Does CO2 Affect Environmentalist’s Brains?


For the contiguous United States, the first nine months of 2012 were the warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As of October 2, 64 percent of the United States was in the middle of a drought. Wyoming and Colorado experienced the warmest summer on record, while Wyoming and Nevada saw the driest summer on record. In western and central regions of the country, wildfires burned a record-breaking 3.6 million acres in August.

In other words, it was a cruel summer. It stressed wildlife and depleted water reserves, but it also made life difficult for river runners in the Mountain West, whose business success is dictated largely by the health of the rivers they run. This followed very big water during the summer of 2011, thanks to major snowfall during the 2010-2011 season.

“We’re usually kayaking in March, April, May, and usually into June,” said Peter Van De Carr, who operates Backdoor Sports in Steamboat Springs and runs the Yampa River. “But last summer, we were done [kayaking] at the end of March. “As of June 20, the river was 40 cubic feet per second and going down. A year before, June 20, 2011, it was 4,000cfs and going up.”

“Some would say it’s not climate change, but climate strange, with one of the wettest years on record followed by one of the driest,” said Soren Jespersen, northwest Colorado wildlands coordinator for the Wilderness Society. “I think all the businesses that depend somewhat on consistent weather patterns are having a hard time adjusting to these shifts, whether it be ski resorts or river guides.”

River Runners: The Latest Victims of Climate Change | Science |

Any business person who has such a poor understanding of the fundamentals of their own business, deserves to go under.

Snowfall is extremely variable from year to year. At Crested Butte, Colorado the standard deviation is 67 inches. Snow peaked there in 1978, one year after the second driest winter on record.


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4 Responses to Does CO2 Affect Environmentalist’s Brains?

  1. gator69 says:

    And how many centuries have we been kayaking on these rivers?

    • Trip says:

      Just up the road from me is an ancient excavation site they say is a grain mill from at least 13,000 years ago. So 130 centuries of ag, granary works and more than likely, water sports.

  2. Pathway says:

    If the drought was so sever in Colorado, why are the bears in such good condition. In the 2002 drought the bears came to town to find food. This year they are exceptionally fat because of a good acorn crop.

  3. Trip says:

    Out here in Junction, Summer 2011 was one of the wettest and wildest rain seasons I’ve seen. Flood of epic proportions overtopped and pierced one of our major canals. Pretty good depth and force of water draining from the Bookcliffs south to The Colorado. From rainfall. Then followed by a very dry winter, spring and summer. What some people are calling a drought, but from one who works daily with water in a totally irrigated landscape, we hardly noticed. This all fits the pattern (weather-wise and human-behavior-wise) that Joe B has predicted to a T.

    So I couch this as among the many observations that grace these pages. The old timers say this pattern presages severe and punishing cold. I hope that isn’t the case, but in the same breath I offer prayers for folks out on the Front Range of our beautiful Red Color state. We’re shielded here because the water’s never taken away from us. You folks out to the east: please, take control of your water — it’s YOUR water — while you can.

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