Persistent Alaska warmth this fall has brought back ‘the blob.’ If it lasts, it could mean a wild winter in the Lower 48. ~ The Washington Post


Sea surface temperature anomalies highlight the expansive blob of warm water around Alaska. (earth.nullschool.net)
October 18 at 2:07 PM

Throughout early fall, Alaska has been oddly warm and pleasant. The cause of the freakishly nice weather has been massive high pressure anchored over and around the state. One of the strongest on record for fall, this sprawling dome of warm air has helped keep the usual transition to cold stunted.

Since days are still long in early fall across Alaska, the sunny September (and into October) skies have also allowed ocean temperatures in the Northeast Pacific to rise significantly, as well. This has led to a return pool of abnormally warm ocean water in the Northeast Pacific known as “the blob,” and just in time for Halloween!

But scientists are unsure whether the blob will remain a fixture or fade away. If it manages to linger into the winter, the consequences for the Lower 48 could be profound.

[NOAA winter outlook: El Niño may mean stormy conditions in the South and Eastern U.S.]

Although the blob is focused over the Northeast Pacific and the Gulf of Alaska, it has played a substantial role in the development of extreme weather patterns over the Lower 48 when it has formed in the past. Generally, it has been linked to abnormally warm and dry conditions in the West, and cold and stormy conditions in the East.

When the blob is in place, the jet stream, which both divides warm and cold air and acts as super highway for storms, tends to veer north over the top of the blob. This results in a big ridge of high pressure forming over western North America, which brings mild weather and blocks storms.

The blob’s presence was linked to the persistence and intensity of the drought in California from 2013 to 2015. It also ″was blamed for contributing to 2015 being the hottest year on record in Seattle,” according to Scott Sistek, a meteorologist with KOMO in Seattle.

As the cold air displaced by the blob has to go somewhere, it then often crashes south in the East. Remember the polar vortex intrusions during the winters of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015? The blob played a role.

So what will happen to the current iteration of the blob?

After Alaska’s stunningly sunny September, warmer-than-normal conditions have persisted into October, despite some change in the pattern, which is now delivering more in the way of clouds and precipitation.

While the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is forecasting warmer-than-normal conditions for Alaska the rest of the month, the mega-high-pressure zone feeding the blob is expected to continue to shift and break down a bit. In its wake, a stormier pattern may take over, at least for a time. This would allow the waters where the blob currently resides to begin to mix better, perhaps ultimately diminishing or even destroying it.

“How long will BLOB Jr. last? At least as long as we have persistent high pressure over the north Pacific,” wrote Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, in a blog post. At this point, “it looks like things are evolving to a pattern with less high pressure offshore, so the BLOB should weaken.”


Over the next week, weather modeling indicates high pressure will move east into Canada as low pressure moves into the region where the blob is hanging out. (Tropical Tidbits)

According to Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist in Alaska, even if high pressure persists, it may turn into a source of cold air rather than warmth given Alaska’s waning sunlight — which would weaken the blob.

Ultimately, it’s hard to say much conclusively about the blob’s fate.

The blob last showed up around this time in 2016. Back then, there was some thinking that it may lead to a new round of winter cold outbreaks in the East. That didn’t really happen, as the blob dissipated.

Blob or not, the damage has been done in Alaska, where drought persists in the coastal rain forest of the southeast, and it’s been an extraordinarily peculiar start to the cold season.

“The onset of autumn in Alaska — the wettest part of the year for south-central and southeast Alaska — has been slow to arrive by four weeks or so,” said Dave Snider of the National Weather Service forecast office in Anchorage.

Anchorage has yet to witness a freeze. Although the city could see its first freeze in about a week, that will be about 10 days to two weeks past the old record for latest, a substantial gap.

“Nome should have 20 freezes by now. This year just one,” Brettschneider said. “Anchorage should have 20 days with temperatures below 38 degrees. This year, zero. So it’s not just the lack of a freeze, it’s that everything about the air mass is exceptional and persistent.”

Another oddity? Fairbanks has yet to see any snow so far this season, the latest on record. But history shows that the lack of snow so far means little with respect to what winter will bring.

