DATE: September 24, 2018

SNIP: Human-caused climate change has exposed U.S. national parks to conditions hotter and drier than the rest of the nation, says a new UC Berkeley and University of Wisconsin-Madison study that quantifies for the first time the magnitude of climate change on all 417 parks in the system.

Without action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, many small mammals and plants may be brought to the brink of extinction by the end of the century, the study shows.

The analysis reveals that over the past century, average temperatures in national parks increased at twice the rate as the rest of the nation and yearly rainfall decreased more in national parks than in other regions of the country.

At the current rate of emissions, the team projects that temperatures in the most exposed national parks could soar by as much as 9 degrees Celsius or 16 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. This rate of change is faster than many small mammals and plants can migrate or “disperse” to more hospitable climates.