Coyote Gulch


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  Wednesday, April 25, 2007

China to Force Rain Ahead of Olympics
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Live Science: "Chance of showers during the 2008 Beijing Olympics: 50 percent. But Chinese meteorologists have a plan to bring sunshine. The meteorologists say they can force rain in the days before the Olympics, through a process known as cloud-seeding, to clean the air and ensure clear skies. China has been tinkering with artificial rainmaking for decades, but whether it works is a matter of debate among scientists. Weather patterns for the past 30 years indicate there is a 50 percent chance of rain for both the opening ceremony on Aug. 8, 2008 and the closing ceremony two weeks later, said Wang Yubin, an engineer with the Beijing Meteorological Bureau.

"The forced rain could also help clean Beijing's polluted air, said Wang Jianjie, another meteorologist with the bureau. 'When conditions permit, we will artificially increase rainfall,' she said. 'Rainfall is a way to naturally clean the air.' In 2003, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences questioned the science behind cloud-seeding as 'too weak.'' But China frequently uses artificial rainmaking in the drought-plagued north. Last May, Beijing boasted having generated rainfall to clear the air and streets following the worst dust storm in a decade."

"colorado water"
7:19:21 PM     

Gay rights

Boston Globe: "After more than a decade of government inaction, gay-rights proponents in Congress have gotten several major bills moving through the Democratic-controlled chambers, a development that could result in the greatest expansion of federal protections for gays and lesbians in US history."

Thanks to Colorado Confidential for the link.

"2008 pres"
7:09:41 PM     


Blogs for Bush: "I read in the news that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has issued a subpoena for Secretary of State Rice to come testify about pre-liberation intelligence on Iraq. At issue, according to the linked news report, is the accusation that Saddam sought uranium in Africa - which claim al-Reuters (the linked news agency) falsely states has been debunked."

"2008 pres"
6:58:05 PM     

? for President?

Political Wire: "Sen. Barack Obama "is closing the gap in the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination, trailing Sen. Hillary Clinton just 36% to 31%," according to a new Wall Srreet Journal/NBC poll. "Last month, Obama lagged 12 percentage points behind Clinton. Support for John Edwards rose to 20% from 15%.

"'The backdrop for those findings, fueling Democratic hopes for recapturing the White House next year, remains deep discontent with President Bush and the Iraq war. The poll results show Americans side with congressional Democrats on Iraq by a lopsided 56% to 37%.'

"In the Republican race, Rudy Giuliani leads Sen. John McCain 33% to 22%, with Fred Thompson at 17% and Mitt Romney at 12%."

Political Wire: "On the eve of first Democratic presidential debate, a new Garin-Hart-Yang (D) poll finds Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) leading among Democratic primary voters in South Carolina, with 31%, followed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) with 28% and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) with 21%. Key finding: Clinton leads among black voters with 40%, followed by Obama with 35% and Edwards with 9%. Meanwhile, a Hamilton Beattie poll shows Clinton leading with 31%, followed by Obama at 27% and Edwards at 16%."

Tomorrow is the first Democratic debate of the presidential race.

"2008 pres"
6:52:51 PM     

Operations Meeting for the Aspinall Unit
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For all of you that want to drive to Grand Junction tomorrow...

From email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Dan Crabtree), "The Operations Meeting for the Aspinall Unit will be held Thursday April 26th from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. in Reclamation's Grand Junction Office. For those interested in looking at the operation slides/handout prior to the meeting, they can be found through the following link:

"Please call Dan Crabtree at 970-248-0652 with questions."

"colorado water"
6:28:14 PM     

? for president?

Andrew Sullivan: "I think Giuliani will run as the Jack Bauer candidate. It's in his DNA. There isn't a civil liberty he wouldn't suspend if he felt it was necessary for 'security.' And there isn't a dissenter he wouldn't bully or silence in the interests of national security. There is a constituency for this - a big one. It has been primed by pop-culture to embrace torture and the suspension of habeas corpus. It is a constituency with scant respect for any civil liberties when a war on terror is being waged. If that's the path Giuliani wants us to take, we have to be very clear about what it means. We have to ask ourselves: after the next terror attack, what powers would a president Giuliani assume? And what would be left of the constitution after four years of the same? Give Rudy the office that Cheney has created - and America, already deeply altered, will become a new political entity altogether."

