I couldn’t agree more!

Morning photo: Sunday set

Overview …

FRISCO —I made it out for an early morning photo sesh/dogwalk today, heading to one of my favorite wrinkled areas along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. This particular stretch of shoreline is notched by deep coves, which is good for photography, because you can find different vantage points, in relation to the water and the mountains, to make the most of the reflections, and using the vegetation along the water’s edge to help frame the scenes. Once again, I was struck by how fast our area’s lodgepole pine forests are regrowing after the pine beetle outbreak that move through the north-central Colorado mountains in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In places that were logged early, many of the new trees are already two- to four-feet tall and growing densely, just like the old lodgepole pine forest. This morning’s clouds, fueled with moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores, helped soften the light. Click on the images in this set to choose the full-size option, especially for the pano shot, and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

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