Monument: 9” w/0.55” SWE

Red Mountain Pass: 10” w/0.7” SWE

Molas: 6” w/0.4” SWE

Coal Bank: 10” w/0.6” SWE


Monument: 0.5” w/0.025” SWE

Red Mountain Pass: 1.5” w/0.15” SWE

Molas: 2.5” w/0.2” SWE

Coal Bank: 6” w/0.45” SWE


Monument: 18” w/1.18” SWE

Red Mountain Pass: 27” w/1.85” SWE

Molas: 25.5” w/2” SWE

Coal Bank: 38.5” w/2.95” SWE


Ice is melting faster worldwide, with greater sea-level rise anticipated, studies show.

The Oceans Melting Greenland mission carried out depth and salinity measurements of Greenland's fjords by boat and aircraft.
The Oceans Melting Greenland mission carried out depth and salinity measurements of Greenland’s fjords by boat and aircraft. (NASA)

By Chris Mooney and Andrew FreedmanJan. 25, 2021 at 1:57 p.m. MSTAdd to list

Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and scientists are still underestimating just how much sea levels could rise, according to alarming new research published this month.

From the thin ice shield covering most of the Arctic Ocean to the mile-thick mantle of the polar ice sheets, ice losses have soared from about 760 billion tons per year in the 1990s to more than 1.2 trillion tons per year in the 2010s, a new study released Monday shows. That is an increase of more than 60 percent, equating to 28 trillion tons of melted ice in total — and it means that roughly 3 percent of all the extra energy trapped within Earth’s system by climate change has gone toward turning ice into water.

“That’s like more than 10,000 ‘Back to the Future’ lightning strikes per second of energy melting ice around-the-clock since 1994,” said William Colgan, an ice-sheet expert at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. “That is just a bonkers amount of energy.”

There is good reason to think the rate of ice melt will continue to accelerate. A second, NASA-backed study on the Greenland ice sheet, for instance, finds that no less than 74 major glaciers that terminate in deep, warming ocean waters are being severely undercut and weakened.

Scientists descended into Greenland’s perilous ice caverns — and came back with a worrying message

And it asserts that the extent of this effect, along with its implications for rising seas, is still being discounted by the global scientific community.

Failing to fully account for the role of ocean undercutting means sea-level rise from the ice sheets may be underestimated by “at least a factor of 2,” the new paper in the journal Science Advances finds.