"2008 pres"
12:51:57 PM     

HB 1341
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According to the Denver Post the reorg of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission is a step closer now that the state senate has passed HB 07-1341 [pdf], Concerning the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, and, In Connection Therewith, Directing the Commission to Foster Oil and Gas Development Consistent with the Protection of the Environment, Wildlife Resources, and Public Health, Safety, and Welfare. From the article, "The Senate on Tuesday endorsed Gov. Bill Ritter's plan to overhaul the state's oil and gas regulatory process, although Republicans cautioned they will be watching the new panel closely...

"On a voice vote with no opposition, the Senate initially approved House Bill 1341, which will expand and change the makeup of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to include environmental, wildlife, public health and landowner representatives. Currently, the seven-member panel is dominated by oil and gas representatives, which critics say amounts to the industry regulating itself. The bill will reduce from five to three the number of industry voices while expanding the commission to nine members. The oil and gas industry has reluctantly signed on to the bill, though it remains concerned that the drilling permitting process could become hampered by politics."

"colorado water"
7:10:33 AM     

Water outlook for Longmont and Aurora
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Longmont residents will not face watering restrictions this summer, according to the Longmont Daily Times-Call. From the article, "City residents this summer will likely face only voluntary water conservation measures because Longmont has so much water stored in reservoirs. In fact, based on current predictions, Longmont will have 161 percent of the water it needs for the year, city water officials say. That's the norm for Longmont, which historically has had far more water than its residents needed...

"While she didn't mention specifics, [Mayor Julia Pirnack] comments in part reflected the city's plans to expand Union Reservoir to provide additional water storage. The reservoir, east of County Line Road, was originally a buffalo wallow but has been expanded over the years as a reservoir, first for farmers and now for the city. Longmont water experts are now planning to expand the reservoir's shoreline by 13 feet, permitting it to store an extra 11,420 acre-feet, at a cost of about $28.6 million, according to city water resources administrator Ken Huson. This year, the city's total water supply is expected to be 31,222 acre-feet...

"Longmont has long sold excess water to farmers each summer. Huson said the city this year stands to earn about $300,00 from 'renting' those water rights to farmers. The city is allowed to carry over only about 20 percent of the water it gets annually from the Colorado-Big Thompson water project, which means it makes more sense for the city to sell the unused water to someone who needs it, Huson said. Longmont gets about 63 percent of its water from the St. Vrain watershed, collecting and storing much of it in Ralph Price Reservoir, which is behind the Button Rock Dam west of Lyons. About 36 percent of the city's water comes from west of the Continental Divide, as part of the C-BT water-diversion project."

Meanwhile Aurora has sensibly returned to mandatory watering restrictions again in 2007, according to the Rocky Mountain News. From the article, "Aurora residents can't water their lawn more than three days a week under standard summertime restrictions adopted Monday by the Aurora City Council. Beginning May 1, residents with even-numbered addresses can water Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. As part of the restrictions, residents cannot water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when evaporation rates are highest...

"At 67 percent of their combined capacity, the city's reservoirs are in better shape than in recent years, but officials say they don't want residents to backslide on their water-conserving habits."

"colorado water"
6:58:00 AM     

Jefferson County groundwater district?
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From today's Rocky Mountain News, "Some mountain homeowners along the Front Range could be left high and dry if counties don't protect existing wells from rapid growth, experts say. 'It comes down to how many straws you have in the ground,' said Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute at Colorado State University...

"... most mountain residents along the Front Range's western edge depend on water from wells. Those household wells tap into unpredictable pockets of water trapped in random rock fractures at depths of 30 to 1,200 feet. So, drilling a well doesn't guarantee finding enough water to supply a household. Drought, the lot's size, the proximity of other wells, runoff and other factors determine whether the water drawn from the well is replaced by snow and rain.

"Since 2003, Jefferson County has considered rules to protect residents' wells from new development. In many public meetings on possible rules, developers and builders opposed some proposals as too costly for results that have no guarantees. At the same meetings, homeowners railed about failing wells. As new homes are built, the search for a solution gains momentum."

"A recent set of proposed rules would have required a developer - or a family building a dream home - to drill a well and monitor the flows to prove that there is an adequate water supply before getting a building permit. A new water well costs from $12 to $30 per foot to drill. That rule is reasonable, said Robert Longenbaugh, a retired assistant state engineer who has reviewed several sets of Jefferson County's proposed rules. The recent proposal also required a hydrogeologic study in the area of new home sites that would consider precipitation, runoff, steepness, vegetation and other factors that put the test results in context. That's also reasonable, said Longenbaugh. However, the county planning commission - made up of volunteers appointed by the county commissioners - rejected that requirement...

