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Climate change ravaged the West last year and 2021 could be worse

Climate change ravaged the West last year and 2021 could be worse

‘We’ve got a pretty deep hole that 2020 has dug for us.’

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) This Jan. 6, 2021, file photo shows limited snowfall in Big Cottonwood Canyon where south facing slopes showed bare spots. Already in the grip of a stubborn drought, Utah, along with the entire Intermountain West, is facing what looks to be another bleak water year as climate change settles into the region.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) This Jan. 6, 2021, file photo shows limited snowfall in Big Cottonwood Canyon where south facing slopes showed bare spots. Already in the grip of a stubborn drought, Utah, along with the entire Intermountain West, is facing what looks to be another bleak water year as climate change settles into the region.

If there were any doubts that the climate is changing in the Colorado River Basin, 2020 went a long way toward dispelling them, thanks to yet another year of extreme weather.
Unprecedented wildfires, deadly heat waves and withering drought ravaged the landscape, claiming dozens of lives and causing billions of dollars in damage. They’re among the many markers of the climate mayhem that scientists have been warning about for years.

While Colorado and California were ablaze and the heat killed more people in Arizona than ever before, Utah experienced its driest year on record. Monsoon rains that typically bring relief throughout the region were a no-show for the second summer in a row and now are being called the “non-soon.”
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