“It’s like cutting the feet off the glacier rather than melting the whole body,” said Eric Rignot, a study co-author and a glacier researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Irvine. “You melt the feet and the body falls down, as opposed to melting the whole body.”

~~~ CONTINUE ~~~


“Oh man, not a good read to start the day…” Dr. Peter Hackett

Climate change is upending the world as we know it, and coping with it demands widespread, radical action.

By Roy Scranton

Credit…Mark Pernice

The other night, I went to pick up takeout at a local Irish pub. It was a gray and rainy evening at the end of a long week, and my partner and I were suffering from Zoom fatigue. We love this pub not just because it has good food, but because it’s a living part of our community. Pre-Covid, they used to have Irish traditional music sessions, and any cold and snowy night you’d be greeted with a burst of cheer, a packed house, friends and families all out for a cozy good time.

Now it’s a ghostly quiet. Social distancing rules mean that even at max capacity, it still only has a tiny fraction of its usual clientele. Standing in that empty pub, haunted by the sense of what we were missing, I felt an ache for “normal” as acute as any homesickness I ever felt — even when I served in the Army in Iraq. I still feel the twinge every time I put on my mask. I want our normal lives back.

But what does normal even mean anymore?

It’s easy to forget that 2020 gave us not just the pandemic, but also the West Coast’s worst fire season, as well as the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record. And, while we were otherwise distracted, 2020 also offered up near-record lows in Arctic sea icepossible evidence of significant methane release from Arctic permafrost and the Arctic Ocean, huge wildfires in both the Amazon and the Arcticshattered heat records (2020 rivaled 2016 for the hottest year on record)bleached coral reefs, the collapse of the last fully intact ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic, and increasing odds that the global climate system has passed the point where feedback dynamics take over and the window of possibility for preventing catastrophe closes.

President Biden has recommitted the United States to the Paris Agreement, which is great except that it doesn’t really mean much, since that agreement’s commitments are voluntary. And it might not even matter whether signatories meet their commitments, since their pledges weren’t rigorous enough to keep global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels to begin with. According to Climate Action Tracker, a collaborative analysis from independent science nonprofits, only Morocco and Gambia have made commitments compatible with the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, and the commitments made by several major emitters, including China, Russia, Japan and the United States, are “highly insufficient” or “critically insufficient.”

It’s also worth noting that the two degrees Celsius benchmark is somewhat arbitrary and possibly fantastic, since it’s not clear that the earth’s climate would be safe or stable at that temperature. In the words of a widely discussed research summary published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, even if the Paris Agreement targets are met, “we cannot exclude the risk that a cascade of feedbacks could push the Earth System irreversibly onto a ‘Hothouse Earth’ pathway.”

More alarming, recent observed increases in atmospheric methane, a greenhouse gas more than 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over the short term, are so large that if they continue they could effectively overwhelm the pledged emissions reductions in the Paris Agreement, even if those reductions were actually happening. Which they’re not.CLIMATE FWD:: Our latest insights about climate change, with answers to your questions and tips on how to help.Sign Up

Meanwhile, the earth’s climate seems to be changing faster than expected. Take the intensifying slowdown in the North Atlantic current, a global warming side effect made famous by the film “The Day After Tomorrow.” According to the climatologist Michael Mann, “We are 50 years to 100 years ahead of schedule with the slowdown of this ocean circulation pattern, relative to what the models predict … The more observations we get, the more sophisticated our models become, the more we’re learning that things can happen faster, and with a greater magnitude, than we predicted just years ago.”

In 2019, the Greenland ice sheet briefly reached daily melt rates predicted in what were once considered worst-case scenarios for 2060 to 2080. Recent research indicates that rapidly thawing permafrost may release twice as much carbon dioxide and methane than previously thought, which is pretty bad news, because other recent research shows very cold Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years earlier than expected.

Going back to normal now means returning to a course that will destabilize the conditions for all human life, everywhere on earth. Normal means more fires, more category 5 hurricanes, more flooding, more drought, millions upon millions more migrants fleeing famine and civil war, more crop failures, more storms, more extinctions, more record-breaking heat. Normal means the increasing likelihood of civil unrest and state collapse, of widespread agricultural failure and collapsing fisheries, of millions of people dying from thirst and hunger, of new diseases, old diseases spreading to new places and the havoc of war. Normal could well mean the end of global civilization as we know it.

~~~ CONTINUE ~~~


Every medal is created by hand with largely recycled materials

Austin Colbert

Lisa Issenberg works on the X Games Aspen medals in her Ridgway studio. Photo courtesy of Eve Melmon.

The X Games medals are meant to be special. They are awarded to athletes who achieve a feat that stands apart in his or her sport, an accomplishment that likely took years to reach.

Colorado artist Lisa Issenberg understands the responsibility that comes with making such a prize.

“The end result just needs to be a significant award for the incredible athletes who have worked perhaps a whole lifetime to make it onto the podium,” Issenberg said. “I definitely don’t take it lightly. It’s a grand task to produce something that incorporates a large organization’s branding and to do that in style with beauty and depth and heft. I want to give it my all.”

Issenberg, who operates out of her Ridgway studio, dubbed Kiitellä — Finnish for “to thank, applaud, or praise” — was first brought on by X Games in 2020 to make their highly sought after medals. The partnership went so well that ESPN’s Brian Kerr, their associate director of competition for X Games who oversees the medals, brought Issenberg back into the fold for X Games Aspen 2021, which takes place Friday through Sunday at Buttermilk Ski Area.

“We are thrilled to once again partner with such a creative visionary, local artist. We really appreciate and share her values,” Kerr said. “Her environmentally-sound practices line up with our X Games sustainability program, and we love that our X Games Aspen medals are designed and brought to life right here in her studio in the great state of Colorado.”