"Longenbaugh and others say that dry wells are one of the risks of mountain living and the county should stay out of it. However, he said real estate agents and developers who sell mountain homes should be required to distribute a simple explanation of the risks to prospective buyers. The Colorado Legislature tried in 2005 to protect the wells of mountain homeowners. Opponents succeeded in replacing the proposed law with a resolution asking local governments to consider the impact of new wells when approving development. Ron Lewis, who has built several subdivisions in western Jefferson County, said that as well depths drop lower, communities should develop other water sources - including reservoirs and pipeline systems."

Meanwhile the Colorado Supreme Court is going to rule on new wells for the Bear Mountain development, according to the Rocky Mountain News. From the article, "Bear Mountain Vista homeowners are well aware why Jefferson County is weighing ways to govern new wells in mountain subdivisions. The 1,000-acre subdivision south of Evergreen features broad meadows, mountain views, a wealth of wildlife and several hundred homes with individual wells. It also features growing concern over shrinking water supplies. Developer Ron Lewis had asked the state water court for permission to drill nine new wells on less than 35 acres within Bear Mountain Vista. But adjacent -homeowners concerned about their own wells objected. The case is pending before the Colorado Supreme Court...

"Lewis, who for 50 years has developed mountain subdivisions that rely on groundwater, appealed to the state's high court. 'Not all of the wells up there declined. In some wells, the water levels rose,' he said. Nevertheless, Water Court Judge Jonathan Hayes denied Lewis well permits for his Cragmont subdivision, too, which now relies on water trucked from Bailey to a central cistern. Lewis also is fighting the county's proposed new well regulations...

"Today, the most productive wells in Lewis' subdivisions are 1,000 feet deep or more - made possible in part due to new drilling technology."

"colorado water"
6:35:07 AM     

Changes in clouds can affect Polar climate, says study
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Weather scientists are trying to learn as much about clouds as possible. Clouds are one key to better forecasts. Here's an article on a Canadian project that uses the Cloudsat and Calipso satellites (launched a year ago) from Daily India. From the article, "Researchers say clouds and their traits - their temperature, depth, size and shape of their droplets - play a significant role in how much of the sun's radiation reaches Earth's surface and what amount of heat energy Earth reflects back into the atmosphere, which in turn, affects climatic changes around the poles. As part of a study, NASA had, in 2006, simultaneously launched a pair of satellites, CloudSat and the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), which together use state-of-the-art instruments as they orbit the globe to reveal detailed information about clouds and their effect on climate. The team of researchers from NASA, the Meteorological Service of Canada in Toronto; Colorado State University, Fort Collins; and the Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, employed ground-based sensors in remote areas of Canada and sensors aboard aircraft that flew over the region this winter to confirm information CloudSat and CALIPSO provided...

"The aircraft flew beneath CloudSat and CALIPSO 21 times during the experiment, which took place between Oct. 31, 2006, and March 1, 2007. To their surprise, the team found that extremely high ice water content in snowstorms generated by the open waters of the Great Lakes, much higher than expected as snowstorm cloud systems, were typically very shallow without ample depth to contain much ice and water content. Also, embedded layers of significant amounts of liquid water were frequently found in very cold multi-layer cloud systems - systems that were known prior to have temperatures high enough to freeze cloud water, resulting mostly in clouds laced with ice. Researchers consistently found liquid water in these clouds, which posed a new challenge to their assumptions and to models of these types of clouds...

"'What's unique about this field experiment is that we're the only research group doing winter cloud validation. Others have focused solely on confirming satellite data from warm-season clouds. Cold-season clouds have completely different traits, and it's those specific properties that contribute to some of the changes we see in climate in the Arctic and Antarctic,' said David Hudak, a research scientist at the Meteorological Service of Canada, and the principal investigator of the field experiment."

"colorado water"
6:26:47 AM     

A beautiful rain
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The South Platte River and it's tributaries, through Denver, were roiling last evening. The water rose over the normal banks and was in the trees and shrubs alongside the river in places. Roads were under water in places up north near the the Metro treatment plant. The irrigation ditch east of the South Platte was also running full. We hope that the irrigation companies will be able to capture much of the surge flowing down the river. Up in north Denver we received at least 2" of rainfall with the beautiful storm that hit yesterday. Things will green up nicely come the weekend.

"colorado water"
6:13:12 AM     

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