Burnham Arndt photo
A group of scientists envision a system that would use satellites to “vigorously monitor” potential threats resulting from climate change, similar to storm monitoring.
A council of expert scientists at the National Academy of Science is calling for the development of a abrupt climate change early warning system. It would alert the public and scientists to potentially harmful natural disasters, such as rising sea levels or an increases in global temperature. The imagined system would keep close watch of potential threats, even if they are years off in the future. The recommendations were released in early December, along with a broader report from the Committee on Understanding and Monitoring Abrupt Climate Change. Jim White, a professor of geological studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, is chairman.
The report, says White, aims to convey a greater sense of urgency to counter, as he has observed, how most tend to think of climate change — as slowly unfolding events or patterns, like increasingly longer droughts that provoke a less imminent and lower-level sense of concern. To the contrary, the professor cautions that issues affecting the climate will eventually reach a major tipping point, triggering natural disasters.
The recent push by White and fellow scientists also serves as their message to the federal government. The Boulder geologist says the Obama administration isn’t investing enough resources into monitoring long-term climate patterns and their potential consequences, investments that could be made in tools like warning systems proposed by the group.
This is a 7 man inflatable stand up board. da boys have taken it out in 20 ft surf (!?)….and are obviously having some fun ….thats walker on the front from his recent visit to hawaii for Patagonia r & d .
We all know the story, or think we do.
Let me tell it the old way, then the new way. See which worries you most.
First version: Easter Island is a small 63-square-mile patch of land — more than a thousand miles from the next inhabited spot in the Pacific Ocean. In A.D. 1200 (or thereabouts), a small group of Polynesians — it might have been a single family — made their way there, settled in and began to farm. When they arrived, the place was covered with trees — as many as 16 million of them, some towering 100 feet high.
These settlers were farmers, practicing slash-and-burn agriculture, so they burned down woods, opened spaces, and began to multiply. Pretty soon the island had too many people, too few trees, and then, in only a few generations, no trees at all.
As Jared Diamond tells it in his best-selling book, Collapse, Easter Island is the “clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources.” Once tree clearing started, it didn’t stop until the whole forest was gone. Diamond called this self-destructive behavior “ecocide” and warned that Easter Island’s fate could one day be our own.
the buddha with bud
the dog with virgen
the christmas tree
3″ of windblown new
An angry little storm continues to brew out there. Temperatures are dropping everywhere as more arctic air seeps into the region. Winds are still southerly, but have started to veer to the west.
Current in Silverton: 8°, windy- W/10-15 gust/20s, 5″ new snow
Current on Passes: Temps 0° to 8°, windy, 5″-10″+ favoring south
Current at alpine wx stns: Temps -8° to -3°, RH in the mid 80s%, winds SW/25-35, gusts/50-70+
Winds speeds and snowfall are forecast to taper off today, with bitter cold temps tonight.
New snow as of 7 AM. Snow is dense and highly wind affected. Rowdy westerly winds continue to move lots of snow around out there.
This was the Saint Germain Foundation’s lodge and religious retreat, a former ski lodge, before it burned in January 1952. The group’s religious beliefs were upheld in a major U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1944, two years after the organization had bought the lodge.
ANDREW GULLIFORD/Special to the Herald
The lodge burned in January 1952, and that fall members of the “I AM” religious group built a garage on the site. The garage still stands immediately adjacent to U.S. Highway 550. Leigh Ann Hunt, forest archaeologist for the Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National Forest, says, “The Saint Germain group came planning to do big things and then it never materialized. The lake and garage are now landmarks in Ironton and they will be managed to preserve them.”
ANDREW GULLIFORD/Special to the Herald
A water tank and wooden platform still stand from members of the “I AM” religious group whose adherents moved to Ouray in 1942 and brought new perspectives to the old mining town. After their main lodge burned, members continued to camp on the site.
ANDREW GULLIFORD/Special to the Herald
Few structures remain on the 800-acre site, but one extant building is this cellar or storage area. It includes traces of yellow and purple paint on the interior.
