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Rio Grande National Forest Historic Climate Assessment

Posted date: April 23, 2019
Document type: Other Documents

Citation

Goble, Peter, Doesken, Nolan J., Joyce, Linda . 2016. Rio Grande National Forest Historic Climate Assessment Prepared for the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Rocky Mountain Research Station by the Colorado Climate Center. 78 p.

Description

Prepared for the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Rocky Mountain Research Station by the Colorado Climate Center. Report publication date unknown. Supplemental materials for the 2016 Rio Grande National Forest Climate Change Plan Revision workshop. 
 
Located in south-central Colorado, the Rio Grande National Forest covers 2906 square miles of federally protected land. The climatic conditions experienced within the Rio Grande National Forest are heavily influenced by its landlocked, continental positioning, combined with its mid-latitude location. Most importantly, the climate of the area varies greatly over short distances due to complex topography and large differences in elevation. The Forest ranges in elevation from 7600 to 14335 feet above sea level (USDA 2016).
 
In this report the recent recorded history of the Forest’s climate is explored. Using the data available, the mean state, variability, and historic trends of the Forest’s climate are summarized with an emphasis on temperatures, precipitation, and snowpack. The historic climate summary is rounded out with information on several of the Forest’s extreme weather events, physical descriptions of known mountain weather patterns that apply to the Forest, and an assessment of some of the largest needs for future weather observation.