EUGENE, Ore. -- With much of Oregon under extreme drought following a dry winter last year, a new report on climate change is painting a grim picture for the region's and nation's future.
The National Climate Assessment details the environmental and economic impacts of climate change.
Across the Pacific Northwest, 2015 was the warmest year on record, and as many skiers and snowboarders likely remember, the snowpack levels were the lowest on record. The most likely contributing factor behind all of this is climate change.
Philip Mote, a researcher at Oregon State University and director of the Oregon Climate Change Institute, said that things will only get worse.
“The longer we wait to fix the problem, the more things that will come along and surprise us,” Mote said.
And based on the latest climate change report, more of this type of weather is expected far into the future.
Mote said unless we rapidly reduce our carbon emissions, years like 2015 could become the norm by the end of the century.
“Every five or 10 years that go by that we continue to add heat-trapping gassing, we’re causing more of the problem,” Mote said.
Mote also said the Pacific Northwest region has warmed significantly, nearly 2 degrees since 1900. He’s been working on these reports for more than 20 years, and one of the biggest changes he’s noticed is the frequency and size of wildfires.
However, Mote is optimistic that humans can step up and change this problem and said new technologies around renewable clean energy are helping.
KGW contributed to this report.