Durango Telegraph - Inside the local greenhouse
Inside the local greenhouse

Climate change is no stranger to Southwest Colorado and La Plata County. Local and regional changes in climate have been modeled extensively, and Southwest Colorado is expected to witness dramatic changes in the next 60 years. A few of the more significant predictions follow:

• Southwest Colorado has warmed approximately 2° F in the last three decades, and temperatures are expected to increase by as much as an additional 5.5° F by 2050. This rate of warming is greater than any other region in the United States other than Alaska.

• Durango’s current climate is projected to migrate to higher elevations, and desert climates are expected to take over river valleys.

• In the last 25 years, run-off has already moved up two weeks earlier in the year. Warmer temperatures will mean even earlier snowmelt and peak river flows

• Water storage and river levels are expected to fall as irrigation needs rise

• Diminished agricultural production and an increase in agricultural pests are expected

• Wildfires and forest die-offs will rise with increases in temperature

• Warmer temperatures lead to shifts in elevation ranges of plants and animals and threaten the existence of some species

• Climate change is expected to mean more winter rain as well as increased storm severity

These and other findings were compiled by Koren Nydick, of the Mountain Studies Institute, in 2009.

In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows