Hotter and Drier
The West's Changed Climate
Human activities are already changing the climate of the American West. This report by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), drawn from 50 scientific studies, 125 other government and scientific sources, and our own new analyses, documents that the West is being affected more by a changed climate than any other part of the United States outside of Alaska. When compared to the 20th century average, the West has experienced an increase in average temperature during the last five years that is 70 percent greater than the world as a whole. Responding quickly at all levels of government by embracing the solutions that are available is critical to minimizing further disruption of this region's climate and economy.
Temperatures in 2000-2007 Compared to 20th Century Averages
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: The West Is Getting Hotter
Chapter 2: The West is Getting Drier
Chapter 3: The Colorado River: Hotter and Drier
Chapter 4: Disruption of Ecosystems
Chapter 5: Global Warming Harms Business, Recreation, and Tourism
Chapter 6: Immediate Action Can Curb Global Warming
Chapter 7: Policy Conclusions and Recommendations
Appendix: A State-by-State Analysis of Warming in the West
Photo credits for interactive map: Forest fire, grizzly bear, ski lift: Corbis. Grass fire, bull calf, pronghorn: i-stock. Cracked earth, sun: Photodisc. Mount Hood: Gary Braasch
last revised 3/5/2008
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