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Old 09-22-2017, 12:33 AM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,689 posts, read 4,311,209 times
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Coloradans are witnessing climate changes in various forms.

Snowpack is melting sooner and more quickly. Erratic weather — snow one day, spring conditions the next — is becoming more common. Wildfires are burning more acreage and igniting with greater frequency. The state’s average temperature has risen by two degrees Fahrenheit in the past 30 years, an increase that ranks Colorado as the 20th fastest-warming state since 1970.


The above quote is from the Report on Colorado’s Climate and Colorado’s Health that was released by the Colorado Health Institute in July of this year (2017). The American West is especially vulnerable to climate change. The region of the country beyond the 100th meridian – which includes Colorado - is arid and prone to drought. Both the natural terrain and the natural climate are unforgiving. The lack of water makes our forests and our wildlife especially vulnerable to both warming trends and extended periods of drought.

Two degrees Fahrenheit may not sound like much, but the impact of this on our state is more than a little scary. I have lived in Colorado since I was 4 years old – 60 years. I can never remember not being endlessly spellbound with my environment. Nature and the out-of-doors fascinated me from the moment my Dad pointed out Pikes Peak to me after our long drive across the country from Kentucky. In high school, I couldn’t wait to get to Boulder and begin my studies in ecology and climatology. I combined my love of nature with my love of books and got a degree in Library Science from the University of Denver, as well. The Colorado Mountains have been my beloved home always.

I am starting this thread to share what is happening to our state as the planet’s climate warms and biologists tell us that we are experiencing the 6th massive extinction event of all times.

I have watched our forests grow brown and begin massive die-offs due to a massive influx of insects – a species of insect for each species of tree. In Colorado Springs the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon have each been swept by forest fire – unthinkable when I was growing up. In 2013 the area from Estes Park to Lyons and Longmont suffered from the raging waters of a so-called thousand year flood. People who have been around this forum for a while may remember our friend, Idunn. She was living outside Estes Park at the time and ended up being airlifted out by helicopter. With the loss of her home, she drifted around the state for a while and then abruptly vanished off the radar. I hope she has found a new home and is well and happy. I worry about her sometimes though. She was always deeply interested in the subject of climate change. So, Idunn, wherever you are – this thread is for you.

This is a thread for those who wish to share their own observations and the changes they have experienced in recent years here in Colorado. A friendly suggestion – if you don’t “believe” in climate change, you’ll probably be happier posting on the Religion forum. If you think science is actually politics, you’ll have a blast on CD’s nutty politics forum. This thread is for Coloradans who wish to discuss what is going on with our home.

Shall we begin?
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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I've now lived in Colorado Springs for 40 years.

One change that I've noticed is that Aspen trees can no longer survive at this altitude.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:28 AM
 
557 posts, read 276,082 times
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Aspen trees have NEVER been able to do well at 6,000ft. People plant them since they grow fast but as a soft wood they are weak and do not live long- you will have a yard full of roots after a few years too.

Aspens need to be above 8,000 feet or so to actually thrive so do yourselves a favor and find a slow-growth hard wood tree and it will last a lifetime.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,306 posts, read 1,770,224 times
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I think the biggest problem is we aren't properly compensated for all the water we send to California. I say we demand a fair compensation package say 5 billion per year or we shut off the water to them.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Western Colorado
11,021 posts, read 12,358,036 times
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It's climate, it changes.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:15 AM
 
1,552 posts, read 2,807,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vision67 View Post
I've now lived in Colorado Springs for 40 years.
One change that I've noticed is that Aspen trees can no longer survive at this altitude.
The earth is 4 billion years old. A 40 year (very thin) slice isn't statistically significant.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:45 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,457 posts, read 17,579,211 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryK123 View Post
The earth is 4 billion years old. A 40 year (very thin) slice isn't statistically significant.
True, but what may be an imperceptibly small climactic change on a geologic scale can have a radical impact on human lives and economies if the change, however small, occurs within a lifetime.

