Climate Change

Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up. That's what happened to Pam Vieira, who lives south of Modesto, Calif. Her water well has slowed to a trickle, and you can see the sand in the tank of her toilet.

"Sometimes we have brown water," Vieira says. "Sometimes we have no water."

Vieira is one of as many as 2 million rural California residents who rely on private domestic wells for drinking water.

Some of those people are among the hardest hit by the state's severe drought, as wells across the state's Central Valley farm belt start to go dry.

It's not everyday that a world famous climate scientist gets himself arrested in front of the White House. But that's exactly what happened to James Hansen in 2011 as part of a protest against the Keystone Pipeline.

In the 1980s it was Hansen's highly respected work that helped people realize that the climate change we humans were driving was real — and really dangerous.

Nowadays, when there's a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work? It's a question scientists have struggled with for years. And now there's a new field of research that's providing some answers. It's called "attribution science" — a set of principles that allow scientists to determine when it's a change in climate that's altering weather events ... and when it isn't.

People in Maryland love their Baltimore orioles — so much so that their Major League Baseball team bears the name of the migrating bird. Yet, by 2080, there may not be any orioles left in Maryland. They migrate each year and, according to a new report, could soon be forced to nest well north of the Mid-Atlantic state.

The northern arm of the Rocky Mountains is sometimes called "the crown of the continent," and its jewels are glaciers and snowfields that irrigate large parts of North America during spring thaw.

But the region is getting warmer, even faster than the rest of the world. Scientists now say warming is scrambling the complex relationship between water and nature and could threaten some species with extinction as well as bring hardship to ranchers and farmers already suffering from prolonged drought.

pika
Sally King / National Parks Service

The American pika is closely related to a rabbit. They are about the size of a guinea pig and are found throughout Colorado's high country and other Western States in mountainous areas.

In the early 2000's pika were being considered for the endangered species list because they are susceptible to climate change, according to wildlife officials. 

KVNF Candidate Interview: Mark Udall

Jul 2, 2014
mark udall
Laura Palmisano

Editor's Note: This story aired in July and was rebroadcast in October. 

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., campaigned in Montrose at a voter meet-and-greet Tuesday. 

Udall faces Republican challenger Cory Gardner in a hotly contested race that could decide which party controls the Senate. 

KVNF's Laura Palmisano was at the event and brings us this candidate interview. 


Laura Palmisano

 A report released Tuesday by the Obama Administration found climate change has already caused extensive changes across the United States including here in Colorado. 

KVNF Regional News: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Apr 17, 2014

  Newcast

  • Rural Coloradans may be able to testify on bills remotely
  • Some NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENTS could receive in-state tuition in Colorado
  • Seed shortage stymies hemp growers
  • Climate change affecting broad-tailed humming birds

KVNF Regional News: Friday, March 7, 2014

Mar 7, 2014

Newscast

  • Search continues for snowmobiler in Montezuma County

  • Ouray Voters Will decide three marijuana questions

  • Background information surfaces on accused murders William & Nancy Styler  

  • Climate Change Could Benefit Some Invasive Plants  

Headlines

  • Citizen Scientists Studying Air Pollution in the Valley
  • Finalized North Fork Alternative Plan Submitted to BLM
  • Colder-than-Usual Temps Could Last into Next Week
  • Extreme Dust, Global Warming could lead to Earlier Spring Thaw
  • Sounds of the High Country - Allen Best on Industrial Hemp in CO

Marci Krivonen/Aspen Public Radio

In the future, the forests surrounding Aspen will look different. Already, mountain shrubs are replacing some Aspen stands and changing the complexion of the area, likely due to due a warming climate.

Neighboring Pitkin County is now tracking these shifts on open space properties.  Two local non-profit organizations are helping. The new data is thanks to a pair of towers that’s tracking things like soil moisture and temperature.

JGColorado via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

In the wake of the historic Front Range Floods, many climate experts and researchers admit that while they’ve known of the potential for dangerous flooding in the Boulder area for some time now, hardly anybody could’ve predicted such a large-scale disaster.

We decided to look into what the floods might tell us about the future of massive storms, and whether the events of last week might change our definitions of "rare" weather events.

Patty Kaech-Feder

Though we’re barely a week into August, some signs of fall have started to appear in western Colorado.

"P Kaech" via thealmanac.org

Last week, users on the Almanac reported seeing the summer's first sunflowers. One user was surprised to see the flowers were blooming already. 

University of Maryland Biology Professor David Inouye says the early blooming season probably has to do with the warmer weather as of late. Inouye spends his summers studying flowers at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte. His current project involves looking at how the timing of flowering and abundance of flowering at changing. 

iSeeChange: The Rising Threat of Wildfires

Jun 24, 2013
USDA Forest Service

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, May 2013 was the third-warmest May on record for the planet, and the earth's temperature has been above its 20th century average for 339 straight months - more than 28 years. 

Hugh Carson has been fighting fires for more than 40 years, and although he’s retired now, he was in the thick of things last year when he coordinated aircraft to battle the High Park Fire near Fort Collins. Over the years, he’s seen some changes.

Headlines:

  • Panel looking at fines for Parachute leak
  • Plane crash at Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • DOE again extends time for uranium-lease comments
  • DMEA ballots due; race hotly contested
  • iSeeChange: Dustbowl Daze

Headlines:

  • Governor signs ASSET bill into law
  • Battlement Mesa meeting addresses Parachute Creek Leak
  • New EPA figures say emissions control has reduced the impact of natural gas industry on climate change
  • Dominguez-Escalante conservation area council needs members
  • Jim Elder announces for DMEA District 4
  • Telluride residents say no to uranium mines at BLM meeting

Headlines:

  • Mesa County Drug Bust the largest in seven years
  • Industry’s fracking database has loose reporting standards
  • Community meeting about hydrocarbon leak in Parachute set for Monday
  • Craig town council considers requiring heads of households to own guns
  • Bill to create fire-fighting air fleet for state is unfunded
  • Corporations ask feds to do more on climate change

Headlines:

  • Search For Dylan Redwine Continues
  • Hotckiss Firm Wins Beetle Kill Harvest Contract
  • iSeeChange: Weather Boosts Bumper Fruit Crop
  • Dry Weather Limits Skier Access
  • Aurora City Just Says No To Pot Prosecutions
  • Cell Tower Approved Near Norwood Schools
  • Idaho Springs Tunnels Restricted This Week

Headlines:

  • Warmer Than Normal Winter Forecast
  • Small Theaters Struggle With Digital Transition

Flicr user vastateparksstaff / Flicr: Creative Commons

It’s Halloween. Costumes are ready, the candy is bought, and houses are decked out with pumpkins and scary decorations. Some of those decorations include black cats, bats, and spider webs. In the last couple of months, residents on the Western Slope have reported to KVNF’s iSeeChange Project they’ve been seeing more spiders than usual this fall, particularly BLACK WIDOW spiders. Reporter Julia Kumari Drapkin has this story.

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