Welcome to the High Sierra Backpacker's Magazine, including forums for local and long-distance hikers sharing info about hiking the Sierra between Tahoe and Whitney.

This Magazine covers everything Sierra. Its
Forums cover TYT, PCT, & JMT and alt-route hiker input from the Guide. The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide explores the trails  & the necessary skills, fitness, and gear required to hike from Tahoe to Whitney. This evolving Magazine covers Current Conditions, News, the Arts, Sciences, Physicality, Spirituality, Gear, Environment, History, and Cultures of hiking Tahoe to Whitney. 

Purposes: Expand Knowledge, Explore Potential

for Beginners: To get you off the couch, gear you up, get you into Sierra Shape, and onto the High Sierra Trails. Find info. Ask questions, get feedback, generate self-understanding and terrain awareness. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest.

for Backpackers: Get you in deeper, longer, and higher. Train for the long trails. Find your next-steps trips. Hit the Long Trails. Hike the TYT and JMT. Find and explore side trails, alternative, and cross-country routes until you hike your skills into Winter compentency. Explore your potential.

for Experts: The information to come from anywhere in the US or world and backpack from Tahoe to Whitney. The Sierra Nevada is the ultimate wonderland for expert backpackers in top shape. But don't get cocky! The Sierra is bigger, stronger, and has been, and will be here much longer than any of us.  


Alex Wierbinski's picture

WINTER 2019 WEATHER FORECAST, THE POLAR VORTEX, and accessing the WINTER WONDERLAND

WINTER WEATHER, THE POLAR VORTEX, and the WINTER WONDERLAND

Enjoy the Show and the Snow

Wet and stormy week ahead for all of California; Dipole pattern to follow,
Weather West, January 13, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Recap of the Season, so far.

View of the Series of Storms we just experienced-are experiencing.

Analysis of Saturated Soils-Wildfire Mud flow Dangers

 

>> KEY POINT <<

Medium-to-Long Forecast

“Unusually strong consensus regarding development of “Warm West/Cool East” pattern”

Blocking Ridge Returns
“...there is rather striking multi-model ensemble agreement (dare I say unanimity?) that a high-amplitude blocking pattern will develop across much of the Northern Hemisphere during the second half of January, and perhaps persisting for weeks (at least through mid-February).”

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Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data to Water-Stunted Tree Growth

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS & OUR CHANGING CLIMATE

Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change
Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change, Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.
Caption & Key. Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.

 

Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data with Tree Growth

Water, not temperature, limits global forest growth as climate warms,
University of Arizona, January 16, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“The growth of forest trees all over the world is becoming more water-limited as the climate warms...”

“The effect is most evident in northern climates and at high altitudes where the primary limitation on tree growth had been cold temperatures...”

"Our study shows that across the vast majority of the land surface, trees are becoming more limited by water..."

"This is the first time that anybody has projected the tree growth responses to climate at a near-global scale."

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PERMAFROST DISASTER GROWING ALMOST EVEYWHERE

OCEANS, WATER, ICE, & PERMAFROST

First Global Assessment of Status & Rates of Different Zones of Changing Permafrost

Holy Alaska!
UAF researcher Vladimir Romanovsky poses in a place where permafrost has thawed, causing a surface disruption. UAF photo.
UAF researcher Vladimir Romanovsky poses near Fairbanks, Alaska in a place where permafrost has thawed, causing a surface disruption. UAF photo from UAF permafrost research.

 

PERMAFROST DISASTER GROWING ALMOST EVEYWHERE

The pace at which the world's permafrost soils are warming,
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, January 16, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Everything Warming
“..all regions with permafrost soils the temperature of the frozen ground at a depth of more than 10 metres rose by an average of 0.3 degrees Celsius between 2007 and 2016 - in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as the high mountain ranges of Europe and Central Asia.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Melting Ice Sheets Release Tons of Methane into the Atmosphere

OCEANS, GREENLAND ICE SHEET, & ATMOSPHERE

Self-Reinforcing Releases Underway?

Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere, study finds,
University of Bristol, January 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere...”

“...methane was continuously exported from beneath the ice. ”

"A key finding is that much of the methane produced beneath the ice likely escapes the Greenland Ice Sheet in large, fast flowing rivers before it can be oxidized to CO2, a typical fate for methane gas which normally reduces its greenhouse warming potency."

New Methane
“...this is the first time that meltwaters produced in spring and summer in large ice sheet catchments have been reported to continuously flush out methane from the ice sheet bed to the atmosphere.”

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Once Thought Invincible, East Antarctic Ice Now seen as Vulnerable

OCEANS, ICE, & OUR RAPIDLY CHANGING CLIMATE

Once Thought Invincible, East Antarctic Ice Now seen as Vulnerable

East Antarctica’s ice is melting at an unexpectedly rapid clip, new study suggests,
Science, January 14, 2019.

