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Mountain News: A midnight glimpse of nirvana in Aspen



ASPEN, Colo. — In 1949, when Aspen was still a ski town emerging from the decayed shell of a mining town, a young architect arrived one cold, winter night, seeking shelter.

The Aspen Daily News explains that this traveller was named Charlie Paterson, who explains that there wasn't a room to be had in Aspen. "And we walked the streets at midnight. It was cold, we were freezing, and we didn't know what to do."

Knocking on the door of an old Victorian house, the door opened to reveal the woman. "All she had on was her long blond hair," Paterson said.

Appreciative of their predicament, said Paterson, she swung the door wider to reveal a floor covered with sleeping bodies. So, the wayward travellers pressed on, ultimately finding shelter in the unlocked Elks building.

"But I thought, 'This is a pretty good place. No locked doors, women greeting you at the front door naked,'" Paterson said.

The Daily News explains that he went on to become a storied architect, and a 2011 proclamation from the city government said his expertise has affected a quarter of all properties in the city.

The story was told as part of the new "Journeys" exhibit at the Aspen Historical Society's museum.

Anticipating impacts of a warmer planet

REVELSTOKE, B.C. — Climate models are notoriously imprecise. Wetter or drier? Atmospheric systems being so complex, even our most powerful computers can model the future with very little reliability.

Still, climatologists are confident they know the general directions as we begin to feel the effects of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere. It will get warmer, winters will get shorter, rainstorms will become more epic, and droughts will intensify.

The Revelstoke Times Review reports that a non-profit group called the Columbia Basin Trust has recently issued a document that outlines the impacts caused by climate change and the adaptations needed.

The report says that the growing season could expand by anywhere from 18 to 35 days by 2050, compared with the baseline period of 1971-2000.

Existing infrastructure, such as dams and storm-sewer systems, may not serve us well in the future.

Projections of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoria indicate springs will be warmer and wetter. But Trevor Murdock, a climate scientist at the consortium, tells the Times Review that the projections are for ranges of weather. El Niño and La Niña, for example, will continue to play a role from year to year in precipitation.

"There's a range in the projections, and it's hard to talk about," he said. "It's not uncertainty in the sense of not knowing. It's uncertainty in the sense that what we know with a good deal of certainty is the change in the 30-year average."

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