A recent study has found that the Northwest’s average annual temperature increased significantly over the last century, and that the shift is most likely caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
The study was published by researchers at the University of Idaho and Oregon State University. It found that the region's average annual temperature has risen by a total of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last hundred years.
The study drew together data from 141 weather stations across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming from the period between 1901 and 2012.
Philip Mote, a professor at Oregon State University and one of the report’s co-authors, said the study establishes a strong link between greenhouse gas emissions and the rise in the region’s average annual temperature.
“As far as the 1.3 degree warming over the last hundred years or so," Mote said, "that’s all because of human activity.”
Mote explained that though that may not sound like a huge difference, the shift in temperature has already begun to affect the wider environment.
“These changes are showing up in changes in tree species," he said, "and the size of wildfires and a lot of other things.”
The study was published in March. It also found the shift in the average annual temperature corresponds with a 600-foot rise in the freezing altitude in the region's mountains, and a shorter freezing period. Mote said he expects rising temperatures to affect water resources, growing seasons, and flora and fauna populations in the Northwest.