Study: Global Warming Related to Droughts

Study: Global Warming Related to Droughts


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John Daley ReportingDana Williams, Park City Mayor: "Last winter we had a close to normal snowfall, but it had been seven years since we've had it. We've been very concerned about it."

Are Utah's water supply and its source--winter snowpacks--under threat from warmer winters caused by global warming? A new study says YES. Climate disruption from global warming is already happening and that could have dramatic consequences for the West's water supply. That's the conclusion of a report released today.

We're hearing a lot lately about global warming and hurricanes--warmer ocean waters being fuel for stronger hurricanes. But a new report says we should also be thinking about climate change and our mountain snowpacks.

One huge killer hurricane has already hit the US this season and another is bearing down. That has re-ignited the debate over human-caused global warming. Is it spawning more storms and more powerful storms?

Utah may be far from the Gulf, but it's not far from the debate.

Dana Williams , Mayor of Park City: "We saw very low snowpack late, melted off early. So I think it is a threat to us, because by far the biggest money producer in our state is from tourism."

The report by the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Climate Organization spells out the danger. Climate disruption already underway in the West includes hotter temperatures, less snowfall, smaller snowpacks, snowmelt coming earlier in the spring, and more wildfires.

The upper basins of the big river systems in the West--the Colorado, Columbia, Missouri and Rio Grande--the report says are all seeing evidence of human-caused climate change. Increased temperatures the past five years were the hottest in the past 110, and reduced snowpacks in at least 10 of the last 16 years in each basin.

A recent KSL-TV Deseret Morning News poll shows Utahns too are concerned about global warming. We asked 624 Utahns, do you think temperatures on earth have been rising in recent years? 73 percent say yes. 61 percent say they think Utah's temperatures have been rising in recent years.

We also asked if the drought Utah was in the previous six years was connected to climate change and global warming? 57 percent say YES.

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