Year 3, Month 3, Day 16: I Guess I’ll Go Hang Out With Quinn The Eskimo

For the full flavor of this article on climate change’s effects in our national park system, I recommend visiting and reading the comments. Oy. Anyway, here’s the gist of the piece:

CODY — Summer visitors to the Shoshone National Forest and Yellowstone National Park could benefit from a warming climate, though fires would likely increase, water would run short by season’s end, and some species could vanish from the landscape.

Those are predictions of a new study released by the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. The report looks at the impacts that climate change would have on the Shoshone and the consequences to the surrounding ecosystem.

Janine Rice, lead author of the study from the University of Colorado, found that climate records over the past 100 years indicate a 2-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperatures on the Shoshone during the summer and fall, and a 4-degree increase in winter and spring.

The report suggests that more warming has taken place at higher elevations than lower elevations. If the trend continues, temperatures across the forest could rise between 2 and 10 degrees in this century.

But Al Gore is fat. Sent March 16:

The Rocky Mountain Research Station’s new study on the effects of climate change takes on very powerful meaning when it’s understood in a larger context. To be sure, even relatively minor warming for Shoshone and Yellowstone National Parks will trigger profound consequences — there’s nothing trivial about more fires, less water, and an increase in regional extinctions.

But to really grasp the import of this study, it’s necessary to remember that climate change’s impacts aren’t restricted to a few beautiful pieces of parkland. Those wildfires will burn all over the West, not just in the sagebrush of Shoshone — and the water to extinguish them will be unavailable everywhere in the region.

There aren’t enough scientists to do predictive studies on every ecological niche on the planet. Those few areas which get investigated are the canaries in the coal mine for the rest of us. We need to pay attention.

Warren Senders


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