A federal climate report says climate change will have a big impact on our way of life in the Pacific Northwest.
One of the authors of the report, Philip Mote, is a researcher at Oregon State University. He says the key to our future requires a look to the past -- back to 2015 to be exact. That marked the warmest year on record in the Pacific Northwest, and is also when snowpack levels were the lowest on record.
Ski areas struggled to remain open. The low snow pack led to lower river levels.
The lack of water not only impacted farmers, it also impacted fish, like salmon. Lower river levels caused the water to warm, and we saw salmon die-offs as a result.
Mote is the director of Oregon's Climate Change Research Institute. He says if we don't do something to reduce our greenhouse gases, years like 2015 might become the norm by the end of the century.
"There isn't one magic stopping point that if we go beyond that all hope is lost, but there are all sorts of climate surprises that await us and we'll get of them the more we change the climate," Mote said.
Mote said the Pacific Northwest region has warmed significantly, nearly two degrees since 1900. He said one of the biggest changes he's seen since he's started working on these reports some 20 years ago is the frequency and size of wild-fires.
Mote says these events also translate into economic losses.
“It’s clear that unrelenting increase in climate change will make those costs escalate rapidly,” Mote said.
We asked Mote what he thinks of President Trump's statement that he does not believe the report.
"I wish I could have the luxury of not believing it either," he said.
Mote takes comfort in the fact that most Americans understand the report is based on evidence and facts and believe our climate is changing - even if others do not.
"It's not surprising that people with that viewpoint exist. What is surprising is that we have someone who is vocal about that in the White House."