NOAA: June marks 14 consecutive months of record heat for the globe

From NOAA:

Global highlights: June 2016

  • The June temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62°F above the 20th century average of 59.9°F. This was the highest for June in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.04°F. June 2016 marks the 40th consecutive June with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. June 1976 was the last time June global land and ocean temperatures were below average. June 2016 tied with March 2015 as the ninth highest monthly temperature departure among all months (1,638) on record. Overall, 14 of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015, with January 2007 representing the one month prior to February 2015.
  • The June globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.23°F above the 20th century average of 55.9°F. This value tied with 2015 as the highest June global land temperature in the 1880–2016 record. This was the 34th consecutive June with global land temperatures above the 20th century average.
  • The June globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.39°F above the 20th century monthly average of 61.5°F—the highest global ocean temperature for June in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.05°F. June 2016 was the 10th highest departure from average among all 1,638 months in the record. June 2016 marks the 40th consecutive June with global ocean temperatures above the 20th century average. Much warmer-than-average temperatures engulfed most of the world’s oceans during June 2016, with record high sea surface temperatures across parts of the central and southwest Pacific Ocean, northwestern and southwestern Atlantic Ocean, and across parts of the northeastern Indian Ocean. The 12 highest monthly global ocean temperature departures have all occurred in the past 12 months.
  • The June temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest 5 miles of the atmosphere) was the third highest in the 1979–2016 record, at 0.67°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville* (UAH) using UAH version 5.6. It was also third highest on record, at 0.72°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems* (RSS). Both analyses rank June 1998 as the warmest June in the satellite record.
  • The June temperature for the mid-troposphere (roughly 2 miles to 6 miles above the surface) was the fifth highest for June in the 1979–2016 record, at 0.50°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH. It was fifth highest on record, at 0.49°F above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. After removing the influence of temperatures above 6 miles in altitude, the University of Washington, using data analyzed by the UAH and RSS, calculated temperature departures from the 1981–2010 average to be 0.67°F and 0.65°F, respectively, both fourth highest in the record. All analyses rank June 1998 as the warmest June in the satellite record.
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for June was 530,000 square miles (11.4 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest June extent since records began in 1979 and 100,000 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 2010. According to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA, sea ice cover was below average in the Kara, Barents, and Beaufort Seas. June Arctic sea ice extent is decreasing at an average rate of 3.6 percent per decade.
  • The Antarctic sea ice extent for June was 40,000 square miles below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest June Antarctic sea ice extent since 2011 and the 13th smallest on record. June Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing at an average rate of 1.7 percent per decade.

#COWaterPlan: Colorado Ag Water Alliance workshop recap

stopcollaborateandlistenbusinessblog

From The Fort Morgan Times (Stephanie Alderton):

During the Colorado Ag Water Alliance workshop in Brush on Wednesday, speakers encouraged eastern plains farmers to think outside the box when using water.

MaryLou Smith, a Colorado State University professor and member of the university’s Colorado Water Institute, gave a talk about why farmers should think about using their water differently in order to prevent shortages. Several other speakers spoke about practical ways to do that, as well as some projects that have already begun. Part of the workshop’s goal was to introduce producers to the opportunities for alternative transfer methods under the new Colorado Water Plan.

The Plan encourages farmers to conserve water, but Smith said that’s only part of the equation.

“We recognize that ag water conservation can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” she said. “So we actually talk more about, ‘How might ag producers use their water differently?'”

She said Colorado often faces water shortages between agricultural and urban uses, and urban policy makers often blame ag producers for not conserving enough water. Her organization works with farmers to find a solution to these problems, although she said “there is no easy answer.” A few problem-solving steps she put forward included improving irrigation efficiency, using updated equipment like soil moisture sensors and trying new farming methods like split-season fallowing. These methods, Smith said, might help “take the target off farmers’ backs” when it comes to disputes about water shortages.

Dick Wolfe, [State Engineer] for the Colorado Division of Water Resources, addressed the “use it or lose it” mentality farmers often have toward their water rights, saying they should focus on finding beneficial uses for water instead of just using it up at any cost.

“How much water do you need to put to beneficial use for that crop, if you need to do it without waste?” Wolfe asked farmers.

Like many speakers throughout the day, he said he wanted to encourage dialogue between his organization and the producers who have to deal with water regulations on the ground.

At the end of the workshop, a panel of producers presented water-saving projects that are already underway. Chris Kraft, a Morgan County dairy farmer and member of the Fort Morgan Ditch Company, spoke about the longstanding ag and energy lease that exists between Fort Morgan farmers and the Pawnee Power Plant (now Xcel Energy). Agricultural producers have found a way to share water with the power plant instead of instituting a “buy and dry,” by selling all their water rights.

[…]

The other panelists mentioned several similar ongoing projects. Greg Kernohan, from the company Ducks Unlimited, talked about the Colorado Ag Water Protection Act, which he helped promote; Todd Doherty, of Western Water Partnerships, presented the South Platte Ag/Urban Pilot Project, an attempt to share water between farmers and the city; and Gerry Knapp, of the City of Aurora, talked about ag and urban partnership concepts as well.

