The Yellowstone National Park is one of the national parks of the United States and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most protected places on Earth, yet even then the changes in climate change are having a big impact on the ecosystem that exists. If people do not start doing something about climate change and environmental degradation, it could lead to much more disastrous changes to delicate ecosystems like the Yellowstone National Park.
What Is Climate Change?
Global warming, where greenhouse gases become trapped within the Earth’s atmosphere and begin to make the surface of the Earth hotter, results in a climate change for the whole planet. This leads to ice melting away, the Earth getting hotter and ocean levels rising, which in turn destroys the natural habitats for many animals. Sadly, the world has already started to experience these effects.
Effects on Yellowstone National Park
In the Yellowstone National Park and many other parks, changes have already begun to appear, even though these are the most conserved and protected sites in the world. To check for climate change and its impact on Yellowstone National Park, scientists tend to check and keep track of a few important factors. These are the snowpack levels, the different temperatures at different elevations and the water sources they come with, the number of fires that occur in the park, the rate of growth of the plants, the amount of pollen that is produced, the condition of the soil, biodiversity and many other factors.
The results of all this research shows that the temperature within the park is expected to keep rising over the next century. Even now, the temperatures are higher than they were 50 years ago. Nighttime temperatures are said to increase much faster than those in the day. It is, however, difficult to keep track of the precipitation levels within the park. It is also found that the growing season within the park has increased by around 30 days in the past 50 years. In the Northeast entrance of the park, there are now around 80 days that are above freezing temperature. This is a huge change. Research shows that the instance of fires could also increase with time, due to the rising temperatures.
There is something we can still do for the environment, the park and for ourselves. We can change our lifestyles. We need to reduce the consumption of products that increase greenhouse gases like plastic, conserve water and decrease the consumption of fossil fuels that help increase greenhouse gases in the environment. Even with small changes we make in our lives, we all can collectively make a significant difference, and protect the unique ecosystems in our national parks.