News Article “Drought, Heat Bad For Skiers, Good For Mountaineers” By Christopher Smith

I was interviewed for the news article in the Boulder i Journal by Christopher Smith titled

Drought, heat bad for skiers, good for mountaineers

It is an excellent article. It also accurately summarizes my viewpoint on the climate issue. That part of article reads [highlight added]

Future climate unpredictable

It will take more than a couple of sprays to eradicate one of the worst local droughts.

Denver reached 100 degrees five consecutive days in its warmest June ever (records began in 1872).

As of last week, 100 percent of Colorado fought a D2 (“severe”) drought as labeled by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Nearly three-quarters of the state reached “extreme,” with a few pockets of “exceptional,” the scale’s most intense rating.

Boulder has received 59 percent less precipitation than average since April 1, according to Western Regional Climate Center data.

A few pessimistic predictions suggest, due to a general warming trend some project to continue, local ski resorts will watch business recede faster than the U.S. economy amid Wall Street banking strife. Don’t let doomsayers worry you just yet.

Portending some long-term trend based on this year’s weather is dangerous.

Dr. Roger A. Pielke Sr., one of the most distinguished meteorologists and climate researchers in the state, points to a 2005 study suggesting cyclical oceanic surface temperatures correlate to U.S. drought patterns and have a much greater impact on global climate than previously understood.

Since 1995, the North Atlantic (warm) and Pacific (cool) Oceans have combined for a climate proven to produce severe dry weather across much of the Western United States.

“This has been a record year for warmth and dryness,” Pielke Sr. said. “It is comparable to the climate that occurred in the 1930s, although that drought lasted longer and the heat was actually even greater.”

In July 1934, decades before “global warming” entered the lexicon, more than 80 percent of the United States was in moderate, severe or extreme drought, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Less than half the country is experiencing some level of drought right now.

Large-scale climate projections find it difficult to recognize patterns even in “hindsight” mode, many climatologists believe.

In any event, skiers should not fear. It’s next to impossible to predict Colorado’s climate.

“There is no predictive skill on how Colorado’s weather will be in the coming years, despite claims from some to the contrary. Indeed, the climate system is much more complex than you typically hear. Not only is the human influence more complex, but natural climate forcings and feedbacks are incompletely understood,” Pielke Sr. said.

“It is too early to predict what will occur this winter, but typically there is no significant correlation between weather we have now and what will occur months from now.”

This is a refreshing, well written article.

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