Colorado’s Summers Are Among Fastest Warming, Report Says — #Colorado Public Radio

temperaturedeparturefromavg01thru062016noaa

From Colorado Public Radio (Grace Hood):

Colorado ranks among the top 10 states with the fastest-warming summers. And as the climate changes, temperatures could rise even more.

The information comes from the news and science organization Climate Central, which analyzed historical data and used more than two dozen different climate models to make future projections…

Historical data analyzed by Climate Central paint a picture of Colorado cities already seeing prolonged heat. Greeley and Fort Collins rank among the top 20 cities that have seen the fastest rate of increase in 90 degree days since 1970. Boulder ranked third among cities that have seen a change in air moisture.

The findings interest Colorado State University Epidemiologist Brooke Anderson, who studies the impact of heat on human health. She said current research shows that the risk of death and hospitalizations can increase during really hot weather…

In Colorado, one concern is that hotter summers can lead to increased ground-level ozone. Front Range residents are already familiar with ozone alerts, which warn the public to limit ozone causing pollutants. People who already have asthma and other respiratory illnesses may be particularly susceptible to negative impacts of high ozone.

Time to weigh in on Denver’s famous ditch

Mile High Water Talk

Open houses give the public a chance to share ideas on protecting, preserving and enhancing the High Line Canal.

By Jay Adams

Here’s your chance to be a visionary, just like the Denver pioneers who dreamed of bringing water to the dry plains of Denver after the Gold Rush of 1859.

That earlier vision produced the High Line Canal, a 71-mile irrigation ditch built in 1883 that begins at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and ends on the plains northeast of Denver.

Today, the canal and its trails are one of Denver’s most cherished recreational assets, even as its use as a water delivery system has given way to new technologies and homes instead of farms.

The evolution of the canal is why Denver Water is teaming up with the High Line Canal Conservancy to develop a master plan.

You can share your ideas about the future of the…

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Rain barrel workshop Aug. 2 — The Pueblo Chieftain

Rain barrel schematic
Rain barrel schematic

From Colorado State University via The Pueblo Chieftain:

Colorado State University Extension will offer the Yard and Garden Series, Rain Barrel Workshop scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 2 at the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, 31717 E. United Ave.

The cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple sharing materials.

The workshop will include learning about the new rain barrel law, how to use rainwater in your landscape and how to make your own rain barrel.

Register by mail with check payment, payable to Extension Program Fund, 701 Court St., Suite C, Pueblo, CO 81003 or in person with cash or check payment at the extension office at 701 Court St. Participants also may register online through Eventbrite, http://pueblo.colostate.edu/hor/upcoming-rain.shtml, payable by credit/debit card.

Preregistration with payment is required by July 26. No walk-ins accepted. Seating is limited.

For more information, call 583-6566.

Ag Secretary Vilsack supports initiative on Climate Smart Agriculture

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Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Joanne Littlefield):

With Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices, farmers and ranchers constantly adjust to weather variability to assure their economic and ecological resilience.

CSA is a major U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited campus on May 20 to discuss CSA initiatives at CSU, a followup to a daylong forum held on campus May 5.

Vilsack shared his assessment of global climate change and the challenges confronting global food production and distribution. He applauded CSU’s engagement with Colorado producers as well as USDA’s Northern Great Plains Climate Hub, located at the Agricultural Research Service in Fort Collins. CSU is a partner in the Climate Hub with land-grant universities in Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota and Nebraska. The Secretary visited the Climate Hub and the USDA’s ARS office in Fort Collins prior to his on campus meeting.

In addition to recognizing the efforts of the Climate Hub and CSU’s research, teaching and engagement climate programs, Vilsack answered a broad array of questions from a small group of agricultural leaders who had also attended the May 5 forum.

CSA initiatives

CSU leaders emphasized that its CSA initiatives enhance partnerships with Colorado producers, where ideally farmers and ranchers will take the lead in working with their neighbors. CSU Extension, the Colorado Water Institute (CWI) and the College of Agricultural Sciences are actively seeking collaborations with farmers and ranchers and their respective organizations.

“These initiatives are focused on improving Colorado’s food systems and food value chains as they adapt to variable weather and climate,” said Lou Swanson, vice president for CSU’s Office of Engagement. “The College of Agricultural Sciences and our Office of Community and Economic Development have programs focused on agriculture and food systems innovations that are equally impactful in rural and urban areas of Colorado.”

Faculty from a variety of colleges and departments, along with CWI and CSU Extension, are providing the primary engagement and outreach programing for these CSA initiatives. A principal program goal, in collaboration with Colorado’s farmers and ranchers and their organizations, is to improve their economic and ecological adaptability and resilience as weather patterns change. A guiding engagement principle is emphasis on co-creating programs and developing applied research with farming and ranching communities.

Both USDA and CSU are founding and active members of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture.

More information on CSA and CSU’s initiatives, including identifying faculty and staff working in this area is available on the Engagement website.

The Spring 2016 issue of the magazine Colorado Water, dedicated to Climate Smart Agriculture, is available online.