Posted on September 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More midwinter snow, but faster spring meltout seems to be the new climate norm in the northern hemisphere.
‘As shifts in the timing of meltout occur, we lose an important and relatively stable snowpack reservoir …’
FRISCO —Dwindling spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere could accelerate the pace of global warming, as darker-colored ground emerges earlier in the year, absorbing more of the sun’s heat and intensifying atmospheric warming.
The spring decline is evident despite a trend toward more snow in mid-winter — but June snowcover in the northern hemisphere has been below average 10 years in a row. The downward trend is mainly due to warmer temperatures, not to any big changes in overall precipitation totals, according to the most recent IPCC climate assessment. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, snow cover extent, snowpack, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Water experts to discuss role of agriculture in Colorado River puzzle
Can ag water save the Colorado River?
FRISCO — A new $11 million effort to keep water flowing in the Colorado River to Lake Powell could up the pressure on Colorado farmers and ranchers to sell or lease their water.
In fact, agriculture is in the crosshairs in Colorado, according to the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which represents western Colorado water interests. Low water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the key storage buckets on the Colorado — have prompted measures to put more water in the river.
The CRWCD’s annual water seminar (Sept. 19, Grand Junction) will focus on what that means for western Colorado, with panel discussions and presentations on ag efficiency, the worth of ag efficiency and how ag efficiency works with the chief goal of sustaining ag as a viable industry. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: agriculture, Colorado River, drought, Lake Powell, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Pumphouse site to get new play feature for boaters
FRISCO — Along with the incredible natural terrain of the Colorado River through Gore Canyon, boaters will soon also have an artificial place to play. The Kremmling Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management this week announced approval of the proposed Gore Canyon whitewater park at the Pumphouse Recreation area, west of Kremmling in the Upper Colorado River Valley.
Filed under: boating, Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, recreation, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Gore Canyon whitewater park, kayaking, Pumphouse rafting, water | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘In our data we find unambiguous evidence of anthropogenic contribution to glacier mass loss’
Shrinking glaciers on the Dachstein Mountains in Austria will affect water supplies far downstream in local areas and in distant rivers. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Some of the world’s glaciers were shrinking before the onset of unchecked heat-trapping pollution, but the human factor in the glacial equation has grown exponentially in the past few decades.
A new modeling study led by scientists at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) shows that only about 25 percent of the global glacier mass loss during the period of 1851 to 2010 is attributable to anthropogenic causes. However, between 1991 and 2010 the fraction increased to about two-thirds.
“In the 19th and first half of 20th century we observed that glacier mass loss attributable to human activity is hardly noticeable but since then has steadily increased,” said researcher Ben Marzeion, explaining that scaled-down regional models can detect an anthropogenic influence in America and the Alps, where glacier changes are particularly well documented. Continue reading
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Posted on August 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More heatwaves, wildfires and water shortages in the outlook
Colorado will warm dramatically in the next few decades.
FRISCO — By the middle of this century, Denver’s average temperature could be 6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today — on par with Albuquerque, according to a new climate report released by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in early August.
Even with deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, Colorado will continue to get warmer. An increase of at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century is all but certain, and that will have a big impact on the state’s water supplies, state officials said, reinforcing the results of a series of studies all showing that rising temperatures will reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, Environment, global warming, stream flows, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 31, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Near critical shortages in California prompt action
Heading downstream … bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With Colorado River water supplies disappearing at a dizzying rate, and with a thirsty — and politically mighty — California parched by drought, the biggest water users at the table said this week they’ll invest $11 million to try and conserve significant amounts of water across all sectors, including including agricultural, municipal and industrial uses.
The Central Arizona Project, Denver Water, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority all signed on to what is being presented as a landmark water conservation agreement aimed at demonstrating “the viability of cooperative, voluntary compensated measures,” according to a press release from Denver Water. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, politics, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado River Basin, conservation, Denver Water, drought, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
No room for mistakes in the Colorado River Basin.
Conservation has to be the centerpiece of local, state and regional water planning efforts
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — When Congress 93 years ago formally renamed the Grand River as the Colorado, it probably didn’t have any inkling about what the mightiest river in the West would be subjected too early in the 21st century.
Now far removed from that era of hopeful development, the river is over-exploited from beginning to end. Headwater streams are diverted to water acres of bluegrass lawns in Denver, and mountain resorts mindlessly draw down tributaries for snowmaking during the low-flow season, just when trout most need the water.
Just this week, scientists said they’ve documented an astounding rate of water loss in the basin from groundwater pumping alone, which may turn out to be a worse problem than we think, groundwater development is state-regulated, therefore not as closely tracked as the diversions and storage related to major reservoir operations.
And all the pressures have intensified in recent years: More population growth, more development, more demand for food and irrigation, a 14-year dry spell across the West and a warming climate. Even without manmade global warming, ancient trees tell us that the region has seen longer and more intense droughts in the past few thousand years.
The Colorado is tapped out. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado River Day, Environment, water | 1 Comment »