Tag: Front Range

Study quantifies role of oil and gas emissions in ozone formation along Colorado Front Range

Research to help shape efforts to reduce dangerous air pollution
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By Bob Berwyn
Emissions from oil and gas production along the Colorado Front Range are a significant, measurable part of the region’s chronic summer ozone problem, scientists concluded after taking a close look at air pollution during an extensive research project in the summer of 2014.

Ozone levels in the area often spike above 70 parts per billion, a level deemed by the EPA to be dangerous to human health and to the environment, causing respiratory problems and damage to plants. About 17 ppb of that ozone are produced locally; about 3 ppb come from oil and gas industry emissions, according to a new study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The researchers said their findings could help shape efforts to improve air quality in the region. Along with the volatile organic compounds released from oil and gas operations, nitrogen oxides from cars, buses and trucks are also a big factor. Any meaningful effort to improve air quality will have to address both sources. Continue reading “Study quantifies role of oil and gas emissions in ozone formation along Colorado Front Range”

Colorado just can’t get a grip on its smog problem

State  fails to meet EPA standard set to protect public health; ozone problems to worsen with global warming

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State regulators have left children, the elderly and asthmatics vulnerable to potentially deadly levels of ozone. Photo courtesy NREL.

By Bob Berwyn

The modest steps taken by Colorado to try and improve air quality along the Front Range aren’t enough, according to the EPA. This week, the federal agency said the state has failed to meet air quality standards set to protect public health.

In a Federal Register Notice, the EPA designated the Denver-Boulder-Greeley-Fort Collins-Loveland corridor as a nonattainment area because it didn’t meet the federal limits for ground-level ozone, the key ingredient of smog. Under the Clean Air Act, the state was required to bring the Front Range into compliance with smog limits by July of 2015.  Colorado failed to meet this deadline. Continue reading “Colorado just can’t get a grip on its smog problem”

New study challenges the conventional wisdom on severity of Front Range wildfires in Colorado

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A new study examines the history of wildfires along the Colorado Front Range.

Historic wildfires in the pre-suppression era burned just as intensely, scientists say

Staff Report

FRISCO — New research challenges the conventional wisdom that wildfires along the Colorado Front Range have become more severe.

A detailed assessment of fire history across more 1 million acres of forest suggests that only 16 percent of the area showed a shift from historically low-severity fires to severe, potential crown fires that can jump from treetop to treetop.

Even in the days before fire suppression, fires along the Front Range were often destructive, killing many mature trees in the burn areas, the study concluded. Continue reading “New study challenges the conventional wisdom on severity of Front Range wildfires in Colorado”

Colorado: South Platte River tour set for this week

From the Rockies to the Plains …

The South Platte River. Colorado.
The South Platte River. Colorado.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The Colorado may be our state’s namesake river, but the the South Platte is the workhorse, draining most of the Front Range, coursing through urban Denver and spreading out into great trickling braids to sustain prairie farms and ranches.

This week, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s last river tour of the year (July 10-12) will explore the South Platte, staring in Berthoud and at Cameron Pass and ranging as far as Nebraska and Wyoming.

From the earliest days, the river of the plains has figured prominently in Colorado history, as a pathway for the early French and Spanish explorers who were part of that era’s geopolitical maneuverings in the New World. The Native Americans of the region, of course had a long-standing association with the river and their own name for it — the Niinéniiniicíihéhe’. Continue reading “Colorado: South Platte River tour set for this week”

Colorado: Storm rolling in …

Forecaster still uncertain for high country snow totals

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A big Pacific trough is working its way inland, bringing snow to much of Colorado.
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By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A winter storm rolling out of the Four Corners toward Colorado is billed as having the potential to drop several feet of snow in parts of the state, but even late Friday night, forecast models were still not in complete agreement as to where the heaviest snow will fall Saturday through Sunday.

National Weather Service forecasters have issues winter storm watches and warnings, as well as blizzard watches for almost the entire state, but the Denver-based forecasters warned that, “Summit County could very well get sheltered again in this Front Range storm.” The forecasters also said the upper low might eject farther south than previously anticipated, which would push the heavier snow amounts farther south. Click here for the latest updates and links to all the warnings. Continue reading “Colorado: Storm rolling in …”

Colorado: High Park Fire uncontained at 37,000 acres

Front Range wildfire behaving unexpectedly; firefighters hope to gain a toehold on containment Monday

High Park Fire footprint and perimeter as of early Monday morning. MAP COURTESY MARK NEWBY. Click on the image to visit the map on the web. The map is based on data from an overflight at 12:20 a.m. and data released by the USFS 6:52 a.m. The fire has burned another seven hours since then, so it has likely grown even larger.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After two days of watching the High Park fire spread and even double back on itself, firefighters late Sunday night said that with lower winds forecast Monday, they hope to at least gain a toehold against the fire which grew to 37,000 acres in just two days, according to the latest InciWeb update released Monday morning.

Get the latest updates on the fire at Larimer County emergency services website and at the InciWeb.org national fire information website. Real-time updates are also streaming on Twitter from @LarimerSheriff and at the #HighParkFire hashtag. Continue reading “Colorado: High Park Fire uncontained at 37,000 acres”

Climate: South Platte flows could drop by 40 percent

New Colorado study examines potential impacts to water supplies

New climate report highlights dire impacts to Colorado's river flows.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —A new study by the Water Research Foundation projects potential climate change impacts to Front Range water supplies for the next few decades, showing that the total amount of water in several key river basins could decline significantly if temperatures continue to rise.

The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization  highlighted the report in its March newsletter, saying the starkest conclusion of the study is how much river flows could diminish in a hot and dry future — a future that is looking more and more likely as emissions of heat-trapping gases increase. Continue reading “Climate: South Platte flows could drop by 40 percent”