Are the sizzling heat and unheard-of storms Americans are suffering through this summer the result of long-term climate change? Probably. Should Utahns expect the horrific wildfires and drought to continue unabated next summer because the warnings about climate change have gone unheeded? It's likely.
It is more than mere coincidence that scientists for decades have been predicting growing numbers of devastating wildfires, hotter summers, shorter winters and decreasing snowfall in the American West and now it's happening. The warnings of climate scientists that global warming caused, at least in part, by greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels have not resulted in the kind of cutbacks on carbon emissions that might have curbed the warming trend.
But, then, what about last year, when Utah had cool temperatures, heavy spring snowfall and rain that brought flooding to the same areas that are now parched and burning?