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Top 2021 climate realities demand a New Year’s resolution for our planet


When pondering resolutions for a new year, it can be helpful to review the year gone by. In the case of 2021, one of the most striking realizations is that we’ve clearly entered an era of extreme weather disasters supercharged by accelerating climate change. It’s important to understand the realities of what is happening to our nation and planet, as well as what it means for the future.

As if to punctuate the year with an exclamation point, the horrifying 2021 year-end suburban fires in Boulder County, Colorado destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings, and highlighted several key climate realities.

Reality No. 1 is that a warming atmosphere means a more vigorous and variable hydrological cycle. As the atmosphere warms, it can hold more water vapor, and as climate scientists have long expected, this is creating intensified hydrologic extremes. This means the water-hungry atmosphere more effectively dries out vegetation and soil, driving more severe drought. This very phenomenon set the stage for the disastrous year-end Boulder suburban grass fires , just as it did for the continued surge in severe forest fires globally (and nationwide) in the increasingly year-round fire season.

Reality No. 2 is that climate change isn’t […]

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