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Climate and Drought

Agriculture and Colorado's Climate

Click the Fluent Water Facts below to learn more about Colorado's climate.

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The rising temperatures and likely decreased precipitation predicted through climate change models will yield a mixed harvest for Colorado’s agriculture.

For livestock, warmer temperatures may increase the range of weeds and invasive species, changing the forage quality of grazing land. These higher temperatures may also cause increased heat stress for the grazers. On the other hand, milder winters may ensure higher survival rates for calves and lambs, and raise weight gain for all animals.

Warmer temperatures could reduce water available for crops in a variety of ways. Snowpack and surface water would evaporate more quickly and in greater quantity, decreasing the runoff and groundwater required for irrigation. Once water reaches the crops, they will also use and release more water to grow and survive.

Increased temperatures also put plants at greater risk for heat stress during pollination and maturation. Climate change may adversely affect the pollinators themselves, including native honeybees. Warmer temperatures may encourage the spread of weeds, invasive species, insects, and diseases.

But crops may see some positive changes from climate change. In lab experiments, scientists found that increased CO2 levels led to increased plant growth. Warmer temperatures could also mean a longer growing season with fewer frost days.

WEco Climate Resources

Guide to Colorado Climate Change presents a range of contemporary climate change information written by experts. Take a look.

Water 101 Sheets are one-page references available for download and distribution. Explore the basics of drought, and wildfire or read various water conservation tips through a series of fact sheets. Interested in additional resources? Find them herefact_sheetsClimate Workshop
Participants tour the National Ice Core Lab, hear how researchers study climate and what that means locally. Learn more.

Connecting the Drops Radio

Listen to a radio feature on climate change's effects on Colorado farmers, spring runoff, and irrigation.

  
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