Federal report links Colorado fires to climate change — Fort Collins Coloradoan


From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Ryan Maye Handy):

Colorado residents have seen the affects of climate change scar their mountains in the form of wildfires and massive bark beetle outbreaks, according to the U.S. Climate Assessment released Tuesday by the White House.

Considered to be a part of the Southwest Region, which encompasses drought-stricken states such as New Mexico and California, Colorado is likely to see the impacts of climate change in things ranging from annual snowpack, to water, to agriculture and to weather…

Colorado is heavily dependent on its winter snowpack — it provides water to farmers and cities, is often a good indicator for drought, and also fuels the ski-tourism industry. Colorado’s mountains are also the headwaters for rivers and streams that feed 18 other states, making the state an epicenter for water availability issues in the Midwest and West.

The climate change assessment predicts that the Southwest Region’s population of 56 million will increase to 94 million by 2050.

The report relied on local scientists for input on their regions. Dennis Ojima, a Colorado State University professor of Ecosystem Science, wrote a chapter on the Great Plains, and Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Center, helped author the Southwest Region chapter. There were also several other CSU political scientists, epidemiologists and fire experts who contributed to the report.

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