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Climate change is here, take action now, says White House report

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DENVER -- The White House releases a report that looks 50 years into the future of our climate.

The third National Climate Assessment says expect more flooding, more wildfires and continued drought—depending on where you live.

At Berry Patch Farm, in Brighton, besides growing 30 acres of fruits and vegetables, its owners are also growing uncertain about their farming future.

“I don’t feel confident about anything anymore.”

Claudia Ferrell has noticed a greater extreme between cold last year.

“We were three degrees on April 10th,” she says. And warm weather this year. "This is very, very warm this time of year.”

The farm already has to ration water—about 7 weeks early.

And it’s covered up some plants to protect them from sudden unexpected drops in temperature.

But blaming global warming, she’s not ready to go there yet.

“I won’t put a political spin, but it is what it is. If it is happening, what do we do as farmers?” she questions.

The National Climate Assessment is trying to warn all of us about potential threats from climate change, including: more drought, which could mean snowpack melting sooner and more wildfires.

“Instead of a fire season, it will be a fire year,” says FOX 31 and Channel 2 News meteorologist Chris Tomer.

He says also expect more extreme swings in the forecast.

“We may have overall less rain and snow in the future, but maybe bigger events, singular big events. Like, it will rain hard on a Tuesday. Then, not rain at all for a month,” he says.

At Denver Water, the report means trying to prepare the public for a warmer future.

She says less supply often means more demand.

“The potential for more extreme drought conditions in our region is alarming for us. Additionally, is increased variability, weather variability,” says Denver Water spokesperson Laurna Kaatz.

They are climate predictions that are as uncertain as the weather.

But people like Claudia Ferrell and Denver Water are certain it means change.

The report also says climate change has led to an historic increase in bark beetle outbreak—the greatest in the last 125 years. Warmer winters allow more beetles to survive winter, completing two life cycles in a season, rather than one.

And people’s health could also be affected. Excessive heat can aggravate respiratory or heart disease. And heat waves are often accompanied by increased ground-level ozone, which can cause respiratory distress. Longer warm seasons can also lead to more disease-transmitting mosquitoes.


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