ANDREW GULLIFORD/Special to the Herald
The concrete foundation of the original 1940s lodge can still be seen at the north edge of Ironton Park. Built as a ski lodge, the building became a retreat for the Saint Germain Foundation and “I AM” religious teachings.
Driving across Colorado and the West, I see historic buildings or structures that compel me to get out of my truck and take a walk. For years, I’ve driven between Silverton and Ouray and noticed the large stone garage just east of Crystal Lake in Ironton Park. I’ve always wondered what it was, but in my most vivid imagination I could never have created the story I’m about to tell.
No fiction. Just fact. Including: a ski area, a religion, loudspeakers sounding heavenly music, a couple’s spiritual beliefs tested all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, a tragic fire, a yellow Cadillac, and the colors of the rainbow.
The story begins simply enough. A couple of friends decided to build a ski area.
Ouray businessman Joseph Condotti and Ralph Kullerstrand, president of Citizen’s State Bank, acquired patented mining claims on the north end of Ironton Park, and using lumber and bricks recycled from the Saratoga Smelter, built a two-story lodge with a full basement and attic. Ouray historian Don Paulson writes, “They built a ski lift with seven towers, the remnants of which can still be found, and cleared a run of approximately 1,800 feet.”
Across U.S. Highway 550, the partners created today’s Crystal Lake and stocked it with trout, which Colorado Gov. Ralph Carr ate while he attended the lodge’s opening ceremonies in 1940. But the lodge never succeeded. The business partnership failed.
Paulson writes, “Some believe that avalanche hazard was the cause of the disagreement. The Guadalupe slide runs just north of the lodge building and would have threatened the ski run.”
As the ski area sat vacant, a burgeoning religious movement, borne out of the desperation of the Great Depression, lost one of its founders. The religion’s practitioners sought solace in the San Juan Mountains. They bought the lodge and ski area.
In many cultures around the world, mountains are seen as sacred places. Ouray bills itself as “the Switzerland of America,” so maybe that’s why in the 1940s the Saint Germain Foundation bought the unused ski lodge for a religious retreat. A decade earlier in 1930, Guy W. Ballard, hiking on Mount Shasta in northern California, had encountered the Ascended Master Saint Germain. That experience was the origin of the “I AM” religious teachings.
According to the Saint Germain Foundation, Jesus Christ was an Ascended Master, and Joan of Arc and Benjamin Franklin were earlier embodiments of Mrs. Guy Ballard. In the 1930s, Saint Germain inspired Guy Ballard to write books titled Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence. The books communicate theosophy, and volume No. 3 is The ‘I AM’ Discourses, which are sacred scriptures and part of the Ascended Master Teachings religion. In 1939, Guy Ballard became an Ascended Master.
The “I AM” movement grew spectacularly during the dark days of the Depression. In 1942, the federal government indicted his wife, Edna Ballard, their son Donald Ballard and other affiliates on 12 counts including mail fraud. They were convicted of organizing a moneymaking scheme, and the same year the foundation bought the lodge and members moved to Ouray seeking privacy. The Ballard family appealed the convictions, and two years later the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in one of the most important decisions about religious freedom in the 20th century.
The Ballards won. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned their conviction in United States v. Ballard 322 U.S. 78 (1944). In a victory for the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, the high court ruled that the tenets of one’s religious faith could not be legally challenged.
Now comes her yellow Cadillac, Mrs. Edna Ballard, and members of the “I AM” religion. They preferred the colors of the rainbow, including purple and yellow, and her inner staff wore formal clothes. One story is that a local Ouray teacher involved in the “I AM” religious group would not tolerate red and black crayons in her schoolroom. The lodge held a sanctuary on the main floor for regular services. Sounds of violins, carillon bells – at the time the highest in the world – and harp music wafted down the canyon. Nearby were plans for a music healing temple.
Lifelong member Bud Thayer knew Mrs. Ballard and he told me, “She was guided by Saint Germain in what she did in purchasing the property. We were very near a concentration of spiritual energy in that whole area for a number of miles around. We regard that property as very sacred.”
Followers of the religious group produced radio broadcasts “that went all over the world” through wire connections from the property. Normally five to 10 people lived on site, but when Mrs. Ballard arrived there could be as many as 25 assistants.
