@ClimateReality: The Arctic is unraveling #ActOnClimate #keepitintheground

Photo credit The Climate Reality Project.

From The Observer (Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec):

The Arctic has been warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet for the past 50 years

[…]

The report cited that the Arctic region has been warming twice as fast as the rest of the world for the past 50 years, and the past few years have broken several temperature records since instrumental records first began in 1900. Snow cover in the Arctic regions has significantly decreased as well. The report states, “In recent years, June snow area in the North American and Eurasian Arctic has typically been about 50 percent below values observed before 2000.”

In addition to warning of the threat of climate change, the report cautions that ecosystems in the Arctic will continue to be stressed, threatening several species endemic to the region, such as polar bears, seals, walruses and ice associated algae. Global weather patterns are expected to become increasingly impacted by changes in the Arctic because the region plays a significant role in atmospheric and oceanic circulation and global greenhouse gas concentrations.

The report cites that the point of no return for the Arctic has passed, but efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can mitigate some of the predicted impacts of climate change on the Arctic and the rest of the world. “The near-future Arctic will be a substantially different environment from that of today, and by the end of this century Arctic warming may exceed thresholds for the stability of sea ice, the Greenland ice sheet, and possibly boreal forests.”

Please consider coming by the Community Building at Thornton’s Community Park on May 16th. I’ll be speaking about the climate crisis as part of the Climate Reality Project. Children are welcome. We’ve already baked in a lot of uncertainty about the future for them. The presentation revolves around three questions: Should we act; Can we act; and, Will we act? I’ll bring you up to date on the engineering effort around renewable energy.

Details:

What: Climate Change is Water Change: Colorado Update
Where: Thornton Community Park Community Building (Near the swimming pool), 2211 Eppinger Blvd, Thornton, CO 80229
When: Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

About the Climate Reality Project:

With glaciers melting, seas rising, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record coming this century, the threat of climate change has never been clearer. But with solar, wind, and other clean energy solutions becoming more affordable and accessible every year, neither has the way forward. And with 195 countries signing the historic Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gases the world is finally united in working to seize the promise of renewables and create a safe, sustainable, and prosperous future powered by clean energy.

What’s in the way? Powerful fossil fuel companies and their government allies spreading fear and misinformation.

Led by Vice President Gore and CEO Ken Berlin, we’re here to change that. We connect cutting-edge digital media, global organizing events, and peer-to-peer outreach to share the truth about climate change and the solutions in our hands today with people everywhere. And with our more than 10,000 Climate Reality Leader activists building support for pro-climate policies at every level, and millions joining us to accelerate the global transition to clean energy, we have the chance to stop climate change and together create a future we can be proud of. We’re not about to waste it.

The May 2017 #Colorado Water Supply Outlook Report is hot off the presses from the NRCS

Click here to read the report. Here’s the summary:

Summary

Statewide Water Supply Conditions

As snowpack continues to melt, Colorado can begin to recap the 2017 snowpack accumulation season. The southern half of the state received over 120 percent of the typical snowpack peak. Northern basins saw lesser peaks this year – yet all still decent – with only the North Platte Basin peaking below the normal value. Nearly all areas of Colorado experienced varying amounts of resurgence in snowpack accumulation at the end of April. Fortunately the North and South Platte River basins have experienced little melt so far this season and while within reach of achieving new snowpack peaks, it is unlikely with weather forecasts showing dry conditions in the near-term forecasts. In general, the snowpack contribution to water supply should be respectable across the state. Unfortunately spring precipitation through the two most pivotal months has fallen short of normal accumulations. Statewide, March and April produced only 76 percent of average precipitation. Warm, dry spring conditions often cause snowpack to sublimate, further decreasing streamflows and Colorado water supply. After impressive midwinter snowpack numbers dwindled this spring, streamflow forecast projections have returned to normal values ranging the 70 percent to 140 percent of normal with a few outliers on each end. Colorado reservoirs remain at strong levels poised for what has so far shaped up to be a dry spring.

Statewide Basin Times Series Summary May 4, 2017 via the NRCS.

What to do before firing up your sprinkler system – News on TAP

From control boxes to leaky heads, follow the three checks of watering season to make sure you’re ready for summer.

Source: What to do before firing up your sprinkler system – News on TAP

#ColoradoRiver Basin Forecast Center: May 1, 2017 Water Supply Forecast Discussion #COriver

Here’s the summrary from the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center (Click through for the whole forecast):

Water Supply Forecast Summary:

April weather ended up being a mixed bag. Some areas received abundant precipitation while other areas had quite limited precipitation. In addition, the temperature pattern in April included both stretches of several degrees above average and several degrees below average. Overall monthly mean temperatures were cooler than average over the northwestern half of the CBRFC forecast area, and near average over much of the Colorado River Basin. Significant snowmelt occurred in many areas where precipitation was limited, with less melt in parts of the northern Great Basin and Green River Basin of Wyoming where cooler wetter conditions existed.

