Letters to the Editor

Facts prove Rep. Lundberg’s contentions false — there is a connection between warming and MPB

Dear Editor,

Please beware there are untruths being spoken by uninformed State Rep. Kevin Lundberg in his Aug. 28 guest article on your Web site. A check of factual climatological data shows Lundberg is wrong about there being no factual connection between warming and mountain pine beetle (MPB).

The connection between warming and MPB was acknowledged by Senators John McCain and Mark Udall at an event last week in Estes Park, which I also attended.

The facts are clear amongst 98 percent of the scientific community that there is a very strong connection between warming and MPB not just today in 2009, but there was also a connection during a smaller MPB outbreak in the 1970s in Colorado.

Lundberg claims that the beetle outbreak of the 1970s occurred during a period when weather conditions were cold enough to kill MPB. However, the actual facts of climatological data during that time clearly show that not to be true.

In fact, exactly the opposite was true. Temperature trends in the 1970s coincided with a smaller MPB outbreak in Colorado. The 1970s outbreak, in fact, coincided with the warmest weather ever recorded for Colorado in mid-January. To be sure, Jan. 16 and 17 of 1974 were the warmest days ever recorded in central Colorado with high temperatures a balmy 71 and 67 degrees (that was 30 degrees above the average!).

• Jan. 16, 1974 — 71 degrees

• Jan. 17, 1974 — 67 degrees

It is also interesting to note that in order to find the lowest temperatures on these dates one must go all the way back to 1930.

• Jan. 16, 1930 — negative 9 degrees

• Jan. 17, 1930 — negative 33 degrees

Further, Lundberg claims that the beetle outbreak in the 1970s was just as bad as today. Again, the fact is, there has never been a MPB outbreak during recorded history on the scale of today’s MPB outbreak. (And this outbreak encompasses all of North America, including Canada, where up to 25 million acres of pine trees have been killed by beetles in the past 10 years).

Senators McCain and Udall — residents of Estes Park appreciated your visit here to show your recognition of the devastating problem of global warming and massive MPB infestation. The pine trees of Colorado indeed represent a true “Canary in the coal mine” of an Earth that is in dire trouble. Politicians who fail to hear all the falling dead trees in the forest will become just as obsolete as the dead canaries.

Mike Miller
Estes Park