The National Resources Defense Council last week announced the findings from their new analysis of the most recent federal government temperature figures for the American West. The analysis found that 2002-2007 temperatures in the Colorado River basin, an 11-state western region stretching from Wyoming to Mexico, were 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the historical average for the 20th century. The temperature rise was more than twice the global average increase of 1.0 degree during the same period.
The report, co-authored by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO), warns that the current Colorado River drought will not only continue, but also worsen thanks to diminished snowpack and increased chances of prolonged heat waves. About 30 million people in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas depend on water from the Colorado and its tributaries.