I know the sons of farmers who dry-farmed beans and onions on hundreds of acres of land as their fathers did for 4 centuries. Pictures from the 70s and 80s show bountiful harvests on farms surrounded by lush grasslands. Now those areas are literally dust punctuated by the odd yucca or cholla.

In the mountains I can see from my house, vast swaths of forest consisting of multi-century old ponderosa and firs have died over the course of the last decade due to drought.

Now maybe the region will bounce back to "normal" as fast as it dried up, but we don't know for sure.

Of course the Earth will survive and life and ecology will outlast the human race, albeit changed. But people are rightfully concerned about the impact of rapid climate change (whatever its cause) on their lives and their children's lives
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:12 AM
 
5,278 posts, read 2,723,988 times
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One of the things I noticed became clear after comparing the 1990 Peterson bird guide to the 2010 edition. I literally compared page by page.

Of the substantive changes (i.e., not formatting), a shift in range had occurred in some species. In every case, that shift moved towards the cooler end of their range.

Specific to CO, at the foothills house we lived in for 15 years, the following changes were noticeable:

- The silver Kaibab and the black Abert's squirrels that we had seen in the first few years vanished, with only red squirrels remaining. The tufties live in Ponderosa pine habitat.
- The huge herds of elk that used to hang out nearby...gone also.
- We used to see bats flying around in the evenings...gone also.
- The first couple of typical summers were followed by a long, droughty break (years long) from afternoon thunderstorms.
- Spring and fall shortened so much that it felt like we swung between winter and summer, with little or no transition.

I probably forgot to list other changes we observed over just those years. If any more come to mind, I will add another post.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:12 AM
 
20,811 posts, read 38,977,896 times
Reputation: 18991
Rambler, great post, right on the mark.

We've probably mentioned the 100th Meridian hundreds of times, so here's a graphic to show what it means.


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Old 09-22-2017, 01:44 PM
 
5,308 posts, read 7,140,000 times
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Some of these are climate related, but they're all habitat related - we're destroying habitat quickly both due to climate changes but also due to population changes. We're taking space away daily in sometimes vast amounts for these species to thrive to build houses and strip malls.

I study birds and we're seeing some climate related changes for birds like species that usually are south of here moving into our state, but largely it is destruction of habitat that is exacerbated by climate by largely driven by man destroying the habitat in terms of plant diversity, etc. For example, grassland breeding birds are really suffering because of weed killers, invasive species of grass, grass not being the right height due to man's activities, etc. We're about to wipe out some butterfly populations due to our use of RoundUp and similar chemicals extensively.

I think many also just do not realize that we are on path to change climate significantly - the changes we're heading toward are nothing like the natural processes of warming that have happened historically - they're much faster and more extreme, giving life of all kinds a much greater difficulty in adapting. A good graphic to show that is here: https://xkcd.com/1732/

Also - here is a good short explanation of how we know global warming is really happening and that it is caused by our activities and not just 'natural': https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4549

Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
One of the things I noticed became clear after comparing the 1990 Peterson bird guide to the 2010 edition. I literally compared page by page.

Of the substantive changes (i.e., not formatting), a shift in range had occurred in some species. In every case, that shift moved towards the cooler end of their range.

Specific to CO, at the foothills house we lived in for 15 years, the following changes were noticeable:

- The silver Kaibab and the black Abert's squirrels that we had seen in the first few years vanished, with only red squirrels remaining. The tufties live in Ponderosa pine habitat.
- The huge herds of elk that used to hang out nearby...gone also.
- We used to see bats flying around in the evenings...gone also.
- The first couple of typical summers were followed by a long, droughty break (years long) from afternoon thunderstorms.
- Spring and fall shortened so much that it felt like we swung between winter and summer, with little or no transition.

I probably forgot to list other changes we observed over just those years. If any more come to mind, I will add another post.
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