Tracking the Climate Of Northern Colorado Nolan Doesken State Climatologist Colorado Climate Center Colorado State University

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1 Tracking the Climate Of Northern Colorado Nolan Doesken State Climatologist Colorado Climate Center Colorado State University Northern Colorado Business Innovations November 20, 2013 Loveland, Colorado So... How are we faring this ye

2 Our Climate is an essential natural resource Temperature Humidity Wind Sunshine Precipitation Storms Extremes Rapid changes

3 First -- A short background In 1973 the federal government abolished the State Climatologist program nationwide leaving Colorado without Later that same year, Colorado re-established the State Climate program with support through the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station at Colorado State University.

4 Colorado Climate Center Mission The Colorado Climate Center at CSU provides valuable climate expertise to the residents of the state through its threefold program of: 1) Climate Monitoring (data acquisition, analysis, and archiving), 2) Climate Research 3) Climate Services.(providing data, analysis, climate education and outreach)

5 Monitoring our Climate Elements: temperature, precipitation, snow, wind, solar, evaporation, soil temperatures, humidity, clouds, etc. Fort Collins Historic Weather Station. Continuous monitoring on CSU campus since the 1880s

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7 There is good news -- The basics of our climate are not changing.

8 High elevation (highest state in the Union by far) Mid-Latitude location (lively seasonal changes) Interior Continental Location far from atmospheric moisture sources Complex Mountain topography Solar energy and seasonal cycles drive our climate

9 Colorado has and will continue to be a bright and sunny place most of the time and we ll not be too hot or too cold most of the time National Renewal Energy Laboratory:

10 Temperature (deg Fahrenheit) Winters will still be colder than summers Average Monthly Temperature ( ) for Selected Station Grand Junction Delta Palisade Collbran Vail Climax Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

11 Actual daily temperatures will always be much more variable than the nice smooth monthly averages

12 We ll still get rain and snow but often not enough

13 Precipitation (inches) Precipitation in Colorado will still vary greatly from place to place with changing seasons Water Year Average Precipitation for Selected Stations 5.0 Grand Junction Vail Vail Pass Georgetown Denver Burlington Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep

14 Variability will drive us crazy and keep us humble No two years are ever the same

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16 We ll think about paying good money for long-range forecasts, but those forecasts still won t be great El Nino periods La Nina periods

17 And sometimes Drought will just about put us under and make us really irritable Photo by Lyric Lucero 2013 Manzanola, CO

18 Impacts from drought may be perilous at time

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22 If the basics of our climate are not changing much, is there a valid reason to still be concerned? My answer is YES

23 Here is our challenge

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25 The changes we ve observed so far in our local climate are fairly modest and masked by year to year variations

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29 We can tolerate warmer temperatures But only if our water supplies hold out

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32 Lake Powell Historic Water Level

33 Lake Granby Historic Water Level

34 What comes next is sure to be very interesting

35 65 F Projected annual temperatures, for northern Colorado, including Denver Ensemble of 16 GCMs (CMIP3), medium (A1B) emissions scenario (white line = ensemble median) 60 F 55 F 50 F +4ºF by 2050 vs Observed temp. 45 F ºF by 2100 Source: Jeff Lukas, Western Water Assessment; Projections data available from Observed data available from PRISM,

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42 How do our recent floods fit in? Credit: Henry Reges

43 1904 Poudre River Flood, Greeley, CO With or without climate change we ve had floods before Railroad tracks on N. College Ave. Credit: City of Fort Collins

44 Credit: Denver Public Library Digital Collections June 1921 Pueblo Flood

45 1935 Republican River Flood Credit: National Weather Service- Goodland, KS

46 September 1938 Flood in Eldorado Springs, CO Some Similarity to September 2013 Photo copyright by the Denver Public Library.

47 Credit: Colorado State University Library Flooding on Colorado State University Campus, 1938

48 1965 Flooding on South Platte River Credit: Denver Post

49 1976 Big Thompson Flood Credit: Denver Post

50 1997 Fort Collins Flood Credit: coloradoan.com

51 But what we just had was Big

52 Total Atmospheric Precipitable water over Denver from

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63 September Precipitation (inches)

64 Top 10 Years: 1. September May November April July/August March July June October April 1944

65 New content is still being added: Photos, resources and more Bookmark and share with friends!

66 September 2013 Colorado Floods Rainfall Report Coming Soon

67 Colorado Climate Center Department of Atmospheric Science Colorado State University

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