Is it hotter in here, or is it just the American West? According to a new climate study by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. West is getting warmer at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the world.
“Global warming is hitting the West hard,” Theo Spencer of the NRDC said in a release. “It is already taking an economic toll on the region’s tourism, recreation, skiing, hunting and fishing activities.”
In the 11-state Western region the average temperature has risen 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit over the last five years, while the global average has been 1.0 degrees, according to the study. Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and Montana are feeling it the most with rises more than two degrees higher than the rest of the planet.
In the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Denver, the average temperature has risen 2.2 degrees, the study finds. Most of that river’s water comes from melting snow — and less snow could have dire consequences.
In a Los Angeles Times story Bradley H. Udall of the University of Colorado, whose work is cited in the study, says the report reveals “the growing consensus among scientists who study the West that climate change is no longer an abstraction. The signs are everywhere.”
The 54-page study is called “Hotter and Drier: The West’s Changed Climate” and is based largely on calculations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Click here for the Website, here for the PDF.