Posts tagged dry


Current Weather Conditions in Boulder


Wednesday 03/29 0%
Plenty of sunshine. High 56F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.
Partly Cloudy
Thursday 03/30 0%
Partly Cloudy
Cloudy skies early will become partly cloudy later in the day. High around 65F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.
Friday 03/31 100%
Periods of rain. High 42F. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall around a half an inch.

Extended weather forecast for Boulder, Colorado.
7 day weather forecast above
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CU’s Mars mission off the ground


NASA’s Mars mission led by CU-Boulder
successfully launches from Florida

A $671 million NASA mission to Mars led by the University of Colorado Boulder thundered into the sky today from Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 1:28 p.m. EST, the first step on its 10-month journey to Mars.

Known as the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission, the MAVEN spacecraft was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket provided by United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colo. The mission will target the role the loss of atmospheric gases played in changing Mars from a warm, wet and possibly habitable planet for life to the cold dry and inhospitable planet it appears to be today.

MAVEN spacecraft hauls CU research into space

MAVEN spacecraft hauls CU research into space

“Our team is incredibly excited,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN’s principal investigator who is at CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). “Everything went absolutely perfectly, exactly as we had planned when we accepted the challenge to develop this mission five years ago. Now it’s on to Mars.”

The spacecraft is carrying three instrument suites. LASP’s Remote Sensing Package will determine global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere, while the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, provided by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will measure the composition of neutral gases and ions.

The Particles and Fields Package, built by the University of California, Berkeley, with some instrument elements from LASP and NASA Goddard, contains six instruments to characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of Mars.

NASA selected the MAVEN mission for flight in 2008. Scientists think Mars was much more Earth-like roughly four billion years ago, and want to know how the climate changed, where the water went and what happened to the atmosphere, said Jakosky, also a professor in CU-Boulder’s geological sciences department.

CU-Boulder also is providing science operations and directing education and public outreach efforts. NASA Goddard provided two of the science instruments and manages the project. In addition to building the spacecraft, Lockheed Martin will perform mission operations. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is providing program management via the Mars Program Office, as well as navigation support, the Deep Space Network and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

MAVEN is slated to begin orbiting Mars in September 2014. For more information about MAVEN visit and



Climate change could dry up Salt Lake City watersheds


New study: Rising temperatures
challenge Salt Lake City’s water supply

In an example of the challenges water-strapped Western cities will face in a warming world, new research shows that every degree Fahrenheit of warming in the Salt Lake City region could mean a 1.8 to 6.5 percent drop in the annual flow of streams that provide water to the city.

By midcentury, warming Western temperatures may mean that some of the creeks and streams that help slake Salt Lake City’s thirst will dry up several weeks earlier in the summer and fall, according to the new paper, published today in the journal Earth Interactions. The findings may help regional planners make choices about long-term investments, including water storage and even land-protection policies.

Dell Creek in Parley's Canyon, is a source of water for Salt Lake City.  A new study shows how climate change is likely to affect the various creeks and streams that help slake Salt Lake City's thirst.

Dell Creek in Parley’s Canyon, is a source of water for Salt Lake City. A new study shows how climate change is likely to affect the various creeks and streams that help slake Salt Lake City’s thirst.

“Many Western water suppliers are aware that climate change will have impacts, but they don’t have detailed information that can help them plan for the future,” said lead author Tim Bardsley, with NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. “Because our research team included hydrologists, climate scientists and water utility experts, we could dig into the issues that mattered most to the operators responsible for making sure clean water flows through taps and sprinklers without interruption.”

Bardsley works for the CIRES Western Water Assessment, from the NOAA Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City. For the new paper, he worked closely with colleagues from the city’s water utility, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory and the University of Utah.

The team relied on climate model projections of temperature and precipitation in the area, historical data analysis and a detailed understanding of the region from which the city utility obtains water. The study also used NOAA streamflow forecasting models that provide information for Salt Lake City’s current water operations and management.

The picture that emerged was similar, in some ways, to previous research on the water in the Interior West: Warmer temperatures alone will cause more of the region’s precipitation to fall as rain than snow, leading to earlier runoff and less water in creeks and streams in the late summer and fall.

“Many snow-dependent regions follow a consistent pattern in responding to warming, but it’s important to drill down further to understand the sensitivity of watersheds that matter for individual water supply systems,” said NCAR’s Andy Wood, a co-author.

The specifics in the new analysis—which creeks are likely to be impacted most and soonest, how water sources on the nearby western flank of the Wasatch Mountains and the more distant eastern flank will fare—are critical to water managers with Salt Lake City.

“We are using the findings of this sensitivity analysis to better understand the range of impacts we might experience under climate change scenarios,” said co-author Laura Briefer, water resources manager at the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities. “This is the kind of tool we need to help us adapt to a changing climate, anticipate future changes and make sound water-resource decisions.”

“Water emanating from our local Wasatch Mountains is the lifeblood of the Salt Lake Valley, and is vulnerable to the projected changes in climate,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “This study, along with other climate adaptation work Salt Lake City is doing, helps us plan to be a more resilient community in a time of climate change.”

Among the details in the new assessment:

  • Temperatures are already rising in northern Utah, about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, and continue to climb. Summer temperatures have increased especially steeply and are expected to continue to do so. Increasing temperatures during the summer irrigation season may increase water demand.
  • Every increase in a degree Fahrenheit means an average decrease of 3.8 percent in annual water flow from watersheds used by Salt Lake City. This means less water available from Salt Lake City’s watersheds in the future.
  • Lower-elevation streams are more sensitive to increasing temperatures, especially from May through September, and city water experts may need to rely on less-sensitive, higher-elevation sources in late summer, or more water storage.
  • Models tell an uncertain story about total future precipitation in the region, primarily because Utah is on the boundary of the Southwest (projected to dry) and the U.S. northern tier states (projected to get wetter).
  • Overall, models suggest increased winter flows, when water demand is lower, and decreased summer flows when water demand peaks.
  • Annual precipitation would need to increase by about 10 percent to counteract the stream-drying effect of a 5-degree increase in temperature.
  • A 5-degree temperature increase would also mean that peak water flow in the western Wasatch creeks would occur two to four weeks earlier in the summer than it does today.  This earlier stream runoff will make it more difficult to meet water demand as the summer irrigation season progresses.

Authors of the new paper, “Planning for an Uncertain Future: Climate Change Sensitivity Assessment Toward Adaptation Planning for Public Water Supply,” are Tim Bardsley, CIRES Western Water Assessment; Andrew Wood, NCAR and formerly of NOAA’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center; Mike Hobbins, NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, and formerly NOAA’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center; Tracie Kirkham, Laura Briefer, and Jeff Niermeyer, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Steven Burian, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Earth Interactions is jointly published by the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the Association of American Geographers.

CIRES is a joint institute of NOAA and CU-Boulder.


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ffireworks flag

No warnings for fireworks’ violators; police will issue tickets (for real)




But they still have to catch you in the act 

For the second year in a row, Boulder police are announcing a zero-tolerance policy for fireworks violations. It’s illegal to possess or explode fireworks within city limits and violators will be cited — or possibly arrested — depending on the offense. Anyone starting a fire while using fireworks could face additional arson charges.


Fire danger is very high in Colorado, as we have seen recently with the multiple wildfires burning around the state, and Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner says he is concerned about protecting residents. “We are taking a cautious approach again this year, because we want everyone to be safe. Fireworks can be dangerous, and this kind of “fun” can turn into an emergency very quickly,” said Beckner. “Because our focus is community safety, the Boulder Police Department will not tolerate fireworks violations.”



Residents will notice increased patrols leading up to the holiday and on July 4th; extra officers will staff Chautauqua Park, Boulder Reservoir and Folsom Field. The Boulder Fire-Rescue Department is currently conducting additional “severity patrols” on the outskirts of the city, and extra firefighters will be on duty during the fireworks show at Folsom Field.


“Given our recent weather patterns, we know it’s going to be another hot, dry summer,” said Boulder Fire-Rescue Chief Larry Donner. “People should understand that they don’t need to live in a forest to experience a disastrous fire. We want everyone to remember the holiday as a celebration, rather than as a marker for a tragedy.”


Police are asking the public for assistance: anyone who sees a fireworks violation is asked to report it immediately to Boulder police. Officers need the location of the violation and descriptions of the people involved.


The non-emergency number for Dispatch is 303-441-3333. Please call 9-1-1 if there is an emergency or a fire.


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As the planet warms faster, more species will be increasingly at risk


The Earth’s climate zones are shifting at an accelerating pace, says a new study led by a scientist at the CU’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.


The acceleration of change means that the species inhabiting each zone have less time to adapt to the climatic changes, said lead author Irina Mahlstein, a CIRES scientist who works at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. “The warmer the climate gets, the faster the climate zones are shifting.  This could make it harder for plants and animals to adjust.”

The study is the first to look at the accelerating pace of the shifting of climate zones, which are areas of the Earth defined by annual and seasonal cycles of temperature and precipitation, as well as temperature and precipitation thresholds of plant species. Over 30 different climate zones are found on Earth; examples include the equatorial monsoonal zone, the polar tundra zone and cold arid desert zone.

