Here at Daily Dirt HQ in the Rockies, we're enjoying a particularly cloudy, cool day — but that's been out of step with an erratic winter that feels warmer than we're used to. Now comes word that our suspicions have been confirmed by new research showing the Rocky Mountain West has been affected by climate change more than anywhere else in the U.S., outside of Alaska.
The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) compiled data from both their own sources, 50 scientific studies, and over 125 government and scientific sources to cobble together a comprehensive report on western climate change. The results indicate that in the last five years, the West has experienced an increase in temperature over 70 percent greater than the the rest of the world. The global climate warmed by about 1 degree for 2003-2007, while the West rose 1.7 degrees.
It seems like a small increase, but as we've all learned by now, small temperature changes make for big differences. Sudden snow melt, early-riser bears, and record wildfires aren't flukes — the West is getting warmer. Get ready, East: You're next. — Ted Alvarez