Every medal Issenberg makes is created by hand with largely recycled materials and limited to no excess waste. She created her company with the intent of making awards and has a clientele that includes Aspen Skiing Co. — she’s long made the Power of Four medals — the Birds of Prey World Cup ski races at Beaver Creek, and The North Face, among many others.

Issenberg uses a minimalist design philosophy in her work — drawing inspiration from Bauhaus as well as the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi, which essentially is the acceptance of imperfection. The design she used on this year’s X Games medals is certainly different from a year ago, but still has the same familiar feel.

“It’s a fresh new design, but you can tell they came out of the same studio and by the same hands,” Issenberg said. “Every project is a new design challenge and I never know if I’m going to get it right. Like a painter or writer, you can’t know if or when a piece is complete. But if you keep the pencil moving, the final design surfaces like a haiku and you know that’s it.”

Not only is Issenberg responsible for making the main X Games medals, but she also made this year’s Knuckle Huck rings, two of which go to the winner of each contest. On top of that, she made this year’s Real Series medals — ESPN’s ski, snowboard and mountain bike film competition — as well as its Rocket League medals, a virtual competition based off the popular video game.

For X Games Aspen 2020, Issenberg created nearly 100 medals, but that number was cut dramatically this year as the coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the event.

Courtesy photos of the X Games Aspen 2021 Knuckle Huck rings, created by Ridgway artist Lisa Issenberg. 

“I’ve listened to a few athletes talk about some of their competitions being canceled, but X Games, the ones that can still be involved this year look forward to it and have to train with a goal in mind,” Issenberg said. “It was really beautiful to see the creativity that came out of the pandemic. At first everything just shut down and it was a bit of a panic. And then, bit-by-bit, you see organizations popping up and saying, ‘Well, let’s just remake what we can with what we have.’”

X Games has certainly been remade because of the pandemic. In 2021, it won’t include any of the motorsports, such as snowmobiling, any of the concerts or any of the spectators. Roughly 100 athletes were invited to take part in the 14 skiing and snowboarding events.

That however, is at the heart of Winter X Games. The athlete lineup still includes the sport’s best — from Chloe Kim to Shaun White to hometown hero Alex Ferreira — and remains a focal point for professional skiers and snowboarders.

Winning an X Games medal is hardly about the medal, but the medal is representative of a great achievement, by both artist and athlete alike.

“This is art at its finest,” Kerr said. “We are stepping into 2021 to try and get back to having some fun again. We are looking to bring some X Games light to clear away the COVID fog. We are all looking forward now, not back. We are hopeful our athletes can come together and thrive at X Games weekend.”

‘RED MOUNTAIN PASS – CHIEF OURAY HIGHWAY: A History of Forecasting and Mitigation.’—Jerry Roberts—The Avalanche Review

East Riverside running over the shed.

Gary King photo

West Riverside the same day.

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The Avalanche Review, February & April 2009

It’s anybody’s guess why forecasters do this job. It could be the smell of powder, throwing 50 pound shots from the helicopter, watching hard slab failure release energy over several alpine basins at once, or maybe just the company you keep.