The Research

MAIN POINTS

East Antarctic Melting
“...have found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet—considered largely insulated from the ravages of climate change—may also be melting at an accelerating rate. Those results, at odds with a large 2018 study, could dramatically reshape projections of sea level rise if confirmed.”

Previous Misconceptions
“...frigid temperatures and a base mostly above sea level are thought to keep the East Antarctic Ice Sheet relatively safe from warm water intrusion.” See “Earliest Research,” below)

(See: Much of West Antarctic below Sea Level)

Alex Wierbinski's picture

BIRDS & INSECTS, A Shared Decline

BIRDS & INSECTS
UPDATE

A Shared Decline

Bugs Go, Birds Follow...

Original article, below, Oct 17, '18:

Swallow decline linked to Climate & Bugs

 

Latest Update
January 15, ‘19:

Puerto Rico Insect Collapse

Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems,’
Guardian, January 15, 2019.

"Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished."

“We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet,” Lister said. “It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this.”

 

Previous Reporting
October 19, '18:

Ecosystems Failing

Puerto Rico Insect Collapse

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Water Research: Can our Forests Survive the Next Drought?

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS, & PEOPLE

Bleak Current Status of Sierra Tree Mortality
Dead Trees Everywhere
 UC Merced.
Many trees in the Sierra have died in the past few years because of drought. Photo & Caption Credit: UC Merced.

 

Understanding Tree Mortality

Can our forests survive the next drought?
UC Merced, January 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Understanding Tree Mortality

“Each year our forests, grasslands and shrublands depend on water stored underground to survive the dry summers, but during multiyear dry periods there is not enough precipitation in the wet winter season to replenish that supply.”

“If the drought is long enough and especially hot, as was the case from fall 2011 through 2015, large numbers of trees run out of water and die.”

Goal
“...delved into data from sites across the semi-arid West to determine the amount of water storage available in the root zones of different areas.”

“...how dependent different areas in the West are on that subsurface water storage and how many dry years the plants can survive.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Bigger Global Warming Waves a Surfer’s Dream?

OCEANS, WARMING, & WAVES

Global Warming a Surfer’s Dream?

Upper-ocean warming is changing the global wave climate, making waves stronger,
University of California - Santa Cruz, January 14, 2018.

Main Points

“Climate change is modifying the oceans in different ways, including changes in ocean-atmosphere circulation and water warming.” And now, wave power.

Direct Association between Heat & Waves
“...researchers report that the energy of ocean waves has been growing globally, and they found a direct association between ocean warming and the increase in wave energy.”

0.4 percent per year since 1948
"For the first time, we have identified a global signal of the effect of global warming in wave climate. In fact, wave power has increased globally by 0.4 percent per year since 1948, and this increase is correlated with the increasing sea-surface temperatures, both globally and by ocean regions."

More Extreme Extremes
“...increases have been larger for the most extreme values (e.g., winter waves) than for the mean conditions.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Potential Confluence of Grand Orbital Cycles with Human Ignorance could End Antarctic Ice

ORBITAL INFLUENCES on OCEANS, ANTARCTIC ICE, & CHANGING CLIMATE

Antarctica on Miocene
The Miocene Antarctic vs Antarctic Today, Caption, image credit Richard Levy & UW@Madison
The Miocene Antarctic vs Antarctic Today, Caption below, image credit to Richard Levy & UW@Madison

 

Potential Confluence of Grand Orbital Cycles with Greedy Human Ignorance

Antarctic ice sheet could suffer a one-two climate punch,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, January 14, 2018.

Main Points

“Scientists have long speculated that our planet's climate system is intimately linked to the Earth's celestial motions.” (See Milankovitch Cycles, below…)

“...attributable to changes in the shape of our planet's orbit around the sun as well as to cyclic changes in the tilt of the Earth on its axis and its "top-like" wobble on that axis, all of which combine to influence the distribution and intensity of solar radiation.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Two Articles: Did Camp Fire Violate PGE Probation, and, Was Camp Fire a State Crime?

UPDATED STORY!

PGE BANCRUPTCY?

What is the Real Status of this Disturbing Situation with PG&E?

Where did this Hot Mess with PG&E Come From?

Let's Review the Recent Past to Find Out!

