Global warming strikes the Grand Valley

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

Global warming has been a hot topic of debate for many years, but now, a new study may shed some more light on the pressing question. Is our world warming?

More than 300 scientists from 48 different countries contributed to this new report which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the earth has been growing warmer over the past 50 years. Evidence that can be seen right here in the Grand Valley.

Bill Hirt has been in the comfort business for many years and one of his biggest battles is with the summer time heat. Low desert humidity has always made his job easy. "The majority back in the 70's was all swamp coolers, everybody says they work fine here, that's all you need," says Hirt. But since the 70's he's noticed a gradual change. "I notice more and more every year, we get more and more humidity," says Hirt. "Humidity is the swamp coolers worse enemy," says Hirt. "We see more and more people going to refrigerated air," says Hirt.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, rising humidity is just one of the signs of global warming. A new study, that was released this summer, defines 10 measurable planet–wide features that are used to gage global temperature changes, and these features indicate one thing. "They are indicators to the scientists that we are in a period of global warming," says Meteorologist Jim Pringle of the National Weather Service.

Summer monsoon season is typical for the western slope. It brings clouds, rain and humidity, but for some, this typical trend is on the rise. "We noticed it came a little bit early this year, by the middle of July we were having it already," says Hirt. It doesn't even have to rain for you to be able to feel the changes. "When the moisture works its way into the 4 corners, it does increase the humidity here," says Pringle.

According to the study, each of the last three decades has been "much" warmer than the decade before. While the numbers may show just a degree or two difference, many feel that it's much more than that. "The heat seems to be up with the humidity," says Hirt. A combination that can spell death for the swamp cooler.

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