Thursday, August 27, 2009

Climate warming predicted for Utah

Amy Joi O’Donoghue in the Deseret News: Climate change over the next 100 years could raise Utah's average temperature by as much as 9.4 degrees, leading to widespread impacts on outdoor recreation, wildlife, tourism and agricultural industries, according to an analysis by The Nature Conservancy.

The report, released Thursday, put Utah in the top 10 for greatest temperature increases, with the spike threatening elevated risks of heat-related deaths, compromised water quality and the disappearance of wildlife.

"From the food we put on the table to plant and animal species that make our state unique, this study shows that none of us is immune if temperatures continue to rise as projected. We can now see that climate change will directly hit us here in Utah, in our own backyards," said Dave Livermore, director of the Utah chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

…The conservancy said that even under the best-case scenario, which assumes the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere will decrease each year, Utah's temperatures will increase by up to 6.5 degrees by the end of the century.

…In Utah, the conservancy warned of the potential impacts of such temperature increases, pointing to soil erosion due to drought, dust-caused acceleration of snowpack melt, decrease in soil fertility and eroded air quality due to dust particles. The conservancy also said a heated-up Utah could lead to agricultural losses because of depleted range for livestock and at the same time, create more susceptibility to wildfires because of an increase in invasive plant life….

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, in Utah

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