As cooler temperatures and precipitation finally bring a hint of relief to smoke-weary Montanans, the unusual nature of summer 2017 is coming into focus and the influence of climate change is impossible to ignore.
Extreme weather has no doubt been the dominant story throughout the country this summer as hurricanes and tropical storms have ravaged the southeastern United States and wildfires have wreaked havoc in the West. A simple Google search will yield hundreds of stories about the impacts of these events, but very few mention climate change as a contributing factor. And that’s unfortunate.
Collectively, we have over 65 years of experience studying western climate and forest systems, and we are among the authors of the forthcoming Montana Climate Assessment (MCA), a report that focuses on climate trends and their consequences for three of Montana’s vital sectors: water, forests, and agriculture. The Assessment sheds some light on common questions about climate change and its effects on things like drought and wildfires. [Read more…]