“She came three to four times a year. She absolutely loved it. She was at her happiest at the lodge in Ouray,” Thayer says.
On the site, a root cellar still has traces of purple and yellow paint. A careful hiker can find little patios under pine trees, short hand-stacked stone walls, and other rock masonry architectural features.
To this day the Chicago-based Saint Germain Foundation exists worldwide with over 300 “I AM” sanctuaries and centers, including one in Santa Fe. But not in Ouray.
After buying the ski area in 1942, the religious group purchased mining claims until they owned an 800-acre site.
According to Paulson, “In 1947 they announced plans to open a large summer camp able to house over 500 people but that never materialized. Unfortunately, in January of 1952, the lodge caretaker accidentally set the building on fire using a blowtorch” while melting snow and icicles on the roof. Because of prevailing canyon winds the old mining timbers burned instantly. Terraces show where summer cabins would have been built.
Today, only the concrete foundation of the lodge remains and I like to hike around it. I think about the ski area and summer camp that could have been but never was. The stone garage built in the fall of 1952 is locked. Plans included rebuilding the lodge one or two stories atop the garage, but instead it became a truck and storage area.
The foundation held on to the property for a few more decades and members of the organization camped on site. On Feb. 10, 1971, . Edna Ballard died in Chicago and took her ascension as the Ascended Lady Master Lotus.
Assisted by federal funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Red Mountain Project and the Trust for Public Land purchased the 800 acres and transferred it back to the U.S. Forest Service. What was private is now public land.
Leigh Ann Hunt, forest archaeologist for the Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National Forest, has written a cultural resource inventory of the site. A stout metal and wood picnic table remains, and I love the stone walls and terraces that look like elves built them.
I agree with the Saint Germain Foundation. Mountains are sacred places. The foundation established more permanent quarters at Mount Shasta, and their former Colorado religious retreat is once again public domain. For me, the silvery San Juans meet my spiritual needs, and though I like rainbow colors, I prefer blue – sky blue – the color you see at 12,000 feet.
As winter sweeps in, elementary school students across the United States will learn that no two snowflakes are alike. Is that really true? Mental Floss magazine asked Kenneth Libbrecht, a physics professor at the California Institute of Technology. [Editor's note: Mental Floss magazine is only available in print.]
While most oxygen atoms have eight neutrons, some come with 10, which, Mr. Libbrecht says, changes the shape of water molecules and affects how they freeze.
“There’s no fundamental law of the universe that says snowflakes can’t be identical,” according to Mental Floss. “But since each flake is made of millions of randomly arrayed water molecules that aren’t quite uniform, the odds of stumbling into twin flakes are astronomically slim.”
Libbrecht estimates that there are more unique shapes for snowflakes than there are atoms in the universe. Good luck finding a copycat.
another winters day project that might have to wait til you have more time….
Temperatures are rising faster in the winter than in the summer, a trend that will likely have a profound impact on the tourism sector. Host Scott Simon speaks with Auden Schendler, of the Aspen Skiing Company, about how climate change is influencing the winter sports.
The black-humored art of Ralph Steadman is forever linked with the outrageous writing of the late Hunter S. Thompson, the dean of gonzo journalism and a longtime contributor to Rolling Stone. Steadman, an English cartoonist and painter, first accompanied his friend to the Kentucky Derby at the end of the Sixties – an assignment that infamously helped Thompson create his unique style of writing, which ran roughshod over any pretense of objectivity and evenhandedness. Steadman, now 77, drew in a slashing, gleefully spattered style rooted invariably in the notion that it’s all unremittingly horrible. . . so let’s have a drink. His work is collected in the magnificent new book Proud Too Be Weirrd, excerpted here for the first time. —James Sullivan
The 9-by-8 foot “Flower Girl” artwork sold for $209,000 on Thursday at an auction that featured nearly 100 works by more than 30 artists, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1aFPMXw). The winning bid came from a Los Angeles buyer who requested anonymity.
The mural shows a little girl holding a flower basket under the eye of a surveillance camera planted atop a tall stalk.
