August 20, 2016

Climate change damaging national parks

Care 2 - 

Climate change is increasingly putting our nation’s wilderness in danger. Rising global temperatures and changing weather patterns are already having wide-reaching effects on these wild places. Nowhere is this more apparent than in areas that used to be thick with ice and snow.

Glacier National Park in Montana is just one disturbing example. Since the early 1900s, the number of 90 degree or higher days in the park has tripled, resulting in staggering damage to the landscape. The area was once home to 150 glaciers, but today only 25 of them remain.

The loss of glaciers has much more devastating effects than simply altering the view. Melting glaciers and reduced snowpack across the country massively impact the surrounding ecosystem: streams are drying up, cold-water fish are dying out and snow-loving species like wolverines are under threat.

The increasingly dry conditions also create prime conditions for wildfires. Tuning into the news on a summer day in recent years, it seems there’s always a massive blaze somewhere in the Western U.S. – usually more than one. In just the past decade, every single Western state has seen a dramatic rise in the number of wildfires each year. In 2015, the area burned totaled more than 10 million acres.

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