This report is a synthesis of climate science relevant for management and planning for Colorado's water resources. This is an update from the 2014 report which focused on observed climate trends, climate modeling, and projections of temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and streamflow. In this update, the observed record is expanded. Additionally, it focuses on the release of new climate models and how they compare to the models used in the 2008 and 2014 reports.
For this third Climate Change in Colorado, we cover a similar scope to the previous two reports. The core mission of the report is to describe recent trends in Colorado’s climate and hydrology and interpret the model-based projections of future climate and hydrology. Proportionately more of this report is devoted to extreme climate-driven events–including heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods–than the previous reports. The overall societal impacts of climate change will be driven by changes in these extreme events as well as by changes in the average climate.
Chapter 2 provides analysis of observed and projected trends in temperature and precipitation. Chapter 3 provides analysis of observed and projected trends in Colorado’s water, including snowpack, streamflow volume and timing, soil moisture, and evapotranspiration. Chapter 4 focuses on hazards and extremes. When possible, quantitative analysis of observed and projected trends is included, otherwise a qualitative assessment of trends and possible future projections is included. The Appendix provides supplemental information on the observational climate dataset and the climate model projections used in the report.
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information provides Climate at a Glance data at state, county, and climate division scales. Temperature and precipitation data are monthly and available back to 1895. We provide this data for Colorado via interactive graphs.Colorado Climate Normals
Explore normal temperature, precipitation, and snowfall for stations around Colorado, based on the 1991-2020 normals calculated by NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.Climate Division Historical Trends
Look through the entire suite of temperature and precipitation trends maps for Colorado's eleven alternate climate divisions.Trends by Division and Season
These interactive tables highlight the trends in temperatures for each 3-month period, for every alternate climate division.
Here you will find a comprehensive list of prior assessments and plans for the state related to climate change. Also includes regional national assessments.A user guide to climate change portals
This comprehensive resource, developed by the Aspen Global Change Institute, is designed to help people and communities access and effectively use climate change data.