This winter in Colorado, we're not just getting record-breaking warm days. We're getting record-breaking weeks.
According to an analysis from the Colorado state climatologist's office, a two-week period from late January to early February has smashed through many long-term records.
Daily temperature records get broken all the time, but a longer period of record-breaking warmth is more unprecedented. Four Colorado towns with long-term weather stations – Akron, Dillon, Fort Collins, and Steamboat Springs – have experienced their warmest two-week period on record for the period from Jan. 25 through Feb. 8.
Fort Collins temperature records go back 127 years. For Denver, whose temperature records go back 144 years, the average temperatures for those two weeks are the fourth warmest on record.
Two studies led by researchers at Colorado State University found that emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – vary widely, and that leaks from just a few sources dominate the overall amount of emissions.
In one study, the scientists measured methane emissions from natural gas gathering and processing facilities. They looked at 114 gathering and 16 processing facilities, and found 30 percent of the facilities were responsible for 80 percent of the leaks.
The other study analyzed emissions from compressor stations, and found a similar pattern.
Coloradoans pride themselves on the quality of their drinking water, most of which originates high up in the Rocky Mountains. On the Eastern Plains though, many communities have water that not only tastes bad, it's out of compliance with federal drinking water standards.
At the J and L Cafe in downtown Sterling you'll find diners sipping glasses of tap water as they enjoy lunch. Just a year ago, that wasn't the case.
"You couldn't hardly drink it," said diner Kathy Orchid, she never used to drink the tap water. "It's much better [now]."
Crops in the Midwest take in and give off so much carbon that the impact can be seen across the northern hemisphere.
Credit Courtesy USDA NRCS South Dakota
Scientists have noticed a change in the atmosphere. Plants are taking in more carbon dioxide during the growing season and giving off more carbon in the fall and winter. Recent research shows the massive corn crop in the Corn Belt may be contributing to that deeper breath.
It comes down to the Carbon Cycle. Over the winter when corn fields lay dormant, corn stalks and roots break down, sending CO2 into the air. Then in the summer when a new crop is growing, it takes up carbon from the atmosphere.