Climate and Drought
Climate change provokes intense emotions. Is climate change occurring? Not everyone agrees. We cannot possibly verify what will or won’t happen tomorrow or in 2100. What we can do is look over the landscape of the past and quantify what has been seen.
This Guide presents a range of contemporary climate change information, written by experts recognized in Colorado and around the world for their roles in research, modeling and education. Their work resonates with policy discussion topics. As always, the Foundation, whose role is education, does not take an advocacy or political stance.
In fewer than 50 pages, the authors write about the overarching theme and findings of their specialties. Each approaches climate change from slightly different directions:
- Brad Udall discusses the Rocky Mountains and the challenges they pose for computer modelers. “Across the West, the proportion of total annual precipitation falling as rain rather than snow has been increasing over the last 50 years.”
- Nolan Doesken looks at the same topography and how it affects climate. “Experience shows Colorado’s climate is variable. Everybody loves following the weather, but many confuse weather for the climate.”
- Roger Pielke, Sr. provides an alternate viewpoint, one that looks at more than carbon dioxide’s role in climate change. “A way forward is to focus on adaptation and mitigation strategies
that reduce the vulnerability of Colorado water resources”
- Linda Joyce explains how species adjust according to elevation and climate. “Already, the yellow-bellied marmot comes out of hibernation nearly three weeks early.”
- Doug Kenney and Lori Ozzello discuss how our water supplies and related agreements, such as the Colorado River Compact, might be affected. "Just a 10% decline in average stream flow might threaten the reliability of existing water uses.”
- Reagan Waskom looks at the impacts, both positive and negative, on farming and ranching. “Elevated CO2 levels increase plant growth in labs and greenhouses.
Warmer temperatures mean more frost fee days.”
- Gregg Thomas and Carrie Atiyeh examine the human side of the equation. “The forecast for hotter and drier summers is expected to increase urban ozone pollution.”
- Tom Plant explores how our energy resources may shift over time. “Many look to nuclear, but when you look at the water impact, a similar load provided by nuclear energy would annually demand an additional 43,000 acre feet of water.”
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