Tag: Earth

Global warming: More evidence that geo-engineering is likely to have unintended consequences

Trying to reflect sunlight artificially could backfire

The best path to slowing global warming is to reduce greehouse gas emissions.

Donate to the Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger project

mtnYour contribution to this independent journalism project will be matched dollar for dollar by Beacon. Click to learn more and make a donation.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — When it comes to global warming nothing is simple — and that includes proposals to mitigate the effects of heat-trapping greenhouse gases with planetary scale geo-engineering schemes. One of the ideas that’s been floated is to seed the atmosphere with material in order to reflect some of the sun’s incoming heat.

But a recent study by German researchers suggests that it probably won’t work — and could have unexpected consequences for the global water cycle. In their model, based on an energy balance analysis, the researchers showed that the water cycle responds differently to heating by sunlight than it does to warming due to a stronger atmospheric greenhouse effect. Upsetting that balance could shift the Earth’s rainfall patterns, the researchers said. Continue reading “Global warming: More evidence that geo-engineering is likely to have unintended consequences”


Study: New climate extremes just around the corner

“We are pushing the ecosystems … out of the environment in which they evolved ‘

Tropical regions will be the first to move outside the bounds of historic norms.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Starting with the tropics, many locations on Earth will start to see new climate normals within the next few decades — Kingston, Jamaica could reach that point within the next decade, and other well-known cities, including Singapore, Mexico City and Phoenix will see off-the-chart temperatures by mid-century, according to climate scientists and geographers with the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Their study, published Oct. 10 in Nature, creates an index of the year when the mean climate of any given location on Earth will shift continuously outside the most extreme records experienced in the past 150 years.

The index used the minimum and maximum temperatures from 1860-2005 to define the bounds of historical climate variability at any given location. The scientists then took projections for the next 100 years to identify the year in which the future temperature at any given location on Earth will shift completely outside the limits of historical precedents, defining that year as the year of climate departure.

“The results shocked us. Regardless of the scenario, changes will be coming soon,” said lead author Camilo Mora. “Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past.” Continue reading “Study: New climate extremes just around the corner”

Morning photo: Spring … really!


Buttercups bloomed this week, the first wildflowers after a long winter.

FRISCO — After a few false starts, it appears that spring has truly sprung in the Colorado high country, though it shouldn’t surprise anyone if it snows once (or twice) more before all is said and done. But the past few days, we’ve experienced beneficial moistening rains and the Earth is responding in overdrive. Grass and other plants are growing almost visibly from day to day, the first few wildflowers have popped and streams are swelling in their banks. Even after many years living high in the mountains, the speed always surprises me a little. Our native plants, adapted to a short growing season, seem to know there’s no time to waste.

The sun, captured in a raindrop.

Continue reading “Morning photo: Spring … really!”

NASA debunks 2012 end-of-the-world myths

Odds are good that the world will keep on turning after Dec. 21. Image courtesy NASA.

No meteors, mysterious planets or polar reversals coming

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — When my son started questioning whether he should be studying for his geometry final — set for the same day that the world is supposed to end — I knew that I needed some strong ammunition to keep him motivated.

It’s one thing for an impressionable teenager to pay attention to far-fetched internet myths about a mysterious planet on collision course with the Earth, or a sudden reversal of our planet’s magnetic field, but it’s a bit more disturbing to realized that even some adults that could otherwise be considered fairly intelligent and reasonable attach some sort of special significance to Dec. 21, 2012, but I suppose people will believe what they want to believe. Continue reading “NASA debunks 2012 end-of-the-world myths”

NASA releases stunning nighttime satellite views of Earth

‘Black Marble’

Find your town in this composite night view of North America. Image courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — One of the feeds that I eagerly look for in my social media streams each day is from NASA, mainly due to the stunning images the space agency posts on a regular basis. The pictures of Earth, from the melting ice caps to animated satellite loops of incoming weather systems, help keep things in perspective. It’s good to step back from  day to day events and realize how small this planet really is.

NASA is calling its latest images the Black Marble series because they are night shots, put together as composites from images captured on cloudless nights. Here’s part of NASA’s description of the new images. Visit this website for the full story. Continue reading “NASA releases stunning nighttime satellite views of Earth”

Climate: Does atmospheric dust cause warming or cooling?

NASA research adds to understanding of dust events

NASA often captures images of dust storms from orbiting satellites, but one recent study looked at the dust from the ground up, finding that the events can have localized warming effect.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Desert dust storms blowing across the Colorado Rockies from the Southwest have already been implicated as a factor  in earlier snowmelt; now, new research by NASA suggests that airborne dust can have a significant, localized effect on atmpospheric temperatures.

The study was conducted in a semi-arid region between China’s Taklimakan and Gobi deserts, where the NASA team set up a field research site in Zhangye. Using an array of upward-looking instruments for measuring airborne dust particles, they assessed the impact of dust storms from the adjacent deserts. Continue reading “Climate: Does atmospheric dust cause warming or cooling?”

Colorado: Get your Equinox groove on!

Goodbye summer, hello autumn …

Last year’s equinox from Lake Hill, above Dillon Reservoir in Summit County, Coorado.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — After a few late-summer snowfalls, there’s little doubt that change is in the air, and nothing marks that more than Saturday’s autumnal equinox, when summer turns to fall, and the nights start growing longer than the days. Technically, the equinox isn’t a day, but a single moment in time (:49 a.m.) when the sun crosses the equator, so to say, from north to south, when the Earth’s axis is tilted neither away from, nor toward the Sun. Day and night are about equal lengths in both the northern and southern hemisphere, and the sun passes directly overhead at the equator.

As Wikipedia puts it, “The equinox … is a precise moment in time which is common to all observers on Earth.”

Trace the path of the sun across the sky the next few weeks. You’ll notice that, by the middle of October, it will much farther south than it is right now, and, of course, lower in the sky. In observance of the day, the Slooh space camera will stream a free webcast of live shots of the sun from telescopes around the world.

The day of the equinox is also a good time to get a good sense of compass directions from your house or your yard, as the sun rises as close to due east as it ever will, then moving south of east the next three months until the winter solstice. For more details, check out this cool web page at Space.com. Continue reading “Colorado: Get your Equinox groove on!”