The seller of the mural was Eytan Rosenberg, a former gas station owner who allowed a group of three street artists to paint something on the business’s white brick wall.
Rosenberg sold the gas station last year and painstakingly removed the artwork and installed it in a sturdy aluminum frame. He and his sister want to use the money from the sale to build a car wash.
Banksy, who refuses to reveal his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England. He’s known for his silhouetted figures and spray-painted messages.
The highest known price for a Banksy work is about $1.1 million for a mural called “Slave Labor” that was auctioned in London in June.
Banksy’s work has caught the eye of A-list Hollywood celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who recently bought a smaller piece for $1 million.
Louie Armstrong on RMP skiing yesterday’s new powder. J.R. photo
Louis Armstrong. Satchmo. A trumpet played with a sound like no other. An inimitable singing voice resonating life, joy, humor and strength. An improvisational genius of jazz. The name, the nickname, the horn, the voice and the artistic imagination would never be mistaken for anyone besides the man we know as Louis Armstrong.
His music is an integral part of the fabric of American life and culture. As with many Americans and jazz fans from all over the world, Armstrong has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. In many ways he is the quintessential American icon, part myth, part legend, completely human and as vital as a heartbeat.
Sometimes his music arrives in the mind while I’ve been working early in the morning or late at night. In that peculiar way of all music and genius musicians particularly, the sound of Louis Armstrong loosens the imagination, warms the heart, and entices the mind to wander into memory and away from the task at hand. Whether this phenomenon contributes to or damages the work in progress is, maybe, something to consider; but it is unquestionable that the music of Louis Armstrong enhances the lives of his listeners.
Though Armstrong died in 1971, I use the present tense because, in truth, the music never dies. His music speaks to the present moment as clearly and with as much vitality as the day it was played.
Nelson Mandela, who was born in a country that viewed him as a second-class citizen, died Thursday as one of the most respected statesmen in the world.
President Jacob Zuma announced the death in a televised speech.
From his childhood as a herd boy, Mandela went on to lead the African National Congress’ struggle against the racially oppressive, apartheid regime of South Africa. For his efforts, he spent 27 years behind bars as a political prisoner. In 1994, after Mandela was elected president in South Africa’s first democratic elections, Archbishop Desmond Tutu shook with elation as he welcomed Mandela to a rally in Cape Town.
“One man inspires us all. One man inspires the whole world,” Tutu said at the time. “Ladies and gentlemen, friends, fellow South Africans, welcome our brand new state president — out of the box: Nelson Mandela.”
Mandela was born in the Transkei, a region of rolling green hills near the southern tip of the African continent. In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom,he recalled his childhood as a simple, joyful time. He herded sheep and cows near his mother’s huts and played barefoot with other boys. He was educated by British missionaries, got a law degree and eventually opened the first black law firm in Johannesburg.
In the 1940s, Mandela became active with the Youth League of the African National Congress.
Tapping into the culture of black resistance that was sweeping Johannesburg, Mandela helped organize strikes and demonstrations against the country’s system of racial segregation.
Death Stirs Sense of Loss Around the World
A low pressure trough is forming over the Pacific NW today while cold temps and scattered mid level clouds remain in western Colorado. Another very cold day and night ahead as clouds spread into the area ahead of the approaching trough. By early Saturday SW flow will develop as the low pressure system moves through the Great Basin with a little moisture.
Warmer moist air associated with this low will mix with colder air combined with orographic lift & pushed by the jet (decent winds) just south of us & will provide good opportunity for San Juan Mountain snow. Recent models of course are not in agreement with timing and snow amounts, but it looks like later in the day Saturday snow will begin in our mountains and continue Saturday night into Sunday. We should see at least 12″ or more above 11,000′ on SW facing terrain.
The storm has passed and the deep chill has set in. Temps have dropped 20° to 25° from Wednesday’s lows. Yesterday’s ferocious winds have decreased, but remain the perfect speed for snow transport. Wind chills range from -10°
to -30°, depending where you are.
