U.S. Governors Detail Water Priorities for 2019 — Circle of Blue

Oil and gas well sites near the Roan Plateau

From Circle of Blue (Brett Walton):

Colorado

Gov. Jared Polis, a first-term Democrat who was elected in November, listed a range of water issues that the state faces: declining irrigation supplies for farms and ranches, less snowpack for the ski industry, and pollution from the energy industry.

A ballot initiative that would have restricted the location of oil and gas infrastructure failed last November. Polis opposed Proposition 112, which would have established a 2,500-foot setback distance from homes, schools, drinking water sources, and other vulnerable areas. Current law is 500 feet.

“It’s time for us to take meaningful action to address the conflicts between oil-and-gas drilling operations and the neighborhoods they impact, and to make sure that all of our communities have clean air and water,” Polis said, without going into more detail.

Polis reiterated his goal of powering the state with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2040, and advocated for a nascent industrial hemp industry. Proponents argue that hemp, which Congress legalized in the 2018 farm bill, could be a water-saving crop for dry states.

Polis also endorsed the state water plan, negotiated by his predecessor, John Hickenlooper.

“Now we’re going to do our part in implementing it,” he said, asking the Legislature for funding.

#Snowpack news: Arkansas Basin = 131% of normal (best in state), Gunnison = 109%

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of snowpack data from the NRCS.

And here’s the Westwide basin-filled snowpack map for January 21, 2019 from the NRCS.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map January 21. 2019 via the NRCS.

Paper: Permafrost is warming at a global scale — Nature #ActOnClimate

Photo (Steve Jurvetson) shows what appears to be permafrost thaw ponds in Hudson Bay, Canada, near Greenland. (By inspection this photo appears to match a location at 66°11′10″N 73°26′42″W in Dewey Soper Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Baffin Island, overlooking the waters of the Hudson Bay near Greenland): https://www.flickr.com/photos/44124348109@N01/2661598702

Click here to read the paper. Here’s the abstract:

Permafrost warming has the potential to amplify global climate change, because when frozen sediments thaw it unlocks soil organic carbon. Yet to date, no globally consistent assessment of permafrost temperature change has been compiled. Here we use a global data set of permafrost temperature time series from the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost to evaluate temperature change across permafrost regions for the period since the International Polar Year (2007–2009). During the reference decade between 2007 and 2016, ground temperature near the depth of zero annual amplitude in the continuous permafrost zone increased by 0.39 ± 0.15 °C. Over the same period, discontinuous permafrost warmed by 0.20 ± 0.10 °C. Permafrost in mountains warmed by 0.19 ± 0.05 °C and in Antarctica by 0.37 ± 0.10 °C. Globally, permafrost temperature increased by 0.29 ± 0.12 °C. The observed trend follows the Arctic amplification of air temperature increase in the Northern Hemisphere. In the discontinuous zone, however, ground warming occurred due to increased snow thickness while air temperature remained statistically unchanged.