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.
Citing this report
Bolinger, R.A., J.J. Lukas, R.S. Schumacher, and P.E. Goble, 2024: Climate Change in Colorado, 3rd edition. Colorado State University, https://doi.org/10.25675/10217/237323.
Here you will find all the data and code used to generate figures and tables in the report. The repository is broken down by chapter, and filenames are labeled with the relevant figure number in the report.Directory of Figures
Directory containing all figures from the report. Filenames include figure number and brief description for clarity.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
Data used in Figure 2.1
Using data from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, this
page provides a variety of maps and interactive graphs to look at Colorado's monthly
historical climate, trends, and variability.
Data used in Table 2.2
Look through the entire suite of temperature and precipitation trends
maps for Colorado's eleven alternate climate divisions.
Data and maps from Figures 2.4 and 2.11
These interactive tables highlight the trends in temperatures for each 3-month period, for every alternate climate division.
Download a PDF of the full report, the executive summary, and a 1-pager (front-back) flyer.Colorado assessment and planning resources
Here you will find a list of prior assessments and plans for the state related to climate change. Also includes regional, national, and international 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.NOAA-NCEI Climate at a Glance
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.
Climate at a Glance data used for Figures 1.1, 2.2, and 2.10