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Climate: Ocean temps rising especially fast along coasts

Venice is at-risk to rising sea level. Photo by Bob Berwyn.

Heat island effect may drive rising sea levels, creating extra risk for populated coastal areas

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Scientists with the UK’s University of Southampton say they may have documented another unanticipated global warming feedback loop, as sea surface temperatures in coastal regions appears to be rising up to 10 times faster than the global average.

Based on a study in the famed Venice Lagoon, the researchers said they think the warming is due at least in part to the urban heat island effect, with highly developed areas radiating extra heat to their surroundings. The findings suggest the sea surface temperature increases driven by the heat island effect may outpace other factors in coastal areas. Continue reading

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Morning photo: Colorful!

A little bouquet for Friday Fotos …

A colorful Easter ensemble on the kitchen counter ... Happy (early) Easter!

Yes, this is me, wearing my most colorful shirt that I only wear when I'm traveling in tropical countries.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — I’ve been looking forward to the #FriFotos Twitter chat since Tuesday, when its founder, @EpsteinTravels, announced the theme as colorful. And, I just found out, FriFotos has a Facebook page.

I posted a photo essay focusing on color just a couple of weeks ago, and I considered re-using some of those images, but then I grokked on the meaning of colorful for a few minutes. After looking at the previous post, I realized that many of the images focused on one color, or perhaps several hues or shades of similar colors. Colorful, I think, has subtly different meaning (several meanings, actually), so cruised through the archives to pick out a new set, and few things epitomize colorful as well as a platter of Easter eggs.

This Jamaican peanut vendor at the Three Dives All-Jamaica Jerk Festival was a colorful character, with tales to tell.

Continue reading

Is Venice sinking into the sea — or not?

New study pinpoints rate of subsidence, which is partly due to plate tectonics as the Adriatic plate subducts beneath the Apennines

This resident wants to know ...

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Venice could sink deeper into its own lagoon by another three inches or so during the next 20 years, according to a team of researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California.

Using some of the latest technology available, the scientists say they’ve come a little closer to answering the vexing question of whether the city is actually drifting downward. Some recent studies suggested that’s not the case, but the recent analysis of GPS and satellite radar data shows otherwise.

“Venice appears to be continuing to subside, at a rate of about 2 millimeters a year,” said Yehuda Bock, a research geodesist with Scripps, and the lead author of the new article on the city’s downward drift. “It’s a small effect, but it’s important,” he said.

Given that sea level is rising in the Venetian lagoon, also at 2mm per year, the slight subsidence doubles the rate at which the heights of surrounding waters are increasing relative to the elevation of the city, he noted. In the next 20 years, if Venice and its immediate surroundings subsided steadily at the current rate, researchers would expect the land to sink up to 80 mm (3.2 inches) in that period of time, relative to the sea. Continue reading

Morning photo: Euro-mania

Dreamy photo paintings …

Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam, and while most of them are well-used, a few are set aside as artsy relics, like the flower-decked version on one of the canal bridges.

SUMMIT COUNTY — OK, I’ll admit, I’m a Europhile, but I’ll blame it on my bi-cultural upbringing and leave it at that. Despite my affection for the “Old Country,” I fell in love with the American West when I first traveled here some 30 years ago and never left. But I still enjoy revisiting old haunts like Amsterdam every now and then, as well as discovering new locales. And obviously, I had some fun post-processing a few of these images. I usually post more images than this in the daily photo essay, but there’s so much to look at in each one of this pictures, I thought I’d leave at this. Continue reading

Global warming: Venice storm surges may decrease

Storm surges that can damage historic Venice structures predicted to become less frequent under some climate change scenarios. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

Shifting storm patterns may have implications for preservation of historic city

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Although sea-level rise caused by global warming is considered a serious threat to Venice, new research suggests that storm surges in the northern Adriatic Sea may decrease in frequency by 30 percent in the next few decades, leaving the historic city less vulnerable to damaging floods.

The storm surges that push water into the maze of canals are generated by the passage of deep low-pressure systems, which cause sea level pressure gradients and strong, south-easterly Sirocco winds along the Adriatic Sea. These forces combine to push water into the northern end of the basin where Venice is located.

Some climate change models show that storm will shift in the coming decades. The climatologists who published the recent study said their work shows changes in extreme tidal levels under climate change must be considered on a location-by-location basis in spite of the projected increase in global sea level. Continue reading

Morning photo: Best of Florida

A little remix …

Nice shades of tan in this image. It's not my favorite color for walls, but it seems to work well for this scene. I may try converting this to black and white some day.

SUMMIT COUNTY — My trip to Florida in March was a jumbled rush in many ways, but we managed to find time to visit some quiet areas nearly every day — sunset walks on the beach, or evening strolls through scrubby pinelands. I posted several photoblogs while I was there, but until recently, I haven’t gone back to revisit that part of my archives. Here are a few selections from the sunshine state. Continue reading

Morning photo: Here and there …

And everywhere!

A turtle basks on the edge of some thousand-year-old rocks at a Roman-built colosseum in Butrint, Albania. Click on the image to learn more about this outstanding World Heritage site.

SUMMIT COUNTY — The semi-regular randomness photoblog returns, in which the photo editor does the two-finger scroll to see where the cursor stops. This post isn’t totally random, as it does have a bit of a travel theme. Most of the images link to other posts with information about the story, so don’t be shy — click away! Continue reading

Weekend headlines

Travel, photography and biodiversity …

A weekend sunrise in Summit County, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Not everyone reads the news on the weekend so we’ve compiled the weekend headlines here in this post for quick look back. My favorite weekend story was about a research team that recently rediscovered a lost wonder of the world in New Zealand — the famed pink and white terraces: Travel: Lost world wonder rediscovered in New Zealand. This story was also popular with Summit Voice readers around the world, quickly picking up almost 800 page views in just a couple of days, making it the most-viewed story of the weekend.

Saturday’s photoblog covered the built environment, featuring an array of architecture from waterfront mansions in Venice and hillside Ottoman villas in Albania to early catholic abbeys in Ireland: Morning photo: The built environment.

I also learned that about half the world’s freshwater turtles are threatened by extinction as their habitat disappears and water quality gets worse: Biodiversity: Researchers focus on turtle conservation.

More of the weekend headlines:

Morning photo: Best of the week

A look back …

A tasty hot cappucino, photographed at the train station in Verona, Italy, was part of our Think Hot photoblog early in the week, when the high temperature barely made it to zero. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE THE REST.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Sunday is the day to look back at the photoblogs of the past week, picking out some of the best shots. In the past few days, we tried to warm you up during some cold weather with some hot stuff, and we also looked back some of last summer’s best mushroom images. Another blog covered the built environment, with a look at some of our favorite buildings from around the world. Continue reading

Morning photo: To infinity and beyond …

Summit Voice is nothing if not global!

It's a classic scene, but the image was a bit murky, so when I was looking for a photo to illustrate a story on global tourism stats, I tried to jazz this up a bit. In the end, I really grew to like it as a stand-alone photo. Click on the image to read the story about the global tourism rebound in 2010.

More travel pics after the break … Continue reading


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