Whatever the reasons, you get hooked on the excitement and the challenges of the job. It requires a lot of field experience (series of non-fatal errors), collection of empirical evidence, listening to your inner voice (intuition), and distilling all of the variables to reduce uncertainties until you can finally make a decision that you can live with. There are many truths to be learned. It’s no big mystery; you pay attention and do your work because you don’t want to be a victim of your own bad planning. It helps to be comfortable in the world of uncertainties.

~~~  READ PART ONE , PP. 24, 25, 32  ~~~

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East Riverside & snowshed..

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Jefe/Señor foreman, Tim Lane


The Bureau of Reclamation’s dire projections for Colorado River Basin reservoirs for the first time triggers drought contingency planning across seven basin states.

Jason Blevins, 4:20 AM MST on Jan 25, 2021

Blue Mesa is Colorado’s 2nd largest reservoir was formed by Blue Mesa Dam, is a 390-foot-tall earthen fill dam across the Gunnison River near Gunnison, Colorado, completed in 1966 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. The Colorado River Storage Project was created to manage the Colorado River, provide water storage, flood control and create hydroelectric power. Blue Mesa Reservoir is approximately 30 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline and spreads over 14 square miles in area. The reservoir can hold 940,700 acre feet of water. The Gunnison River is the Colorado River's 5th largest tributary. Ice fishermen standing on the ice of Blue Mesa Reservoir beneath the Dillon Pinnacles give a sense of scale to Blue Mesa reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado on January 22, 2021. Normally the landscape around Blue Mesa is buried under deep snow. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack is currently at 73 percent of normal and the Gunnison Basin is at 50-70% of normal. Such low amounts of snow may create drought conditions. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Normally the landscape around Blue Mesa is buried under deep snow. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack is currently at 73% of normal and the Gunnison Basin is at 50-70% of normal. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun) 

The dry 2020 and the lack of snow this season has water managers in seven states preparing for the first time for cutbacks outlined in drought contingency plans drafted two years ago. 

sobering forecast released this week by the Bureau of Reclamation shows the federally owned Lake Mead and Lake Powell — the nation’s two largest reservoirs and critical storage for Colorado River water and its 40 million users — dipping near-record-low levels. If those levels continue dropping as expected, long-negotiated agreements reached by the seven Colorado River Basin states in 2019 will go into effect, with water deliveries curtailed to prevent the federal government from stepping in and making hard water cuts. 

The Bureau of Reclamation’s quarterly report was dire, showing Lake Powell at 42% of capacity and downriver’s Lake Mead at 40% capacity. And there’s not much water coming.

“Right now inflows across the basin are well below average. In fact we are setting records for what is in the stream today,” said Dave Kanzer, deputy chief engineer with the Colorado River Water Conservation District, presenting the bureau’s latest forecasts to the district’s board last week. https://omny.fm/shows/the-colorado-sun/colorado-sun-daily-sun-up-recent-updates-on-unempl/embed

The bureau’s January report showed the impacts of a warming, drying climate peaking last year. The period from April to December was among the driest stretches ever recorded in the Southwest, with current conditions mirroring 2002, 2012, 2013 and 2018, four of the five driest years recorded in the Colorado River Basin. The bureau forecasts three scenarios for the next 24 months. Those three projections detail a most probable result, a best-case scenario and a worst-case situation.

Snowpack conditions right now in the mountains that feed the Colorado River and eventually fill Lake Powell are perilously close to the worst-case scenario. The bureau report shows the 2021 inflow into Lake Powell most likely will land around 53% of normal, but could end up as bad as 33% of normal. 

The bureau expects the Utah reservoir will finish 2021 at 35% of capacity. If things get worse and follow that worst-case projection, the water level at Lake Powell could drop below a critical level — 3,525 feet above sea level — in early 2022 and that would threaten the ability of Glen Canyon Dam to generate electricity. 

The Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

This has been a long time coming as the impacts of climate change manifest. The Colorado River Basin has been in a sustained drought since 2000, with the inflow into Lake Powell ranking above average in only four of the past 19 years.

“The period 2000-20 is the lowest 21-year period since the closure of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963,” the bureau’s January report reads, noting that the average inflow into Powell in those 21 years is only 80% of the 30-year average measured since 1981. 

If the reservoir falls below that 3,525-foot elevation level, the Glen Canyon Dam will be unable to  deliver hydro-electricity to more than 3 million customers and the federal government could lose as much as $150 million a year in revenue from selling that electricity.  Any projection that the reservoir is headed toward that critical threshold gets water managers in all seven basin states ready for drought-response operations that spread the pain of water cuts across every region of the Colorado River Basin. 

