Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Study says climate change could make Yosemite National Park hotter than Sacramento

Kurt Repanshek in National Parks Traveler (US): By the end of the century, climate change could drive typical temperatures in Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Death Valley and other national parks in California more than 7 degrees hotter than they were in the later half of the 20th century, according to a new study.

The 34-page report from the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which earlier this year released similar studies on how climate change could impact Glacier National Park and Shenandoah National Park, warns of not only biological change driven by these higher temperatures, but also of economic fallout.

“The natural and cultural resources of California’s national parks are directly linked to over one billion dollars in economic activity and 19,000 jobs," said Theo Spencer, a senior advocate in NRDC's Climate Center. "By acting now to reduce the pollution that causes global warming we will preserve these jobs and create new ones while continuing America's long-standing position of technological leadership.”

Part of the hit on California's economy could be waning tourism to these park icons. While hotter temperatures might initially see more people head into the High Sierra parks of Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon, or to coastal parks such as Point Reyes National Seashore and Redwood National Park, "... as temperatures get too hot, outdoor recreation even in the mountains becomes less pleasant, and people may find other ways to get a break from the heat," the report notes…..

Great shot of Yosemite Falls by Reinhard Jahn, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license

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