Energy, Utilities & Water  November 15, 2022

Climatologist: ‘Normal’ precipitation means less when it’s hot

LOVELAND — Northern Colorado and northeast Colorado remain on a dry path and, because of climate warming, even “normal” precipitation does not go as far as it once did.

Colorado’s state climatologist, Russ Schumacher, provided a statistical review of precipitation and temperatures to water users gathered at the Northern Water Conservancy District’s Fall Symposium on Tuesday in Loveland.

Last year was the sixth warmest water year since the climatology office at Colorado State University began keeping records. A water year ends in September.

Statewide, the year was the 35th driest out of 127 years in the records. In northeast Colorado — essentially the South Platte River drainage area — it was the 18th driest, he said.

He said while temperatures are warming, precipitation going back to 1900 has not set a pattern. He said 2013-2017 was a wet period with years since that were much drier. 

“Warmer, windier and less humid air is ‘thirstier,’” he said, drawing water from soil, crops and forests.

“Combining temperature and precipitation, the wet years don’t look nearly as wet and the dry years look drier because of the effect of the higher temperatures,” he said. 

“Warmer temperatures make for normal precipitation not going as far as it once did,” he said.

LOVELAND — Northern Colorado and northeast Colorado remain on a dry path and, because of climate warming, even “normal” precipitation does not go as far as it once did.

Colorado’s state climatologist, Russ Schumacher, provided a statistical review of precipitation and temperatures to water users gathered at the Northern Water Conservancy District’s Fall Symposium on Tuesday in Loveland.

Last year was the sixth warmest water year since the climatology office at Colorado State University began keeping records. A water year ends in September.

Statewide, the year was the 35th driest out of 127 years in the records. In northeast Colorado — essentially the…

Related Content