Let's review PG&E's recent history of fires and political disaster relief (for PG&E) bought with millions of dollars of blood-money bribes to Brown & the Legislature, and a series of multi-million dollar slick corporate-media,"feel good," propaganda campaigns from PG&E telling us how, "good," PG&E is.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Oceans Warming Even Faster than Previously Thought

FISH, OCEANS, ICE, WATER, & CLIMATE NEWS of 2019

Reconciling Complex Data from a Very Complex System

A New Tools in the Scientifc Arsenal
The Argo Sensor Array
UC Berkeley Scientists deploy an Argo float searching for the truth about rising ocean temperatures.
UC Berkeley Scientists deploy an Argo float searching for the truth about rising ocean temperatures.

Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought,
University of California - Berkeley, January 10, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

More Ocean Heating than Thought
”Heat trapped by greenhouse gases is raising ocean temperatures faster than previously thought, concludes an analysis of four recent ocean heating observations.”

Not Less
“...provide further evidence that earlier claims of a slowdown or "hiatus" in global warming over the past 15 years were unfounded. ”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

“Climategate,” and NOAA “Scandal,” were Manufactured FAKE NEWS

CLIMATE CRASHING FAKE NEWS

Report puts quiet coda on wild allegations published in the Daily Mail.

“Climategate,” and NOAA “Scandals,” were Manufactured FAKE NEWS

Investigation of NOAA climate scientists finds bupkis,
Ars Technica, January 10, 2019

Main Points

Remember the big NOAA “Climate Scandal,” of 2015?

It was Total BS...

Allegations in 2015 of NOAA scientist/research misconduct, leading to falsely increased global warming measurements, proven completely unfounded. These allegations were the basis of a series of sensational Daily Mail articles about scientific misconduct at NOAA leading to inflated claims of global warming.

The original research documenting increased warming is correct, and those Daily Mail articles criticizing that research, are in error.

 

Original Daily Mail FAKE NEWS

FAKE NEWS

Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data,
Daily Mail, Feb 4, 2017.

 

ANALYSIS OF FAKE NEWS

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Hubble takes gigantic image of the Triangulum Galaxy

ASTROPHYSICS ABOVE OUR HEADS

A Look at Another Huge Small Part of the Big Picture
Triangulum Galaxy
Triangulum Galaxy image by Hubble, NASA, ESA, and M. Durbin, J. Dalcanton, and B. F. Williams.
Hubble Photo credit to NASA, ESA, and M. Durbin, J. Dalcanton, and B. F. Williams

Hubble takes gigantic image of the Triangulum Galaxy,
ESA/Hubble Information Centre, January 7, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

AKA; M 33

Three million light-years from Earth

40 billion stars

60 000 light-years across

“Under excellent dark-sky conditions, the Triangulum Galaxy can be seen with the naked eye as a faint, blurry object...”

“…a notable member of the Local Group...”

 

 

Constellation Chart
Location of Triangulum Constellation & Galaxy, "M 33:"

2h

+35 N

 

 

Triangulum Constellation,
Constellation Guide.

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Scary Reality of US Medicines Tainted with Germs, Glass, Carcinogens & "Mystery" Particles

3RD WORLD USA

And Our Corporate Elite’s “Global” Supply Chain...

“Scary” reality: Meds tainted with germs, glass, carcinogens, mystery particles,
"Our drug quality is probably not what we think it is."

Ars Technica, January 7, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Medical Poisons
"An investigation by Kaiser Health News...reveals a frightening record of medicines in the US being tainted with dangerous bacteria, mold, glass shards, rubber bits, cancer-causing chemicals, mysterious powders, and worrying metal particles....medications with too much or too little ingredients—or simply the wrong ingredients entirely."

The Politicians are Bribed into Submission
“FDA records and lawsuits suggest that drug makers can easily game the inspection system, mislead inspectors, lie about where drugs are manufactured, or outright sabotage inspections.”

Where Your Drugs Come From
Corrupt Manufacturers in Japan, India, and China...

“...made in overseas facilities, which are often feared for being the source of safety and quality issues.”

 

Bottom Line

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Our current drought is worse than most megadroughts, new study says

WATER, CLIMATE, ECOLOGICAL & CULTURAL DESTRUCTION

Colorado River Behind Hoover Dam
Diminshing Waters of the Colorado River backs up as Mead Lake behind the Hoover Dam. Image by Carol Highsmith.
Diminshing Waters of the Colorado River backs up as Mead Lake behind the Hoover Dam. Image by Carol Highsmith.

THE SOUTHWESTERN "MEGADROUGHT"

Growing Megacities in the Southwestern Deserts & LA is Driving Yet More Climate Change & Intensifying the Ongoing Process of Aridification-Megadrought

Our current drought is worse than most megadroughts, new study says,
Arizona Star, January 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Current Disaster
“The Colorado River — Tucson’s drinking water supply — carries nearly 20 percent less water than in 2000. Bark beetles are chomping away at our forests and killing off ponderosa pines. Wildfires are rapidly growing in intensity.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

New View of Our Universe, and Meet Al’s, “Superstring”

 

ASTROPHYSICS: WHAT IS THIS THING?