Streamflows were much above average heading into April after many sites throughout the area experienced record unregulated monthly volumes during March. With so much water in the river systems for this time of year many sites observed above average volumes for April and they were further enhanced by any additional rainfall or snowmelt that occurred. Some sites in the Green River Basin of Wyoming, Duchesne River Basin, Gunnison River Basin, and Great Basin set records in April while many of these also set records in March.

Upper elevation snowpack conditions remain quite significant in the Green River Basin headwaters, Bear River Basin, Weber River Basin, and Duchesne River Basin. Snowpack is also still above average in the Gunnison River Basin headwaters.

Water supply volume forecasts for the April-July period generally decreased across the CBRFC area from those issued in early April. However, most points in the Green River Basin in Wyoming, Bear River Basin, and Weber River Basin had little change from last month. Volume forecasts increased slightly in the Yampa River Basin, Virgin River Basin, and the Six Creeks drainages.

Current April-July forecast volumes are much above average in the Green River Basin of Wyoming, Bear River Basin, Weber River Basin, Provo River Basin, and Duchesne River Basin. Runoff volume forecasts are also still above average in the Gunnison and Dolores River basins. The headwaters of the Colorado River mainstem and the San Juan Basin are currently forecast to receive near average runoff volumes, while the Yampa and White River basins now have forecasts for below average April-July runoff volumes.

April-July unregulated inflow forecasts for some of the major reservoirs in the Upper Colorado River Basin include Fontenelle Reservoir 1.68 MAF (232% of average), Flaming Gorge 2.26 MAF (231% of average), Blue Mesa Reservoir 850 KAF (126% of average), McPhee Reservoir 335 KAF (114% of average), and Navajo Reservoir 695 KAF (95% of average). Lake Powell inflow is forecast at 8.80 MAF (123% of average).

#Snowpack/#runoff news: Big Thompson flows up

Olympus Dam photo via the US Bureau of Reclamation.

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald:

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced that it has begun to increase the amount of water it is releasing from Lake Estes into the Big Thompson River by way of Olympus Dam.

The increase began Monday, according to the bureau on its Facebook page.

The increase will go from the current level of 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) to about 100 cfs. The exact cfs released will depend on inflows into Lake Estes, but the range will be between 50 cfs and 100 cfs, the announcement said.

A cubic foot of water is equivalent to 7.48 gallons. That means there are 748 gallons in 100 cubic feet of water. The average American home uses 400 gallons of water a day, or about half of the flow when it’s 100 cubic feet.

The release from the lake into the river is expected to increase through the spring as the annual runoff flows increase.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation owns and operates Lake Estes and Olympus Dam as part of the federal trans-basin diversion Colorado-Big Thompson water project.

Water level and runoff information regarding Olympus Dam and Lake Estes can be found on the Bureau’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/LakeEstesandOlyDam.

Camp Rocky teaches about conservation

Photo credit Colorado Association of Conservation Districts.

From The Greeley Tribune (Kelly Ragan):

The Colorado Association of Conservation Districts puts on Camp Rocky every year. It’s a weeklong experience for kids ages 14-19. The camp is just outside the town of Divide, about 45 minutes west of Colorado Springs.

During the first half of the week, campers choose to learn about soil and water conservation, fish and wildlife management, forest management or rangeland science. For the second half, students work with their groups to complete a management project and have a little fun along the way.

This year, the soil and water conservation group — the one Schneider chose — will learn about the primary components of a watershed. They’ll study a river system and learn how different soil types affect plants, wildlife, water and humans.

“I remember being able to use different types of instrumentation, measuring water flow and testing in ways I was unable to do in the high school classroom,” Schneider said.

Kristi Helzer, West Greeley Conservation District’s outreach coordinator, said the camp is for city kids who don’t spend much time in the wilderness as well as country kids such as Schneider.

“I hope it lights their fire,” Helzer said. “As a mom, there’s nothing better than seeing a light bulb go off for a young person.”

Rangeland science is perfect for kids who come from ranching families or who live on the prairie, Schneider said. The forest management course can teach outdoorsy kids the functions of a forest. The fish and wildlife course can be informative for kids who like to go hunting and fishing with their parents or grandparents, Helzer said.

“There’s something in conservation for everyone,” Schneider said. “It can be as simple or as technical as that person wishes it to be.”

For Schneider, the camp planted a seed.

She went on to college and took a basic soil science class. She remembered how interesting it had been at the camp. The more she learned, the deeper she wanted to dig.

“I knew I needed to work with dirt,” Schneider said.

Schneider now works for the West Greeley Conservation District — the organization that puts on Camp Rocky every year — as a conservation technician.

“Now when I look back and can reflect on that experience and the people I met, whether my peers or some of the guides, I can see it was really beneficial for me,” Schneider said.