Chinook Day

Sometimes on Chinook days, we get very clear air with bright sunshine on the peaks and clouds over the foothills. Today was one of those days. This is looking up at the Arapahoe Glacier.

This glacier, like most of the glaciers in the world, was melting rapidly during NASA’s coldest year on record.

13 Oct 1910, Page 7 – Aberdeen Herald

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8 Responses to Chinook Day

  1. Steve Case says:

    When I was a kid we visited Rocky Mountain National Park just about every other year. One of the stops was the Moraine museum. I remember their 16mm presentation on the formation of the moraine and the role of the glaciers. There was an animated segment showing the recession of the glaciers back into the Front Range and the comment that they continue to recede to this day.

    • GeologyJim says:

      Yet today, Rocky Moountain National Park website does not even mention glaciers (hmmmmm . . . that’s odd, given that glaciers created the scenic landscape of the park.)

      What you get is this boiler-plate:

      “Climate change will be a major factor in the future of the
      park’s natural resources. Since 1900, the park has experienced
      a statistically and biologically significant increase in temperature
      (fig. 1) but no significant change in precipitation (Gonzalez

      Figure 1. Average annual mean temperature, 5-year rolling average, and
      trend in Rocky Mountain National Park, 1895-2013. Based on 800-m
      scale PRISM data from within the park. (PRISM Climate Group, Oregon
      State University,, created Oct. 2014.)”

      NOTE: PRISM “data” is modeling output, not measurements

      “Many physical and ecological changes detected in the western
      U.S. during the second half of the 20th century have been
      attributed to climate change. The physical changes include
      higher winter temperatures (Bonfils et al. 2008), decreased
      snowpack (Barnett et al. 2008), decreased ratio of snow to
      rain (Pierce et al. 2008), and earlier spring warmth (Ault et
      al. 2011) and streamflow (Barnett et al. 2008). The ecological
      changes include a poleward shift in the winter ranges
      of numerous bird species (La Sorte and Thompson 2007),
      increased conifer tree background mortality (van Mantgem et
      al. 2009), and increased wildfire (Westerling et al. 2006) and
      beetle outbreaks (Raffa et al. 2008).”

      NOTE absence of any real data or uncertainties, and no mention of time periods over which these “changes” were documented, except the nebulous “second half of the 20th century”

  2. Colorado Wellington says:

    It was a clear and sunny day, the winds pounding Eldora but much calmer in the foothills.

    The President nominated Boulder’s own Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, an originalist with a sunny demeanor and clarity about the reading of the Constitution.

    Not bad. Not bad at all.

  3. The chinook winds that roared through Boulder at 130 mph in 1981-2 put the fear into me. To this day I am unclear on how these “snow-eater” winds develop that much power. (Density difference and gravitational potential energy?)
    Retreating glaciers are easy to assert but more difficult to verify. The ones nearest me are inconveniently located, and I have not found Google Earth image GIFs gleefully depicting their retreat.

  4. Andy DC says:

    We get an eastern version of downnsloping chinook winds in Maryland. Not as impressive, but can make a ten degrees difference in temperature.

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