Posted on February 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Map of the northern US Atlantic margin showing the locations of newly-discovered methane seeps mapped by researchers from Mississippi State University, the US Geological Survey, and other partners.
Detailed mapping can help plan climate change adaptation
FRISCO — Huge wildfires have driven the conversion of Alaska forests to grass- and shrublands, and the state’s perennial ice and snow fields, as well as its vast wetlands are also shrinking, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The changing face of Alaska is revealed in a new land-cover data set, which provides detailed information useful to land use planners and decision-makers. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Alaska, climate change, global warming, land cover maps, water, wetlands | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The Colorado River Delta in May, 2014. Photo courtesy NASA.
Science team tracks effects of historic pulse flow
FRISCO — Last May’s pulse flow in the Colorado River helped revive vegetation along a huge swath of the river’s edge, triggering new plant growth and raising the water table in the delta. After comparing satellite images taken August 2013 with new images from this year, scientists calculated a 23 percent increase in the greenness of riparian zone vegetation. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: climate, Colorado River, Colorado River Delta, Colorado River pulse flow, water | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
An Arctic grayling in the Gulkana River, Paxson, Alaska. Photo courtesy USGS.
Conservation groups say the river fish needs endangered species protection
FRISCO — Wrangling over the fate Montana’s Arctic grayling will continue in court, as conservation groups this week challenged a federal finding that the fish don’t need Endangered Species Act protection.
Graylings are part of the salmon family, native to cold freshwater streams and rivers across Canada and Alaska, with a genetically distinct population in Montana that was nearly wiped out by the 1970s. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Arctic grayling, endangered species, Environment, Montana, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can critical habitat help recover vanishing western yellow-billed cuckoos?
Proposed protections not popular with western water users
FRISCO — Threatened yellow-billed cuckoos will have to hang on just a bit longer before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes a critical habitat proposal. The agency this week announced it is extending a public comment period on the plan for another 60 days, through Jan. 12, 2015.
The agency announced its original critical habitat plan back in August, proposing to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat in 80 separate units in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Now, federal biologists say they want more input on the birds’ biology and habitat and justification for exclusions from critical habitat. The agency also seeks information on the incremental economic effects of the proposed critical habitat designation. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Colorado River, endangered species, Environment, water, yellow-billed cuckoo | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
An irrigated hay field in western Colorado.
Per capita water usage drops 11 percent from 2005-2010
FRISCO — A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that overall water use in the U.S. dropped to its lowest level in 45 years. The USGS has tracked national water use since 1950.
The new report shows that total daily withdrawals dropped about 13 percent, from about 410 billion gallons per day in 2005, to 355 billion gallons per day in 2010, mainly from improvements in water-use technologies and management.
“Even as the U.S. population continues to grow, people are learning to be more water conscious and do their part to help sustain the limited freshwater resources in the country,” said Mike Connor, deputy secretary of the Interior. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, water | Tagged: Environment, irrigation public water supplies, per capita water use, USGS, water | Leave a comment »
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 »