Boulder trying to plan for global warming
BOULDER- Boulder city planners, trying to anticipate the impact of global warming, want to plan for a drier future.Like most Colorado cities Boulder depends on snowmelt, and for it come to come on schedule, for much of its water supply.The Camera reports Boulder may well be the first city anywhere that has tried to model the potential effects of global warming on a scale small enough to predict how its water supply will be altered by warming temperatures and changing precipitation patterns.A recently completed study indicates Boulder probably has enough flexibility to meet future water needs, except under the most disastrous scenarios.”Boulder is really ahead of the game in looking at this seriously,” said Lee Rozaklis, who has been helping the city model its water supply since the mid-1980s. “From my perspective, the city has been on top of it early and often, and we’ve got as good a picture as we can have.”Planners accept the claims of most scientists that greenhouse gases will cause Colorado to heat up. Scientists remain split on whether the state will see less and snow, or more.”Warming, and changes in the form, timing and amount of precipitation, will very likely lead to earlier melting and significant reductions in snowpack in the western mountains by the middle of the 21st century,” reads a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, worked on by hundreds of scientists and released earlier this year.Colorado needs snow as well as rain, because the snow will remain frozen in the mountains until late spring or early summer and then melt and deliver its bounty to lower elevations. to flow down to Boulder.”Snow in the winter in the West goes directly into runoff,” Kenneth Strzepek, a civil engineering professor at the University of Colorado, told the city’s Water Resources Advisory Board earlier this month. “Precipitation in the summer might evaporate right back into the sky. It’s basically futile to have rain in the summer.”The city doesn’t have enough manmade reservoirs to store the water until it’s needed even if it came in the form of rain.”The snowpack is our major reservoir, and we don’t have artificial reservoirs sufficient in size to manage it in the way that nature manages it for us,” said Kathleen Miller, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and author of the book “Climate Change and Water Resources: A Primer for Municipal Water Providers.”
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