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"We really are experiencing meaningful change," he told the newspaper. "It's impossible to explain how this state became warmer without saying carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases played a part in the warming."
Shuman runs a paleoclimate and paleoecology lab, which means he and his students examine past climates and the vegetation and animals that inhabited those times.
On his website, Shuman explains that examination of the past shows that Wyoming and other Rocky Mountain states have historically experienced extended periods of drought.
Tree-ring data from the Colorado River Basin has revealed extended periods of drought, lasting several decades, 1,000 years ago. But by studying the evidence of how lakes in the mountain headwaters have changed, he and his students believe that dry periods of the deeper past exceeded the severity of these megadroughts. Since the glaciers receded, dry periods have persisted for centuries, even millennia.
Nor are these small changes. In the mountains along the Colorado-Wyoming border, Shuman found evidence that lakes have dropped 30 per cent or more during the last 4,500 years.
In other words, what we think of as average won't necessarily stay that way. The climate is usually on the move, and this time we're juicing the change with a double latte of greenhouse gases.
forest fires not always bad
KETCHUM, Idaho — Forest fires in the West have been getting bigger and bigger, with no end in sight. Experts attribute the fires to several causes, including a century of fire suppression, warming temperatures, and substantial drought that make the forests more vulnerable to bark beetles.
Following a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, which pins blame on the changing climate, the Idaho Mountain Express talked with a resident in Ketchum who has a background in forest management.
"What we have seen across the West is almost a 100-year trend," said Dani Mazzotta, who is with the Idaho Conservation League.
"We have been suppressing these fires around towns and communities, and we are seeing the repercussions," she says. Fire is a healthy part of a forest's lifecycle, but the fires in Idaho this past summer were longer and more intense than would have occurred without the heavy fuel loads from beetle-killed trees.
Drilling ad aimed at White House skiers
ASPEN, Colo. — It was Presidents' Day Weekend in a special way at Aspen and Snowmass.
Michelle Obama, wife of the U.S. president, and Vice President Joe Biden were both there to frolic in what has been, in the context of the last two years, uncommonly good snow.
Pitkin County commissioners saw an opportunity. An area of the county about 48kms west of Aspen called Thompson Creek has deposits of natural gas. Locals have vehemently maintained that the area is far too nice to be marred by rigs, and the mess that drillers, even when on best behavior, tend to leave behind.
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