Well, that didn't take long.

Four days ago (May 9) the Mauna Loa Observatory recorded CO2 measurements topping 400ppm (parts per million) for the first time since measurements began in 1958, and likely for the first time since man has existed. In '58 the CO2 levels were just over 300ppm, and rising at about 0.7ppm/year. Today the levels are shooting up at over 2ppm/year.

Climate scientists warned for a long time that we needed to try to keep the levels from going beyond the 350ppm mark but of course were ignored and, worse, treated to scorn and "skepticism" from those representing either corporate/political interests (read Naomi Oreskes book, Merchants of Doubt) or ideological absurdities from clueless people like James Inhofe, who asserts that climate change is not possible because, “God’s still up there.”

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...you have to read this: Unexpectedly Ancient, by Chris Clarke

On a recent trip through Death Valley Laura remarked upon the vast stands of blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissimain some of the valleys and canyons. She was reminded of an article she'd read which cited studies showing that blackbrush communities can be staggeringly old, and can take many thousands of years to regenerate. She dug up that article and I've linked to it here.

It's not long, it's not arcane. Neither is it overwrought or understated. It's informative, well - and simply - written (when the information is this compelling, little embellishment is required), and there are lessons to be taken from it that reach well beyond blackbrush ecology.

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March is a great time for us: Daylight Savings Time begins, the spring equinox - when the sun is directly over the equator and day length overtakes night - occurs (this year it was on the 20th). Stuff is warming, melting, shaking, stirring, greening, flowering, and generally beginning to bust out all over. We don't stop outdoor activity when the days get shorter in the fall and winter, but it seems as if we get a bit of a jump-start when March rolls around.

(March is also time for the NCAA College Basketball tournament, which is neither here nor there except for the fact that it's the absolute, bar-none best sporting event on the face of the planet! But I digress...) 

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Those who love Yosemite National Park's wilder and quieter Tuolumne Meadows area will be interested to take a look at the Park Service's just-released Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River DEIS, a management plan and environmental impact report. It's a statement of proposed alternative approaches to use and maintenance of the Tuolumne River and surrounding areas inside of Yosemite National Park. I have only had the time so far to review part of Volume 1, including the summary and comparison of the four alternative plans (Chapter 7, page 101).

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