Current in Silverton: Mostly clear, calm, -19°
Current on passes: Temps near 0° (-8° at Monument), new snow yesterday ~5″-8″+ favoring south
Our most recent storm totals:
Wednesday snow/H20 Storm Total
Monument 6”/.5” 11″/.9″
RMP 7”/.9” (wind effected) 16.5″/1.75″
Molas 10”/1.2” 24″/2.75″
Coal Bank 7”/.7” 19″/2.0″
The San Juan Avalanche Project by Don Bachman-Silverton Mountain Journal–February 2001—Reposted because it’s such an important story in San Juan Mountain history–J.R.
In early May of 1971, I was detailed to Silverton by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR),University of Colorado with a purchase order and instructions to locate a house of suitable size to base an office and living quarters for an avalanche research project.
That night I stopped at the Grand Imperial to listen in on a busy town of 850 people supported by the employment of two large mines, the Sunnyside and Idarado. I wasn’t long on the bar stool before two fellows got up from a table and sandwiched me, right and left with the admonition from the big one on the right of ”We don’t allow no #$%&*! hippies in here”. Well, I was fresh from the hippie-cowboy wars of Gunnison County, so not too concerned. My hair and beard weren’t really that long and I was a bit older and sober, and after all was still running a bar of my own back in Crested Butte and felt at the time, those attributes along with carefully honed negotiation skills and perhaps friendly allies could save the day. But, the bartender didn’t look too supportive of customer immunity, and for that matter did the rest of the crowded place.
Hmm, this wasn’t looking good, so I stuck out a hand and introduced myself to Clayton Hadden and Marvin Blackmore. That worked for a minute. Then I said I was in town to run the logistics for an avalanche project. Thank goodness, the other guy at the table they’d just left hopped up and said to leave me alone: he’s heard about this deal and I was probably ok.
That was the first of many times Tuffy Foster, Colorado Highway Maintenance Foreman for Red Mountain and Molas Passes, was to contribute to the well being of the San Juan Avalanche Project. Then Marvin bought me the first of many beers we shared over the years.
A gas pipe, one of 43 strategically placed pipes along the mountain, can emit explosive bursts of oxygen and propane to create small, controlled avalanches.
SOCHI, Russia — Scattered high on the craggy, snow-swept cliffs of the Caucasus Mountains, dozens of wide-mouthed metal pipes jut horizontally from the rocks. An elbow joint turns the pipes downward, like spouts of giant faucets.
They are part of an intricate arsenal designed to protect Rosa Khutor, the new resort that will host Alpine skiing and snowboarding events at the 2014 Olympics in February, from the potentially catastrophic and deadly destruction of avalanches.
Rosa Khutor is so new — parts are still under construction — that there is little understanding of the likelihood and danger of snowslides. The first avalanche studies of the area were conducted in 2008, after Sochi was awarded the Olympics and just as construction of the resort began in earnest.
“It was totally virgin, a wild space consisting of large forests interrupted partly by avalanche tracks,” according to a 2012 paper written by outside consultants and officials of the flourishing ski area.
The experts found that conditions for avalanches were nearly perfect.
“Rosa Khutor is a challenging zone with many large and steep slopes,” the paper said. “This terrain is near the Black Sea and receives extreme precipitation that can lead to large and dangerous avalanche cycles.”
That is why there is a team of experts devoted solely to avalanche prevention at Rosa Khutor, some posted in a tucked-away office near the base and others stationed in a ridgeline cabin, above timberline, called “avalanche house.” That is why two backhoes crawl like giant insects atop the highest ridges, knocking away dangerous cornices before they topple. That is why mountainsides have been reshaped, with 30-foot-tall dams, to steer avalanches away from buildings, lifts, ski runs and people.
And that is why there are 43 huge pipes sprouting from the rocks, each of which can emit a remote-controlled explosive burst of oxygen and propane to create artificial avalanches before large-scale natural ones occur.
Here’s the Thumper story.
How are you doing?
