Click the link to read the article on the Steamboat Pilot & Today website (Suzie Romig). Here’s an excerpt:
When State Climatologist Russ Schumacher presented a preview of the Climate Change in Colorado assessment update to a conference audience in late-August in Steamboat Springs, he said the statewide annual temperature has warmed by 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895 and could warm by 5.5 degrees total by 2050.
“Observations in the past decade have only affirmed the long-term trends as described in the 2014 report, more warming everywhere, in all seasons,” Schumacher presented in his take-home messages.
“The observed warming alone is already imposing reductions on snowpack, soil moisture and stream flows,” Schumacher said. “Some climate extremes and hazards have already become more frequent and intense due to warming: heat waves, drought, wildfires. Heat waves, droughts and wildfire will worsen with the additional warming. Heavy and extreme precipitation and flooding are likely to worsen as well.”
Precipitation trends and future precipitation change are less clear and certain, but the early 21st century will be drier than late 20th century, the state climatologist noted. Snow, soil moisture and streamflows are “very likely to decline further,” reported Schumacher, the director of the Colorado Climate Center and professor in the Colorado State University atmospheric science department.
Schumacher’s presentation was part of the annual summer Colorado Water Congress hosted in Steamboat. He told the audience of water professionals and guests that scientists have a “very high confidence in change” that evaporative demand in Colorado will continue to be higher and a “high confidence in change” that summer soil moisture will continue to lower and runoff timing will be earlier. Scientists have a “medium confidence in change” that annual stream flow and spring snowpack will continue to lower in the future.