Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 27, 2018

National Parks Bear Brunt Of Climate Change

UC Berkeley News Release

Human-caused climate change has exposed U.S. national parks to conditions hotter and drier than the rest of the nation, says a new UC Berkeley and University of Wisconsin-Madison study that quantifies for the first time the magnitude of climate change on all 417 parks in the system.

Without action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, many small mammals and plants may be brought to the brink of extinction by the end of the century, the study shows.

The analysis reveals that over the past century, average temperatures in national parks increased at twice the rate as the rest of the nation and yearly rainfall decreased more in national parks than in other regions of the country.

At the current rate of emissions, the team projects that temperatures in the most exposed national parks could soar by as much as 9 degrees Celsius or 16 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. This rate of change is faster than many small mammals and plants can migrate or “disperse” to more hospitable climates.

“Human-caused climate change is already increasing the area burned by wildfires across the western U.S., melting glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park and shifting vegetation to higher elevations in Yosemite National Park,” said Patrick Gonzalez, associate adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, a summary of the most up-to-date scientific knowledge of climate change.

“The good news is that, if we reduce our emissions from cars, power plants, deforestation, and other human activities and meet the Paris Agreement goal, we can keep the temperature increase in national parks to one-third of what it would be without any emissions reductions,” Gonzalez said.

Read more at National parks bear the brunt of climate change | Berkeley News


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