“A shift in the climate zone is probably a better measure of ‘reality’ for living systems, more so than changing temperature by a degree or precipitation by a centimeter,” said Mahlstein.

The scientists used climate model simulations and a well-known ecosystem classification scheme to look at the shifts between climate zones over a two-century period, 1900 to 2098. The team found that for an initial 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of warming, about 5 percent of Earth’s land area shifts to a new climate zone.

The models show that the pace of change quickens for the next 3.6 F of warming as an additional 10 percent of the land area shifts to a new climate zone.  The paper was published online in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 21.

Certain regions of the globe, such as northern middle and high latitudes, will undergo more changes than other regions, such as the tropics, the scientists found. In the tropics, mountainous regions will experience bigger changes than low-altitude areas.

In the coming century, the findings suggest that frost climates — the coldest climate zone of the planet — will largely decrease.  In general, dry regions in different areas of the globe will increase, and a large fraction of land area will change from cool summers to hot summers, according to the study.

The scientists also investigated whether temperature or precipitation had a greater impact on how much of the land area changed zones. “We found that temperature is the main factor, at least through the end of this century,” said Mahlstein.

John Daniel at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and Susan Solomon at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-authored the study.

-CU press release

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rob smoke

Rob Smoke questions city of Boulder methods snow removal


rob smoke

Rob Smoke , a barb to the city council.

Below, council member Ken Wilson openly confesses to the “liberal” use of de-icing material — or “salt.”
Regardless of the brand or quality of the product, this behavior can lead to consequences on several levels — here’s a quote from a standard reference:

“Environmental impact
Deicing salts such as sodium chloride or calcium chloride leach into the soils, where the ions (especially the cations) may accumulate and eventually become toxic to the organisms and plants growing in these soils.[4] The chemicals could also reach water bodies in concentrations that are toxic to the ecosystems. Organic compounds are biodegraded and may cause oxygen-depletion issues. Small creeks and ponds with long turnover time are especially vulnerable.
Propylene glycol used to de-ice aircraft can contaminate drinking water supplies and harm aquatic life. Some airports are now capturing and treating de-icing runoff before allowing it to enter waterways.[5]”

Certainly there’s a range of possible impacts — council members, particularly ones who claim a “science” background, as Ken Wilson most certainly has on many occasions, should be AWARE of what they are doing and promoting as it affects the surrounding community.
A response is always welcome.
BY THE WAY…. there are recommended alternatives — one that I personally prefer are an add-on to shoes (sometimes called “crampons”) that are available at shoe, department stores, and running stores here in Boulder and online. They provide excellent help for situations where you can’t predict the snow or ice shoveling proficiency of neighbors.
Happy snow day. Cheers!
Rob Smoke
City Council Barb

Sender: Brautigam, Jane
Thanks for your email, Ken. I spoke with Chief Beckner and learned that we do not have Code Enforcement officers assigned to work weekends. Code enforcement
will begin again on Monday. Our code enforcement team does an excellent job of addressing issues and will do all they can within the strictures of the ordinance to handle snow removal calls.


From: Wilson, Ken
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 9:49 AM
Subject: Snow shoveling enforcement

I am wondering if we will have snow shoveling enforcement tomorrow (Saturday). We have a situation which I was concerned about when Matt made a motion to change the ordinance from
a “morning after” requirement to a 24 hour requirement as we were doing second reading several years ago. Because of the way this snow fell, enforcement won’t begin today (Friday) as there were a few flakes falling late yesterday. Will there be any enforcement
over the weekend? If not, then it would begin on Monday. Of course, more snow is expected Monday, which would reset the clock on all the offenders. We could have slippery sidewalks for a week.

I thought of this all the way to the bus stop this morning as I was trying not to slip and fall on all the uncleared sidewalks. I don’t heal like I used to and it was almost enough
to make me want to turn around and drive instead. Fortunately I didn’t fall – yet.

My sidewalk is clean and dry – which the Camera can verify if they like. We shoveled twice as it was coming down and used salt liberally.

Ken Wilson

Rob smoke is a sometime columnist for Boulder Channel 1

Mod Market M-rocks much to our amazement


Sorry couldn’t resist cheesy headline. Oooh. We take back anything we might have said about @ModMarket in Boulder. They do rock. we had the small Mod salad with chicken and easy on the dressing. Cost $7 something. Excellent. Plenty of food, fresh and fun. @29thstreet, this restaurant was clean! And Modern. Very 2001 Space Odyssey. The mens room has these super hi powered hand air dryers that kids will love. Just trust us on that one. ( Do not attempt to dry family cat here after bath)

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