Examining global warming on a Grand Valley level

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The issue of global warming has been a topic of hot debate for the better part of the past decade.

But is it a reality?

According to some climatology experts the climate of the Earth ‘is’ getting warmer, at about a rate of a degree to a degree and a half each century. Local weather watchers agree.

Weather observer Fruita Bill says, “It shows a roughly about a degree and a half of global warming.”

Bill runs is own ‘unofficial’ weather station from his home and his numbers aren’t far from the official ones.

Joe Ramey with the National Weather Service says, “It looks like over the past few decades that we've shown a subtle warming trend here in the bottom of the Grand Valley.”

Take a look at just the January numbers for our area. We saw that same slight increase in temperature starting in the 70s and going until 1999.

But now that a new decade has started, the new numbers show a different trend.

The most current 10 year average temperature for us, in January, went down over the past decade to 28.33.

Ramey says, “Climate history shows a definite cycle where we have warm periods and cold periods even in a relatively stable climate situation we'll go through cycles where temperatures and precipitation amounts will vary with time.”

And the last decade was one of varying extremes, setting numerous records for both highs and lows.

If we expand the data and go back even further, the cycle is easy to spot.

Ramey says, “If you look even further back in the climate record from the 1950's to the 1970's there was a cooling trend.”

The coldest temperatures then happened in the 70s, where the average January temperature was a cold 22.6 degrees.

Lifelong Grand Valley Resident Charlie Talbott says, “As we were kids in the 70s we would always get out of school and prune until dark and we were always miserably cold.”

Talbott spends most of his life outdoors and to him, the cycle is evident, starting the last decade on the warming trend and ending it cold.

“Since 2000 until just the last couple of years we've had milder winters,” he says.

And while the winters over the past few years have gotten colder, with this past December being the fifth coldest on record, the summers are heading in the opposite direction.

“The past couple of years have seemed to trend back towards milder summers, more like I remember the norm to be,” Talbott says.

So if this current trend continues, it looks like the Grand Valley is on its way back down.

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  • by David Location: Fremont co. on Feb 5, 2010 at 10:30 PM
    I live in the southwest part of fremont co at about 8000 ft. next to the sange de cristo mtns. I have a small weather station. I have noticed the same things as the weatherman. I am not a big believer in global warming. I believe that the earth goes cycles. In the last two years we have set new record cold tempature. We don't have very much snow up here and have not had much snow all year. But with being born and raised here, I can safely say winter is not over yet.
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