Tutti Frutti …
Cherry pie …
Here comes the sun!
Seems like just yesterday it was snowing, and now you can eat ripe cherries off the trees, pluck strawberries in the fields and enjoy summer flowers in the fields. This weekend we spent a little time in the wine and forest country north of Danube and here’s what we found. Check out more Summit Voice travel photography in the Sunday Set archive for more travel pics, or head over to our online gallery at FineArt America for a full selection of nature and landscape photography.
Fresh air …
Cornflowers scattered in a grain field in the Mühlviertel region of Upper Austria.
The verdant blush of spring in the orchard country of Lower Austria.
Wild mountain strawberries.
Linz, sprawled along the Danube, with the crest of the Alps just visible on the far horizon on the right.
Out of the city and into the countryside the past few days, enjoying windswept grain fields, swimming holes, wild berries and ripening fruit trees in mountain orchards. A few scenes from Upper and Lower Austria in this early summer set. Visit the Summit Voice Sunday Set archive for more travel pics, or head over to our online gallery at FineArt America for a full selection of nature and landscape photography.
Warm up, cool down …
Swimming hole at Greifenstein, along the Danube.
Wild mountain strawberries.
Poppy field, Lower Austria.
Raspberry-mint? Yes, please!
Summer thunderstorm over the Zollergasse.
With temperatures about to hit 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) for the first time tomorrow, it seemed like a good time to dust off a couple of summer pics from the Summit Voice archives. There’s plenty to worry about in terms of summer heat and global warming, as one of my recent stories for @PacificStand shows, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a nice summer day or evening. The best way to cool off is total immersion, so when you start to feel the heat rise, head for the nearest neighborhood swimming hole and take the plunge. Failing that, find a shady spot at nearby pub and enjoy a cool drink, or hop on your bike and head for the country. Even with the sun glaring down, the cool breezes wafting across a field of grass and poppies will make you feel better. Visit the Summit Voice Sunday Set archive for more and check out our online gallery to see our collection of nature and landscape images.
While most people picture majestic, glacier-clad crags when they think of the Alps, the great European mountain range has a softer side at its far eastern edge, where the mountains gradually taper off toward the Danube Valley, just west of Vienna. The temperate climate in these foothills is perfect for apple and pear trees, growing so prolifically that there’s and entire district dedicated to the production of tasty cider. And in the famed Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), thick silver-barked beech trees dominate the forests. Just a bit farther south and west, the first high peaks of the Alps rise up to the summit of the Ötscher, a landmark peak surrounded by deeply carved valleys where crystal-clear aquamarine streams flow through protected landscapes like the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park
. In the last few weeks, the soft greens of spring burst forth in abundance in these landscapes near Austria’s first city, and we’re looking forward to more explorations this summer.
Travel a little, learn a lot
Glaciers melting along the coast of Greenland.
A common bumblebee visits a garden in Vienna, Austria.
Sea level rise caused by global warming is going to wash away many popular beaches in Southern California.
The glaciers in the Hohe Tauern region of the Austrian Alps have receded by hundreds of feet in just the past few decades.
Firefighters standing in a snow berm extinguishing a small wildfire burning in March 2012 at 10,000 feet in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This is not normal.
This set includes illustrations for some of my most recent stories in various environmental and climate news publications and if you’re a regular Summit Voice reader who is not on Twitter or Instagram, I’m providing a few links here.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how some of Greenlands coastal glaciers already passed passed a climate change tipping point about 20 years ago. Because of the physical processes of snowmelt and runoff, these glaciers are going to disappear even if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut to zero immediately. You can read the story here.
For Pacific Standard, I put together an environmental photo essay on bumblebees, some of the most important pollinators of wildflowers, especially in mountain regions and also in the far north. Bumblebees are important because they are cold-tolerant, so they’re out and about visiting early blooms while other pollinators are dormant. They’ll also fly long distances to visit a single flower. Without them, some species would go extinct. Check out the photo essay here.
You might have seen the recent Summit Voice story on beach erosion and how it’s going to wash away some world famous surf spots along the California coast, and in other areas where coastal strands are ringed by mountains, but if you missed it, you can see it here.
I also wrote about the annual Austrian glacier report for Deutsche Welle, a great global news organization that really does in-depth environmental and climate reporting. You can visit the DW website here, or follow them on Twitter for a daily feed. And my story on the dwindling glaciers is here.
Finally, in a critical story for Colorado and the rest of the West, I reported on how we are losing the war on wildfires and how we need to change our way of thinking about forests and fires in an era of rapid climate change. The story is online at Pacific Standard.
Out and about …
Trees abloom in Lower Austria.
The Erlauf River.
Nothing says Easter like a visit to the country to check out trees bursting into bloom and other signs of nature’s spring resurgence. It’s a good reminder that when you strip away the bizarre Christian mythology surrounding this holiday, what you have left is a good old-fashioned pagan celebration of life. And nothing could be more glorious than that because it’s the life-force of nature that’s at the basis of our reality, not some musty legends handed down over generations by a secretive theocractic organization.
City sights …
Down on the corner …
A short photographic stroll through a city that consistently ranks near the very top worldwide for quality of life. Vienna’s coffee houses and parks are definitely part of its charms, but it’s also a European hub science, culture, literature and tech innovation. And there are connections to my old stomping grounds in Colorado. For example, I spent several years following the story of how parasitic whirling disease wiped out most of Colorado’s rainbows
, and how biologists were working to restore the popular game fish with a population resistant to the disease. Then last summer, as I was working on a story about a massive fish die-off in the Yellowstone River
, my research led me to an Egyptian-born research scientist at the University of Vienna who has been studying various parasitic trout diseases, and linking them with global warming. Turns out that Mansour El-Matbouli also was an instrumental figure in the efforts to breed the strain of rainbow trout that are resistant to whirling disease, and that he had worked closely with aquatic biologists in Colorado that I also had interviewed for my stories in Colorado. We’re facing global environmental challenges, and they require a global and science-based response. It’s a small world.