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Much like the future of the blob, the future of winter in Alaska is very much to be determined.

Brettschneider sees the potential for a perfect confluence of conditions to keep the warmth coming. Since September turned to October, a dominant feature has been a low pressure area in the Bering Sea. This is a conduit for driving relatively mild Pacific Ocean air into the state.

It’s still quite early in the cold season, even in the snowy north. For now, it’s a waiting game. Waiting for summer to finally end, and waiting to see what winter might bring. It won’t only have implications for Alaska, but for all of us.

When In Drought: States Take On Urgent Negotiations To Avoid Colorado River Crisis ~ NPR

In 2007, years into a record-breaking drought throughout the southwestern U.S., officials along the Colorado River finally came to an agreement on how they’d deal with future water shortages — and then quietly hoped that wet weather would return.

But it didn’t.

Those states are now back at the negotiating table to hammer out new deals to avoid a slow-moving crisis on the river system that supports 40 million people in seven Western states.

The extent of the problem can be seen in a place like Page, Ariz., on the southern edge of Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the country.

Jennifer Pitt, who works on Colorado River policy for the National Audubon Society, is standing on an overlook peering down at the lake itself and the giant concrete dam holding it in place.

“Now you can tell that there’s a river here underneath this reservoir because it has somewhat of a linear shape,” Pitt says, tracing the red rock canyon with her finger. “And it’s wending its way towards where we’re standing, here, overlooking the Glen Canyon Dam.”

The canyon beyond the dam is stained with a stark white ring. This past year was one of the driest on record, and this spring the reservoir only received about a third of the amount of water it does in an average year.

For the past 20 years, Pitt says, demands for water have outstripped the supply, meaning Lake Powell and its sister reservoir, Lake Mead further downstream, continue to drop. Both are less than half full.

Pitt says without changes to how the two human-made lakes are managed, they could plummet to levels where no water can be released, referred to as “dead pool.”

“If that happened, that would be a catastrophe for this region’s economy, for all of the people who depend on the Colorado River, and for all of the wildlife that depends on it as well,” Pitt says.

Drought contingency planning

That dystopian future of shuttered farms, dried up streams and water-stressed cities is one water managers, like the Upper Colorado River Commission’s James Eklund, are attempting to avoid.

“Take Lake Mead,” Eklund says. “More is being taken out than comes into it. Like your bank account, if you do that over a sustained period you will run a deficit, and if you’re talking about water for 40 million people and economies that are massive — [the] fifth largest economy in the world [is what] the Colorado River Basin represents — then that’s significant.”

Water managers are attempting to boost reservoir levels with a suite of agreements under the umbrella of “drought contingency planning.” The premise is simple: Cut water use now, and use that saved water to bump up Powell and Mead to help to avoid bigger problems in the future, when supplies are likely to be even tighter.

Water officials in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming are working on a plan that covers the river’s Upper Basin and focuses on boosting snowpack with weather modification, better managing existing reservoirs and creating a water bank in Lake Powell.

The Lower Basin plan, being worked on by officials in Arizona, California and Nevada, is meant to create new incentives for water users like farmers and cities to conserve water in Lake Mead and to agree to earlier, deeper cuts to water use so the reservoir can avoid dropping to dead pool levels.

“There is clearly enough evidence that if we were to have another 2000 to 2004 kind of a multi-year drought, the system is in very serious trouble,” says Eric Kuhn, the former general manager of the Colorado River District.

When the current guidelines for river management were written back in 2007, he says people were feeling optimistic.

“Historically we’ve always said, ‘Well, next year will be better,'” Kuhn says. “And that’s the easy way out.”

After just finishing one of the driest and hottest water years on record, much of that optimism is gone.

Arizona has had the hardest time coming to an agreement due to intrastate battles over who will take cuts to water allocations and when they’ll take them. But states in the river’s Upper Basin have had issues, too, especially with the concept of ‘demand management.’

“It’s the difficult one,” Kuhn says. “Somebody’s going to have to use less.”

Economies throughout the southwest at risk

In the process of using less water, Kuhn says, there’s a fear that if those cuts aren’t doled out fairly, it could injure economies throughout the southwest.

