Yellowstone National Park is now changing on a yearly, if not daily basis. As an ecologist who has worked in the park for 28 years says, “By the time my daughter is an old woman, the climate will be as different for her as the last ice age seems to us.”
From a recent article in the New York Times, Nov 15, 2018
“YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — On a recent fall afternoon in the Lamar Valley, visitors watched a wolf pack lope along a thinly forested riverbank, ten or so black and gray figures shadowy against the snow. A little further along the road, a herd of bison swung their great heads as they rooted for food in the sagebrush steppe, their deep rumbles clear in the quiet, cold air.”
“In the United States, Yellowstone National Park is the only place bison and wolves can be seen in great numbers. Because of the park, these animals survive. Yellowstone was crucial to bringing back bison, reintroducing gray wolves, and restoring trumpeter swans, elk, and grizzly bears — all five species driven toward extinction found refuge here.”
“But the Yellowstone of charismatic megafauna and of stunning geysers that four million visitors a year travel to see is changing before the eyes of those who know it best. Researchers who have spent years studying, managing, and exploring its roughly 3,400 square miles say that soon the landscape may look dramatically different.”
“Over the next few decades of climate change, the country’s first national park will quite likely see increased fire, less forest, expanding grasslands, shallower, warmer waterways, and more invasive plants — all of which may alter how, and how many, animals move through the landscape. Ecosystems are always in flux, but climate change is transforming habitats so quickly that many plants and animals may not be able to adapt well or at all.”
“Summers in the park have become warmer, drier and increasingly prone to fire. Even if rainfall increases in the future, it will evaporate more quickly, said Michael Tercek, an ecologist who has worked in Yellowstone for 28 years.”
“By the time my daughter is an old woman, the climate will be as different for her as the last ice age seems to us,” Dr. Tercek said.”
The article is from the November 15, 2018 edition of the New York Times.
The above photograph of the Gibbon River was taken in Yellowstone National park.
On cool autumn mornings like this one, the whole park
seems to be full of steam.