Is This what Our Universe really looks like?
An Expanding Bubble in An Extra Dimension, Suvendu Giri at Upsala University.
Our Universe riding on an expanding bubble in an extra dimension. By Suvendu Giri, Upsala University

 

A New View of Our Universe, and Meet Al’s, “Superstring

Our universe: An expanding bubble in an extra dimension,
Uppsala University, December 31, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“...a new model for the Universe - one that may solve the enigma of dark energy…a universe that rides on an expanding bubble in an additional dimension.”

“...dark energy and our Universe riding on an expanding bubble in an extra dimension. The whole Universe is accommodated on the edge of this expanding bubble. All existing matter in the Universe corresponds to the ends of strings that extend out into the extra dimension.”

 

Bottom Line

I’ve come to see the universe centered on what I call, “The Superstring.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Where Has All the Heat Gone? Into Changing the Circulation of the Deep Blue Sea...

OCEANS, WATER, & ICE NEWS

Where Has All the Heat Gone? Into Changing the Circulation of the Deep Blue Sea...

A century and half of reconstructed ocean warming offers clues for the future,
University of Oxford, January 7, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Global Warming
“Over the past century, increased greenhouse gas emissions have given rise to an excess of energy in the Earth system.”

More than 90% of Heating into Oceans
“...More than 90% of this excess energy has been absorbed by the ocean...”

“...the oceans are absorbing most of the excess energy in the climate system arising from greenhouse gases emitted by human activities.”

How Much Warming
“...global warming of the oceans of 436 x 1021 Joules has occurred from 1871 to present (roughly 1000 times annual worldwide human primary energy consumption) and that comparable warming happened over the periods 1920-1945 and 1990-2015.”

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Deep Ocean Currents Are Liquid Time Capsules

OCEANS, ICE, & CLIMATE AS PHYSICAL FORCES OVER TIME

Old Research Proves Valuable
HMS CHALLENGER

Painting of the HMS Data collected by HMS Challenger, by William Frederick Mitchell, originally published for the Royal Navy, supports Woods Hole & Harvard Ocean Research today..
Painting of the HMS Challenger, possible collecting Artctic Ocean-bottom temps, by William Frederick Mitchell originally published for the Royal Navy.

 

Deep Ocean Currents Are Liquid Time Capsules

The long memory of the Pacific Ocean,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, January 4, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“Cold waters that sank in polar regions hundreds of years ago during the Little Ice Age are still impacting deep Pacific Ocean temperature trends.”

“...the deep Pacific Ocean lags a few centuries behind in terms of temperature and is still adjusting to the entry into the Little Ice Age. Whereas most of the ocean is responding to modern warming, the deep Pacific may be cooling.”

"Climate varies across all timescales.”
(and physical spaces, such as ocean bottoms...)

Alex Wierbinski's picture

News of Fish, Water, Oceans, Ice, & People, Winter & Spring of 2019

News of Fish, Water, Oceans, Ice, & People,

Winter & Spring
2019

This is the High Sierra
Fish, Oceans, Ice, Sealife, & Water News



The Fish News has been stretching into Fish & River News, now into covering Water Issues generally. We cover water as it stands, pools, flows, freezes, and precipitates. A step further, we cover how water affects the things that most directly depend on it, the things that grow, swim, drink, ship, & store water.

 

NOAA West Coast Fisheries

All Sierra Snow

All Sierra Precip

 

 

2018

2015-17 Fish, Ice, Oceans, WATER, & People NEWS & RESEARCH

 

 

2019

 

February 13

OCEANS, ICE, WATER & FISH: NEW THREATS EMERGING

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra & Great Basin Transforming from Seasonal to Ephemeral Snow Pack

TREES & FORESTS CHANGING WITH CHANGING CLIMATE

Winter Snows are a Primary Source of Water for the Western U.S.

University of Nevada, Reno uses 15 years of satellite imagery to study snow's comings and goings,
University of Nevada, Reno, January 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Seasonal to Ephemeral Snow
“...snowpacks in the Great Basin appear to be transitioning from seasonal, with a predictable amount and melt rate, to "ephemeral," or short-lived, which are less predictable and only last up to 60 days.”

"Small temperature changes can lead to large ecological changes."

"More intermittent snowpacks means water flow is more difficult to predict. We might not get as much water into the ground, throwing off the timing of water for plant root systems, reducing our supply and use, and even affecting businesses such as tourism."

The Study
“...analyzed both ground-based and satellite-based remote sensing data collected every day from 2001 to 2015.”

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