“In Colorado, climate change means less snow, less water, more wildfires, less biodiversity and less economic opportunity, as there is less water available for development.”
— Stephen Saunders, president, Rocky Mountain Climate Organization
In 2004, Colorado had been experiencing drastic droughts for a few years, as well as a change in snowfall throughout the year. Around 85 percent of the automated snow measuring sites had been reporting a below-average snowfall throughout the state. This reveals the major climate changes that have occurred in the rocky natural areas of Colorado, thus affecting flora and fauna. As more studies were completed, the ecosystem’s diversity had been increasingly deteriorated.
Studies show that lightning emitting fires will increase by 30 to 40 percent in the incoming decades. Scientists also predict that the snowpack in the Southern Rockies and the Sierra Nevada will decrease by 50 and 90 percent, respectively. This will also have a direct impact on the tourism and skiing industry in Colorado, shortening the ski seasons and affecting several recreational areas and activities.
Since 70 percent of the water that Colorado uses comes from snow, the incredible decrease in snowfall by the middle of the 21st century will bring a major water shortage for its residents and development. Additionally, higher temperatures have created a pine beetle problem which can now survive with the warmer temperatures, eating away the tree forests in the mountains and so far killing millions of acres of trees.