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'It's Real': Colorado Climatologists Review New Climate Report

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) - Climatologists at Colorado State University began reviewing a new report from the United Nations on Monday detailing the speed and impact of human-caused global warming. They noticed some are universal around the world while others are more focused by region.

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They plan to study the findings further to help understand the outlook for Colorado, but already see the same concerns underlined from past research.

"We certainly know from previous reports, previous summaries that have been specifically for Colorado and the west," said Russ Schumacher, a climatologist at CSU.  "This report narrows down the range of what the human influence on the climate system can be and what that may look like going forward."

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Fires and floods as well as heatwaves and drought overseas and across the U.S. demonstrated global warming is rapidly hitting every region of the world in an unprecedented way, according to the U.N. report. Carbon dioxide levels are higher than at any time in at least 2 million years.

Melting ice and rising sea levels are irreversible, even if emissions are limited. Scientists say we have made the world almost two degrees hotter than pre-industrial levels.

"We have a much greater understanding of the climate system and how it works," Schumacher told CBS4 on Monday. "It does hit home a little bit more for people, that it's not just, 'what is the global average temperature change?'"

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He says in Colorado there is enough to focus on, so residents do not get lost in the size of this report, thousands of pages, with so much information about the global impact of climate change. Sea levels rising may not be an issue in Colorado, but other water concerns are there.

Drought in western Colorado and the Colorado River Basin highlight the climate issues most unique to our region. Reducing greenhouse gases, which trap heat and make the earth warmer, is a first step to fighting climate change.

"It's real, it's us, it could be bad, but we also know there are ways to do something about it," he said

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