Dust Storms Cause Premature Snow Melt in Colorado

This May 24 report from the  Los Angeles Times is must read material for anyone looking at the relationship between the desiccation of the western deserts of California, Utah and Arizona by climate change and ground water pumping, the tearing up of fragile dry land by off road vehicles, and the effect of the subsequent dust storms on Rocky Mountain glaciers. These glaciers are crucial to the Western water supply.

From the story: 

  • Twelve dust storms barreled into the southern Rockies from the deserts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico so far this year. In contrast, four storms hit the mountains all year long in 2003. 
  • The storms leave a dark film on snow that melts it faster by hastening its absorption of the sun’s energy. That, coupled with unseasonably warm temperatures, has sped up the runoff here, swelling rivers to near flood stage, threatening to make reservoirs overflow and

Why the West Hates Southern California

THE FIRST thing one learns when leaving Los Angeles and California to travel Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona is that the rest of the West hates Californians.

The reason can be summed up in one word: Water.

Legal division of Western water more or less started with the Gold Rush and the first come, first serve law pertaining to gold came to apply to water, no matter how crazy the allocations became as the West was settled.  

California was greedy early and has proved positively Roman in its ability to build aqueducts and storage reservoirs. Well endowed with water, it has proved unsurpassed at wasting it, even as the rest of the West shriveled in drought, and even as in the past decade the crisis has reached all three of Southern California’s water sources in the Sacramento Delta, Owens Valley and the Colorado River.

To sum up