Sunday, September 30, 2012

Climate Change's broader effects cause more worry

I would like to offer some more background supporting my claim that VWC-DEIS authors - and in fact, Mr. McCombs and his developer Clint Jones - need to start paying attention to the complex realities that climate disruption will be forcing on us.  

Whether you want to admit it, or deny it, we are entering a brave new world where global warming driven changes are going to overwhelm those who choose to continue ignoring it!

Destroying the integrity of the Albert Park Watershed for an unfeasible speculative scheme is not in the best interests of anyone.  

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Colorado ski resorts learn painful lessons in dry season 
By Jason Blevins ~ 4/6/12 ~ The Denver Post
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Low tide can be painful. And the 2011-12 ski season — one of the three worst ever in terms of snowfall in most every U.S. resort region — is spreading the sting from coast to coast.
"This year certainly puts the perspective back on how much we really do rely on snow," said Ethan Mueller , general manager of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which expects to see visits fall 10 percent. "Maybe the industry can trump the economy, but snow is king."
"It's just one year," said Al White , director of the Colorado Tourism Office... "Not much we can do about weather."
Not every ski area lost visitors and money in 2011-12. The few resorts that harvested even average snow this year fared well.
Further south, where La NiƱa delivered some of Colorado's healthiest storms, Wolf Creek is expecting to be up 17 percent. Silverton Mountain will be up and Durango Mountain Resort is expecting visits to climb also.
"One thing I've learned in my time in this business," said Davey Pitcher, the 50-year-old owner of Wolf Creek whose family has run ski areas since he was an infant. "Every year you have a really bad year, you are one year closer to a record season. And every record season means you're one year closer to a bad one."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Next, excerpts from a recent article at that highlights the complexity of the challenges which Davey Pritcher (operator of the Wolf Creek Ski Area; another vested interest in this Village at Wolf Creek - Alberta Park land swap deal) overlooks.  

Mr. Pritcher's remark exemplifies the tendency of all parties in this land swap proposal to focus on history while willfully ignoring what scientists know is heading our way during these next decades; not off in some unknowable future, as the VWC-DEIS portrays.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Warm weather, dearth of snow leave ski resorts scrambling to keep terrain, chairlifts open 
Johnny Aspen: 'The warmest summer I ever spent was this winter in Aspen'By Troy HooperReal Aspen – March 30, 2012

{...}This year's snow-starved winter in Colorado was preceded by one of the better ski seasons on record. Last year's massive snowpack allowed skiers in Aspen to schuss all the way into June, even as downstream communities... braced for flooding.  
Climatologists say wild swings in weather are to be expected as the earth warms. Floods, fires, hurricanes, droughts and snow dumps are indicators of this brave, new world of climate disruption.   
What it means...  is there could be more winters like this one. But there could also be epic winters like last year, too. Climate change's broader effects cause more worry. {...}
“Killington's base lodge was destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Irene,” Schendler said. “The roads in Vermont were flooded away. Wait a minute — nobody said climate change would physically destroy ski resorts! We were worried about snow going away! {...}
{...} In fact, the concern for the industry is deeper than that. What if, as a result of fires and floods, storms and droughts, we become a kind of survival society — where we are always responding to disaster, fixing bridges and roads, sumping the basement — and as a result we don't have the time, or the money, to go ski. 
Changing temperatures don't just affect ski resorts in the winter. The forests that engulf them in the summers have been ravaged by  bark beetles that thrive in warmer environs. The insects are sucking the life out of forests, leaving them more vulnerable to wildfires and changing them from green to brown. Foresters are having to devote more resources to  combat climate change. {...} [link to the full 1300 word story here]
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
And finally, here is another study that deals with the Aspen Mountain, which admittedly is in a different position than Wolf Creek regarding weather and snow storm patterns.  Still it shows that we are entering a period of a radically changing world.  

Also regarding Mr. Pritcher's easy assurance that one dry year is followed by a wet one, keep in mind too much snow can create as many problems as too little snow - and that radical fluctuations are to be expected and difficult to deal with.  Particularly for a luxury residential village at an elevation of 10,500. 
Climate change in western ski areas: Potential changes in the timing of wet avalanches and snow quality for the Aspen ski area in the years 2030 and 2100
Brian Lazar a,, Mark Williams b

a Stratus Consulting Inc., Boulder, Colorado and American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education, Gunnison, Colorado, USA
b Department of Geography and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA Received 28 September 2006; accepted 30 March 2007 

We evaluated how climate change resulting from increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions may affect the timing of wet avalanches and snow quality at Aspen Mountain in the years 2030 and 2100. {...}
We defined wet avalanches as likely to occur when average daily temperature exceeds 0 °C and investigated three scenarios: first day when daily average temperature exceeds 0 °C, first three consecutive day period when average temperature exceeds 0 °C, and the day after which average temperature remains greater than 0 °C. By 2030 at the top of Aspen Mountain, wet avalanches are likely to occur between 2 and 19 days earlier than historical averages, with little difference across the GCMs. In 2100, the occurrence of wet avalanches at the top of the mountain varies strongly by CO2 emissions scenario. The low and mid-range emissions scenarios show that wet avalanches at the top of the mountain start 16 to 27 days earlier than historical averages. In contrast, the high emissions scenario shows wet avalanches occurring 41 to 45 days earlier. In spite of earlier melt initiation and the reduction in snowpack, snow density in the top 10 cm increased by less than 20% by 2030. 
© 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. 

Keep in mind, our climate is on track for the high emission scenario.

No comments:

Post a Comment