Wed August 1, 2012

Report Links 'Extreme' Weather and Climate Change

A new report by Environment Colorado shows that extreme snow and rain storms like those that followed the Waldo Canyon and High Park wildfires are becoming increasingly frequent as the earth warms.

The report dubbed “When it Rains, it Pours” uses federal climate data from 1948 to 2011 and it concludes that extreme storms are now happening 25% more frequently in Colorado. 

"We’re also finding that when it does pour, when these extreme events do happen, they’re about 8% more severe than they were," said  Environment Colorado's field organizer Bessie Schwarz.

Schwarz unveiled her group's study to reporters Tuesday afternoon in Confluence Park in Denver.  She said the science is clear from the report and a common trend corroborated by scientists that global warming is the lead factor behind the trend.

The increased moisture from these bursts of weather don't necessarily mean there will be more water for human consumption, Schwarz said.

"They are actually harder to control and it’s harder to capture that water in the ground or for drinking water in facilities," she said.

The report has not been published nor peer-reviewed but most of its data comes from the federal government's National Climatic Data Center.