Over the last three years drought contingency plan negotiations have laid bare familiar tensions throughout the basin. For decades it’s been common for farmers and cities to point fingers at their each other’s collective water uses. The same is true with water managers protective of their own interests in either the Upper or Lower Basins.

Colorado River District officials and Western Slope agricultural interests have said they’re on board with a demand management program only if farmers are given a choice about how much water they give up, and that they’re paid for forgoing water deliveries to their operations. But state officials have left the door open to mandatory cutbacks in a crisis.

“The thing we have to remember is [water use] in the basin is over 80 percent agriculture,” says Colby Pellegrino, who handles Colorado River issues for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Las Vegas metro area’s water utility.

Pellegrino says current conservation programs, like their aggressive buyback of residential lawns, won’t be enough to avoid a crisis.

“We can take out all the lawns we want and still not solve the problems that climate change is going to throw at us,” Pellegrino says.

Fear of federal intervention

Climate change is just one factor to get these deals done quickly. Another is pressure from the federal government. Officials with the U.S. Department of the Interior have given states an end-of-year deadline to get things done. If not, the assumption is the feds will step in and do it for them.

“That’s, I think, a fear of everybody on the river especially in the Upper Basin,” says Jennifer Gimbel, a former Interior undersecretary, now with Colorado State University. “And the last thing we want is interference by the federal government in that role.”

Gimbel says the fate of the entire region hangs in the balance.

Back at Glen Canyon Dam, the National Audubon Society’s Jennifer Pitt says it’s more than just the fates of people and economies tied up in river politics: an entire ecosystem is at stake.

“I think a lot of people who care about wildlife in this region are concerned,” she says. “And it’s not just birds. Seventy percent of all wildlife in the arid West rely on rivers at some point in their life cycle. So it has outsized importance for anyone who appreciates nature in this part of the country.”

Ancient Maya: Astrologists, Farmers … And Salt Entrepreneurs? NPR

The ancient Maya might be known for their mathematical aptitude, their accurate calendars, and their impressive temples. But did you know they were also salt entrepreneurs?

During the peak of Maya civilization – from 300 to 900 A.D. — coastal Maya produced salt by boiling brine in pots over fires. The end result was shaped into salt cakes, then paddled by canoe to inland cities and traded at extensive markets.

The latest evidence supporting the existence of the Maya salt empire comes from Heather McKillop, an archaeologist at Louisiana State University, and her co-author, anthropologist Kazuo Aoyama from Ibaraki University in Japan, an expert on stone tools.

Their research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that not only were the Maya producing a lot of salt, they were also salting and preserving fish, which they were able to contribute to the local economy. Salt and salted fish were both storable commodities, which means they were suitable for trade and also for alleviating potential food shortages, the researchers say.

McKillop has been studying salt production sites in the Maya lowlands of Belize for almost 30 years. She’s uncovered the remains of 110 salt-producing kitchens in the region – each one of which could have produced enough salt for 7,000 people per day, she says. (Though it’s unlikely they were all in use at the same time).

“I thought the findings would be that they cut a lot of wood, but in fact, the majority of the stone tools were used for cutting meat and fish. That really changed out views,” McKillop says.

In other words, Maya were not just producing a lot of salt, they realized; they were also using salt to produce dietary-necessary commodities. This meant the salt-producing Maya played an important role in the greater Maya civilization – which at its height is believed to have encompassed millions of people throughout Mesoamerica.

“Our research gives clear evidence that the coastal Maya were an integral part of the Mayan economy because they produced and traded a basic commodity, salt. Since everybody needed salt, the coastal Maya really contributed to daily life,” McKillop says.

Salt is a biological necessity. Sometimes we have too much, yes, but salt has been an essential to human life since the dawn of civilization.

In the ancient Roman and Chinese civilizations, for example, salt was also vital for food storage and trade, says Harvard University archaeologist Rowan Flad.

“Salt’s importance extends beyond regulating osmosis,” Flad says. He says the mineral holds great importance to the foundations of many societies. By enhancing certain flavors and tastes, for example, salt makes cuisine more versatile, and allows foods to be tied to specific places, Flad says.

Flad, who has studied the importance of salt during the dynastic period in China, says its actually pretty difficult to identify the ways salt was made, and where, because salt itself does not stay preserved. “It’s always kind of a fascinating puzzle,” Flad says.

McKillop has been putting together the pieces of the Maya salt production puzzle for years, but she’s not done yet. In the coming years, she will conduct more research by her site in Belize’s Payne’s Creek National Park to uncover the true extent of the salt production infrastructure.

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

Harry Taylor, 6, played with the bones of dead livestock on his family’s farm in New South Wales, Australia, an area that has faced severe drought.CreditCreditBrook Mitchell/Getty Images

INCHEON, South Korea — A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change.

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The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.

Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal

It may sound small, but a half-degree of temperature change could lead to more dire consequences in a warming world, according to a sweeping new scientific assessment.

Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion. But while they conclude that it is technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely.

For instance, the report says that heavy taxes or prices on carbon dioxide emissions — perhaps as high as $27,000 per ton by 2100 — would be required. But such a move would be almost politically impossible in the United States, the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China. Lawmakers around the world, including in China, the European Union and California, have enacted carbon pricing programs.

People on a smog-clouded street in Hebei Province, China, in 2016. China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the United States. Credit Damir Sagolj/Reuters

President Trump, who has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, has vowed to increase the burning of coal and said he intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement. And on Sunday in Brazil, the world’s seventh-largest emitter of greenhouse gas, voters appeared on track to elect a new president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has said he also plans to withdraw from the accord.

 

The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies. The Paris agreement set out to prevent warming of more than 3.6 degrees above preindustrial levels — long considered a threshold for the most severe social and economic damage from climate change. But the heads of small island nations, fearful of rising sea levels, had also asked scientists to examine the effects of 2.7 degrees of warming.

Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040, and at the lower temperature, the report shows. “It’s telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime,” said Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report.

To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. It also found that, by 2050, use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to between 1 and 7 percent. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which make up about 20 percent of the electricity mix today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.

“This report makes it clear: There is no way to mitigate climate change without getting rid of coal,” said Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University and an author of the report.

President Trump has vowed to increase the burning of coal and said he intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

The World Coal Association disputed the conclusion that stopping global warming calls for an end of coal use. In a statement, Katie Warrick, its interim chief executive, noted that forecasts from the International Energy Agency, a global analysis organization, “continue to see a role for coal for the foreseeable future.”

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Ms. Warrick said her organization intends to campaign for governments to invest in carbon capture technology. Such technology, which is currently too expensive for commercial use, could allow coal to continue to be widely used.

Despite the controversial policy implications, the United States delegation joined more than 180 countries on Saturday in accepting the report’s summary for policymakers, while walking a delicate diplomatic line. A State Department statement said that “acceptance of this report by the panel does not imply endorsement by the United States of the specific findings or underlying contents of the report.”

The State Department delegation faced a conundrum. Refusing to approve the document would place the United States at odds with many nations and show it rejecting established academic science on the world stage. However, the delegation also represents a president who has rejected climate science and climate policy.

“We reiterate that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement at the earliest opportunity absent the identification of terms that are better for the American people,” the statement said.

The report attempts to put a price tag on the effects of climate change. The estimated $54 trillion in damage from 2.7 degrees of warming would grow to $69 trillion if the world continues to warm by 3.6 degrees and beyond, the report found, although it does not specify the length of time represented by those costs.

The report concludes that the world is already more than halfway to the 2.7-degree mark. Human activities have caused warming of about 1.8 degrees since about the 1850s, the beginning of large-scale industrial coal burning, the report found.

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A major new climate report slams the door on wishful thinking

The IPCC says that even the most optimistic scenario for climate change is dire.

Smoke billows from smokestacks and a coal fired generator at a steel factory in Hebei, China. The IPCC will warn that the world isn’t doing enough to clean up facilities like this one.
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The leading international body of climate change researchers released a major report Sunday night on the impacts of global warming and what it would take to cap rising temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels — a goal that’s exceedingly difficult, but not impossible.

The report is from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international consortium of hundreds of climate researchers convened by the United Nations. Authors presented their findings in Incheon, South Korea after a week of discussion.