Best wishes – Don
A brief narrative of an alternative method of avalanche release which may have been the genesis of the GazEx avalanche exploder principle. (Don Bachman – 09/09/09)
Ed LaChapelle was a principal consultant to the San Juan Avalanche Project in Silverton, Colorado (1971 – 76) which was managed by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado. He also conceived a project on the assessment of alternate methods for artificial avalanche release which was funded by Colorado, WashingtonState and Federal Departments of Transportation. The bulk of this investigation was done during the latter part of the overall project.
Don Bachman working a snow pit with his chainsaw….
One of the methods assessed was a “thumper” device consisting of a circular steel chamber approximately two feet by two feet (12.5 cubic feet capacity) with a spring loaded lid buried to the starting zone slope level, into which an oxygen/acetylene mixture was injected. This installation was on the Willow Swamp avalanche path which ran about 600’ onto the highway (US 550) switchbacks. The path itself consisted of two distinct starting zones of which the south c. 1 acre zone was selected for the installation while the north c. 6 acre zone remained a target area for the 75mm pack howitzer artillery control which was in affect at the time.
The gas bottles were hauled to an area just above the starting zone and secured to a tree. Hose was buried downhill to the canister. The canister would be filled and ignited, which in turn propelled the lid upward to disturb (“thump”) the basal snow layers, initiating the fracture propagation which could produce an avalanche. The steel lid was arrested at the end of the spring extension and fell back in place by its own weight; in theory, ready to go again.
As we were completing the installation, we tested the ignition system. Rather than commit the steel chamber to mixture adjustment and ignition, I attached my paper lunch sack to the initial run of hose, turned on the mixture and popped it off. The detonation of the gas was accompanied a noisy bang and a perceptible shock wave. The next day we brought up a bunch of bags and tweaked our mixture and volume with this method based on our perception of the maximum shock produced. Then we hooked up the system to the “Thumper” and it worked – lifting the lid up to the spring extension, then falling back in place, ready for the next detonation. Our main concern was that the buried chamber would be displaced out of the ground, but fortunately that didn’t happen.
The following winter’s results were inconclusive as I recall. One test failed due to the rubber lines being chewed by animals; requiring that we slip coiled armoring over the hose. Another test produced the desired detonation, but no avalanche. When I went down to dig a pit at the chamber location the whole slope whumphed and I retreated without any further information. I believe there were one or two successful avalanche releases. This device was deemed over engineered and later replaced by a more simple radial truck tire configuration which produced the same theoretical results with much less installation work. I left the project that spring, but some experimentation continued the following winter.
The linkage to GazEx development came discussions which compared the use of exploding lunch sack potential to stress the snow pack over a broad surface area, versus a basal explosion in the “thumper” that was intended to replicate the penetration and detonation of an artillery round. Ed and I and others on the project felt that an explosion above the snow surface was preferable, which lead to the development of aerial tram delivery/lowering of hand charge explosives, and suspended gas filled sewer pipe (tested on Steven’s Pass, I believe). Further adaptation saw use of expendable plastic kiddy sleds to lower explosives down the surface of avalanche starting zones (maybe first utilized on Rendezvous Bowl at Jackson), and the placement of hand charges on bamboo poles stuck (suspended) above the snow surface at many areas including Bridger Bowl. Ultimately, the GazEx device refined the unintentional but useful consequence of the exploding lunch sack test.
CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS
and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society
5 December 2013
Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is expected to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014.
During November, ENSO-neutral persisted, as reflected by near-average sea surface temperatures (SST) across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. 1). SST anomalies in all of the Niño regions were small, but showed increases in the Niño-3.4 and Niño-4 regions (Fig. 2). The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) increased (Fig. 3) due to the eastward propagation of a downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave. This increased heat content reflects above-average subsurface temperatures across the Pacific (Fig. 4). The wind anomalies remained small at lower and upper levels during the month. Equatorial convection was suppressed in the central equatorial Pacific and enhanced over Indonesia (Fig. 5). Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic conditions reflect ENSO-neutral.
The majority of model forecasts indicate that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) will persist into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014 (Fig. 6). While current forecast probabilities are still greatest for ENSO-neutral by mid-summer, there is an increasing chance for the development of El Niño. The consensus forecast is for ENSO-neutral to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014 (see CPC/IRI consensus forecast).