The effects of climate change are often slow and hard to see, but national parks across the country are figuring out ways to make these seemingly subtle changes striking and visual.
We talked to a few people behind these efforts in Alaska’s national park system on Twitter for our latest #HOTM chat. They shared their take on this Heat of the Moment story and talked about the evolving role of national parks as climate change fundamentally alters landscapes.
The Arctic is an area that will be crucial in addressing climate change going forward. Alaska’s National Park system shared some numbers:
Parks across Alaska shared how warming temps have impacted the area:
#HOTM In the 1950's 75% of Denali's soil was permafrost. By 2100 predictions suggest that 0.3% of the landscape will contain permafrost.— Denali National Park (@DenaliNPS) June 9, 2016
There has been an increase in shipping traffic in the Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route because of climate change.#HOTM— BeringLandBridgeNP (@BeringLandNPS) June 9, 2016
The Heat of the Moment story focused on landscape change, but Alaskan communities’ cultures and livelihoods are threatened as well:
Changes in ice conditions are a huge part of it. Spring ice once insulated communities from storm waves, but no longer. #HOTM— Gates Of The Arctic (@GatesArcticNPS) June 9, 2016
Here’s how the National Parks are responding and preparing:
A3 The park studies changing glaciers including the changing plant communities and hydrology in the wake of the glaciers. (1/3) #HOTM— Kenai Fjords NP (@KenaiFjordsNPS) June 9, 2016
Archeologists are surveying coastal sites which are at risk of erosion.#hotm— BeringLandBridgeNP (@BeringLandNPS) June 9, 2016
There are a number of national parks working on creative ways to communicate climate change to the public:
And as climate change shifts temperatures and landscapes, the parks shared how their role has shifted:
#HOTM Denali is experiencing an increase in tourism during spring shoulder season - possibly because the last few springs have been warmer— Denali National Park (@DenaliNPS) June 9, 2016