Why examine the prospects for limiting global warming to 1.5°C? Because under the Paris agreement, countries agreed that the goal should be to limit warming to below 2°C by 2100, with a nice-to-have target of capping warming at 1.5°C.

The report finds that it would take a massive global effort, far more aggressive than any we’ve seen to date, to keep warming in line with 1.5°C. Without such effort, we will continue at our current trajectory toward 3°C of warming. What’s more, even if we hit the 1.5°C goal, the planet will still face massive, devastating changes. So it’s pretty grim.

But the report is also a thunderous call to action, laying out what tools we have at our disposal (we have plenty) to mitigate global warming and to accelerate the turn toward cleaner energy. Let’s walk through the basics.

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Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It.

It begins with how we live our lives every moment of every day.

By Auden Schendler and Andrew P. Jones

Mr. Schendler is a climate activist and businessman. Mr. Jones creates climate simulations for the nonprofit Climate Interactive.

CreditCreditClaire Merchlinsky

On Monday, the world’s leading climate scientists are expected to release a report on how to protect civilization by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Given the rise already in the global temperature average, this critical goal is 50 percent more stringent than the current target of 2 degrees Celsius, which many scientists were already skeptical we could meet. So we’re going to have to really want it, and even then it will be tough.

The world would need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than has ever been achieved, and do it everywhere, for 50 years. Northern European countries reduced emissions about 4 to 5 percent per year in the 1970s. We’d need reductions of 6 to 9 percent. Every year, in every country, for half a century.

We’d need to spread the world’s best climate practices globally — like electric cars in Norway, energy efficiency in California, land protection in Costa Rica, solar and wind power in China, vegetarianism in India, bicycle use in the Netherlands.

We’d face opposition the whole way. To have a prayer of 1.5 degrees Celsius, we would need to leave most of the remaining coal, oil and gas underground, compelling the Exxon Mobils and Saudi Aramcos to forgo anticipated revenues of over $33 trillion over the next 25 years.

And while the air would almost immediately be cleaner and people healthier, the heartbreaking impacts of climate change — flooding in London, New York and Shanghai, as well as in Mumbai, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; Alexandria, Egypt; and Jakarta, Indonesia, to touch on just one consequence — would continue for decades, regardless of emissions cuts, because of the long life of man-made greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

Some cynical news headlines will certainly follow the report: “Scientists Agree — We’re Cooked!” The headline writers would have a point. Solving climate is going to be harder, and more improbable, than winning World War II, achieving civil rights, defeating bacterial infection and sending a man to the moon all together.

So how do we engage in a possibly — but not probably — winnable struggle within a rigged system against great odds, the ultimate results of which we’ll never see? Forget success, how do we even get out of bed in the morning?

We could order in Chinese and lock ourselves in the closet, but we shouldn’t. Because there’s good news: We’re perfect for the job. If the human species specializes in one thing, it’s taking on the impossible.

We are constitutionally equipped to understand this situation. We are, after all, mortal, and so our very existence is a fight against inevitable demise. We also have experience: The wicked challenges we’ve faced through the ages have often been seemingly insurmountable. The Black Death killed off at least a third of Europe in its time. World War II claimed 50 million lives. We won those battles — sort of. We’ve spent our time as Homo sapiens fighting what J.R.R. Tolkien called “the long defeat.”

Historically, we’ve tackled the biggest challenge — that of meaning, and the question of how to live a life — through the concept of “practice,” in the form of religion, cultural tradition or disciplines like yoga or martial arts. Given the stark facts, this approach might be the most useful. Practice has value independent of outcome; it’s a way of life, not a job with a clear payoff. A joyful habit. The right way to live.

Such an approach will require dropping the American focus on destination over journey, and releasing the concepts of “winning” and “winners,” at least in the short term. As the journalist I.F. Stone was said to have explained: “The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins.” He added: “You mustn’t feel like a martyr. You’ve got to enjoy it.” Or as Camus put it: “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

To save civilization, most of us would need to supplement our standard daily practices — eating, caring for family and community, faith —with a steady push on the big forces that are restraining progress, the most prominent being the fossil fuel industry’s co-option of government, education, science and media. This practice starts with a deep understanding of the problem, so it will mean reading a little about climate science. Our actions must be to scale, so while we undertake individual steps in our lives, like retrofitting light bulbs, we must realize that real progress comes from voting, running for office, marching in protest, writing letters, and uncomfortable but respectful conversations with fathers-in-law. This work must be habitual. Every day some learning and conversation. Every week a call to Congress. Every year a donation to a nonprofit advancing the cause. In other words, a practice.