Jim Lochhead has helmed Denver Water for half of this prolonged drought. He’s seen good years like 2011 — really the last decent year for water in Colorado — and bad years, like 2013. 

He remembers a board meeting in the spring of 2013 where one of his water supply managers stood up and reached for the ceiling. He said the state needed 8 feet of snow to rescue it from serious water shortages that summer. 

“And within a few days it started to snow and sure enough we got 8 feet of snow,” Lochhead said. 

Low snow reveals the banks along the Taylor River near Almont, Colorado on January 23, 2021. Normally the Taylor River, a tributary to the Gunnison River, is frozen and its banks buried beneath snow. A lack of snow in late January may lead to drought on Colorado's Western Slope. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, statewide snowpack is 73 percent of normal and the Gunnison Valley is 50-70 percent of normal. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Low snow reveals the banks along the Taylor River near Almont, Colorado on Jan. 23, 2021. Normally the Taylor River, a tributary to the Gunnison River, is frozen and its banks buried beneath snow. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun) 

But with the lack of snow this season and snowpack in all but one of the state’s seven major river basins below median levels, Lochhead said he is “certainly very concerned about the supply outlook.” His team is working with water districts across Colorado to begin drought-planning work. Water restrictions are on the table and Denver Water is anticipating financial impacts from reduced water consumption.

“Things are not looking very good,” he said. “There are going to have to be some very serious discussions about what we can do even in the next year or two to try to manage the system to avoid some real alarming results.”

One distinct problem on the horizon: Management of Colorado River Basin water is based on 10-year averages. After this year, the bountiful 2011 falls out of the equation. 

“That is going to pull our 10-year average down pretty significantly,” Lochhead said. 

Northern Water, which supports more than 1 million people and 615,000 acres of irrigated farm land, is watching the demands on Colorado River water, but its focus is on wildfire impacts in the headwaters of its Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which diverts water beneath the Continental Divide for use in northeastern Colorado. Paradoxically, the lack of big snow on the burn scar left by the East Troublesome wildfire may reduce the impacts of sediment-filled runoff clogging the water district’s infrastructure. 

“I’m not saying we are happy we are below average, but if we were way above, that would create new problems of their own right now,” Northern Water spokesman Jeff Stahla said. “That said, we recognize there are some big questions facing the Colorado River down the road.”

Kanzer, in his report to the Colorado River district board last week, said soil conditions are very dry across Western Colorado. So the state can’t blizzard itself out of this drought hole. 

“Even if we did get a good spring we would not get much benefit because all of the moisture would go into the soil and not run off,” Kanzer said.


Andy Borowitz

January 25, 2021

Rudy Giuliani making a disgruntled face
Photograph by Rey Del Rio / Getty
  • WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Responding to Dominion Voting Systems’ huge defamation lawsuit against him, Rudy Giuliani said that he would not be able to pay $1.3 billion in damages because he does not know any real billionaires.

“If I knew an actual billionaire, I’d say, ‘Hey, I’m in a tough fix. Can you help me pay off this thing?’ ” Giuliani said. “But I don’t know anyone like that.”

Not only does he not know any actual billionaires, but the people he does know are “just the opposite,” Giuliani said.

“Forget about $1.3 billion,” he scoffed. “They can’t even pay their legal bills.”

The former New York mayor said that, if Dominion wins its case against him, he will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy. “I guess I do know someone who could help me with that,” he said.

Boebert Accepts Illegally Gifted Gun from White Supremacist Militia Members

Boebert Accepts Illegally Gifted Gun from White Supremacist Militia Members 

“She’s doing what we sent her there to do”, says Stephen Moore with Colorado Boots on the Ground, Bikers for Trump, “on behalf of the Colorado Chapter of Boots on the Ground Bikers for Trump, we have a little present for you.”

 Moore, who appeared with Boebert at the Colorado Capitol in December 2019 and can seen holding up the white supremacist hand gesture used by the radical militia ‘3 Percenters’ in the now infamous photo, gifted Boebert a custom printed Glock 22 with the congressional seal, complete with magazines, ammunition, and a custom printed display case.

The gift exchange breaks multiple laws, both state and federal: 
1. It is illegal for members of Congress to accept gifts over $50 (Glock 22s are $500 – $600 without custom printing)
2. It is illegal in Colorado to gift guns to non-immediate relatives
3. It is illegal to use the Congressional Seal without approval 

“Every day we learn more and more about just how deep Lauren Boebert’s ties to White Supremacists go” said Rural Colorado United Co-Chair George Autobee, “if she’s willing to break laws on camera for them today, what is going on behind the scenes?”

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