International climate report warns of drastic, irreversible changes — @LauraPaskus #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

West Drought Monitor October 16 2018.

From The New Mexico Political Report (Laura Paskus):

If humans don’t drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade, we will not stop warming that’s expected to have widespread and catastrophic impacts upon the Earth’s ecosystems.

That’s one of the most pointed findings in a special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was tasked with studying how a 2.0° Celsius rise in global temperature will affect the planet, its ecosystems and human communities, compared with a 1.5°C temperature increase.

According to the IPCC’s special report, if the Earth’s temperature increases by more than 1.5°C, the changes will be “long-lasting” and “irreversible.”

Already, the global temperature—averaged between land and sea temperatures—has risen 1° Celsius, or 1.8° Fahrenheit, since 1880. That change has contributed to sea level rise, the melting of Arctic sea ice, coral bleaching of ocean reefs and ocean acidification. In places like the American Southwest, warming is already affecting snowpack, forest dieoffs, water supplies and wildfire season.

“The more warming that we cause, the broader and more intense are the impacts in general,” said University of New Mexico Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor David Gutzler, in summing up the main message of the report. “So, even for regions or components of the climate system for which the difference between 1.5° and 2° doesn’t represent a big threshold or tipping point, the impacts of climate change get considerably bigger.”

That’s true here in New Mexico, where average annual temperatures have already increased by 2°F just since the 1970s, according to a number of sources, including a recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The faster rate of temperature increase here is due to the fact that continents warm more quickly than oceans, Gutzler explained: “The world is mostly ocean, and we are in the middle of a continent, so when people talk about global warming of one, two or three degrees, for our region, we’re thinking about double those numbers.”

The #ColoradoRiver reservoir system is starting the water year at record low storage #COriver #aridification

From KUNC (Luke Runyon) via Aspen Public Radio:

Key reservoirs along the Colorado River are collectively at their lowest point at the start of a new water year since the last one filled nearly 40 years ago.

As of Oct. 1 reservoirs that store the Colorado River’s water are at just under 47 percent of their capacity, according to recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Put another way: Reservoirs that provide water to 40 million people and irrigate 5.5 million acres of farmland in the southwest are less than half full.

The previous low point for the river’s collective reservoir storage was recorded in 2004 after years of dry conditions within the southwestern watershed caused the combined storage to drop to 50 percent of capacity…

The combined storage figure takes into account the amount of water in ten of the river’s reservoirs, many built as part of the Colorado River Storage Project:

  • Fontenelle Reservoir, Wyoming
  • Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Wyoming and Utah
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado
  • Morrow Point Reservoir, Colorado
  • Crystal Reservoir, Colorado
  • Navajo Reservoir, New Mexico and Colorado
  • Lake Powell, Utah and Arizona
  • Lake Mead, Nevada and Arizona
  • Lake Mohave, Nevada and Arizona
  • Lake Havasu, California and Arizona
  • Dry weather and warm temperatures have reduced the amount of water flowing into these reservoirs. But the Colorado River is also overallocated, where more water has been promised to farmers and cities than actually exists in reality. Year-to-year demands for the river’s water consistently outstrip the supply.

    Water managers throughout the seven states that rely on the river are currently trying to sell cities, farmers and tribal leaders on so-called drought contingency plans, which are meant to cajole water users to conserve more and fill the river’s reservoirs. Federal officials have given state leaders an end of year deadline to finish those plans.

    Funding Available for Agricultural Hydropower Projects — #Colorado Department of Agriculture

    Hydropower sprinkler system via Homelink Magazine

    Here’s the release from the Colorado Department of Agriculture:

    The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are seeking applicants for on-farm agricultural hydropower projects. The total amount of available assistance for this round is $1,200,000. The funding is available to Colorado agricultural irrigators with appropriate hydropower resources.

    “This program gives producers a way to cut their costs and use their resources efficiently. It’s about water quantity, water quality, and energy resources,” said Sam Anderson, CDA’s Energy Specialist, “We focus on helping farmers upgrade outdated and labor-intensive flood-irrigation systems to more efficient pressurized-irrigation systems using hydropower, or retrofit existing sprinkler systems with a hydropower component.”

    The funding is part of the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Within RCPP, the Colorado irrigation hydropower program provides funding to agricultural producers to help them add hydropower to new or existing irrigation systems.

    For example, past projects have helped farmers use irrigation water to generate electricity, offsetting some of the cost of power for those farms. Other projects have allowed farmers to run large center-pivot sprinkler systems on hydro-mechanical power without the need for any electricity.

    The overall hydro program is funded and assisted by 14 agencies and groups, collectively contributing $3 million to the effort for project funding and technical assistance for Colorado agricultural producers.

    CDA is currently accepting applications for the next round of RCPP irrigation hydro projects. The application deadline is October 19, 2018. Applicants must be eligible to receive funding from the NRCS EQIP program. For more information and to submit an application, visit the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s ACRE3 hydropower website: http://www.colorado.gov/agconservation/hydro-navigation-guide or contact Sam Anderson at 303-869-9044 or CDA_hydro@state.co.us.