Maybe this approach doesn’t seem as noble as, say, our memory of the civil rights movement. But that era’s continuous, workmanlike grinding probably didn’t feel all that glorious then, either. With history as our judge, though, it does. And we know what happens when enough people take up a cause as practice: Cultural norms change. Think gay marriage. Think the sharp decline in smoking in the United States.

There should be no shortage of motivation. Solving climate change presents humanity with the opportunity to save civilization from collapse and create aspects of what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “the beloved community.” The work would endow our lives with some of the oldest and most numinous aspirations of humankind: leading a good life; treating our neighbors well; imbuing our short existence with timeless ideas like grace, dignity, respect, tolerance and love. The climate struggle embodies the essence of what it means to be human, which is that we strive for the divine.

Perhaps the rewards of solving climate change are so compelling, so nurturing and so natural a piece of the human soul that we can’t help but do it.

The Faceless Ones ~ thanks Dick Dorworth

This video was before it’s  time, but so essential that it has been updated several times. Everyone must – watch it . Everyone in the English speaking world must watch it. If you haven’t time, then just listen. And listen everyday through Nov 6- Don’t let anyone take away your vote!

Melinda Chouinard

 

~~~  WATCH  ~~~

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snow likely this week and next above TL

OPENSNOW

We’ll see lots of rain showers this week, October 1-5, then the weather pattern will become colder and we will likely see a bit of snow on October 5-6 and a better chance for potentially significant snow between October 6-10.

Short Term Forecast

The perfectly sunny and dry days of September are now behind us and the weather pattern will become more active for at least the next two weeks.

On Monday, expect a cloudier day, though we’ll likely stay mostly dry.

Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Rosa will bring showers. Not every mountain area will receive significant rain, though some spots will receive 1-2+ inches of rain, which is significant.

During the end of the week, on Thursday and Friday, the showers will continue.

Total precipitation for this week (Monday, October 1 through Friday, October 5) could be significant over the mountains.

While we could see a lot of precipitation this week (image above), we will NOT see a lot of snow.

The snow forecast for the week shows just light amounts over Colorado. This is because temperatures will be very warm until about Friday, so most of the week’s precipitation will fall as rain with only the highest peaks seeing snowflakes.

If you want to see snowflakes at ski-area elevations, keep your eye on the time between Friday and Saturday when cooler air will finally arrive.

Recap for this week – a good chance for significant rain Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, then Friday and Saturday will bring cooler temperatures and perhaps a bit of snow.

Extended Forecast

Snow between October 6-10.

NOAA’s forecast (which is the average of many models) shows a good chance for above average precipitation.

And, the most important part, is that NOAA’s forecast also shows a good chance for colder-than-average temperatures.

The combination of above average precipitation and colder-than-average temperatures in October in Colorado is a recipe for snow, so my eye is on the time between October 6-10 as a likely period that our mountains could see the first significant snowfall of the season.

Let’s look in detail at Crested Butte, which I choose because it’s roughly in the middle of Colorado’s mountains. With the storm still 6+ days away and the forecast likely to change, we should look at generalities rather than focus on a particular corner of the state.

In the graphic below, each horizontal line shows the snow forecast from one of the 51 versions of the European model.

I highlighted in red the period from October 6-10. What’s awesome is that nearly every model version (each horizontal line) shows at least some snow, and about 50% of the model versions show significant snow.

This is plenty of evidence for me to say that either this weekend or next week will likely be the time when at least some of Colorado’s mountains get their first significant snowfall.

Of course, the details of this forecast will change daily between now and then, so let’s not get too excited for a specific amount of snow at a single location. Rather, the takeaway is that this week will be rainy, and then the upcoming weekend and next week will be much cooler with snow likely.