Category: seasons

Experts project below average Rocky Mountain wildfire season

Alaska, Southwest could see early season forest fires

spring wildfire outlook rocky mountains
Experts say they aren’t expecting a severe wildfire season in the Rocky Mountain region.
Summit County wildfire
An unusual high elevation early season wildfire burns near Keystone, Colorado in 2012. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

April precipitation may have helped dampen the potential for a severe wildfire season in parts of the Rocky Mountain region and in the adjacent Great Plains, according to a new outlook from the interagency Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center.

The projections is based on various seasonal indicators including precipitation, snowpack average, temperatures, wind, plant and soil moisture, and the timing of green-up. These indices support a below average to near average fire season in 2016.

“The timing of the recent precipitation events, primarily in April, has been critical to assure the availability of soil moisture and subsequent green-up, which diminishes the threat of an early onset of fire season,” said RMACC fire meteorologist Tim Mathewson. Continue reading “Experts project below average Rocky Mountain wildfire season”

Climate: No let up in global warming heat wave across U.S.

Temperature records shattered in Alaska for April and year-to-date

2016 year to date temps US
For January to April 2016, temperatures across most of the U.S. have been far above average.

Staff Report

After a few blistering months, the average temperature across the U.S. cooled down slightly in April in many parts of the country, with the month ending up as the 18th-warmest April on record. But the slight downward tick wasn’t enough to make a big dent in the long-term trend — for the year to date (January-April), it’s the second-warmest such period on record, according to the monthly state of the climate report from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Continue reading “Climate: No let up in global warming heat wave across U.S.”

Travel: Death Valley sees wildflower ‘ super bloom’

Desert gold wildflowers blooming along Badwater Road in Death Valley. Photo courtesy NPS.

El Niño rains bring desert to life

Staff Report

Seeds that have been dormant for years in Death Valley’s harsh desert environment have burst into bloom this year, bringing the best wildflower bloom in a decade, according to the National Park Service.

A series of unusual storms in October dropped locally heavy rainfall in several areas of the park. The most rain fell in places without official rain gauges, but the National Weather Service estimated that over 3 inches of rain fell in just 5 hours in one area of the park. This autumn soaking was followed by enough winter rain to cause the widespread wildflower bloom. Continue reading “Travel: Death Valley sees wildflower ‘ super bloom’”

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.

Morning photo: Lingering …

Sweet October

After a chilly and rainy spell in mid-October, Indian Summer made a comeback late in the month, except here in Austria, it’s called Altweiber Sommer (old women’s summer). In the lowlands of the Danube River Valley there still hasn’t been a killing frost, which means there are garden roses hanging on to brilliant summer hues, and in the fields, wild mushrooms still abound. I wonder if it will last into November?

Morning photo: Rainy day(s)

Finding color on rainy, gray days isn’t all that hard, especially in the fall, when the plant world erupts in one last blast of color before winter’s grays and whites take over. Keeping my iPhone dry deep in the pocket of a raincoat, I set out for a short walk along the base of the Pöstlingberg, where residential streets give way to small urban garden plots, hedges and farm fields, looked for the brightest splotches I could find, including backyard fruit trees and berry bushes along the trail.

Study: Global warming won’t cut winter-related deaths

Winter deaths are unlikely to decline substantially because of global warming, a new study says. @bberwyn photo.

Professor Patrick Kinney of Columbia University

Hot summer temps more of a problem

Staff Report

FRISCO — Even though winters may become warmer as climate change ramps up, it probably won’t result in a big reduction of winter deaths, says a new study that contradicts the conventional wisdom on health impacts of climate change.

“For years I’ve been hearing people say that global warming will reduce winter deaths but I wanted to check this claim out for myself,” said Columbia University Professor Patrick Kinney.

Kinney and his colleagues used statistical methods to pick apart the possible factors contributing to deaths of older people during the winter; they found that cities with warmer winters have similar amounts of winter deaths as do cities with colder winters. The new research was published this week in IOP Publishing’s Environmental Research Letters journal. Continue reading “Study: Global warming won’t cut winter-related deaths”