Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
DOINews: AK CSC Researchers Find that Coastal and Interior Glaciers Respond Differently to Changes in Climate
Last edited 4/26/2016
News Release from the University of Alaska Fairbanks
The Gulf of Alaska is like a giant drain. Each year a massive amount of freshwater—equal to nearly twice the annual discharge of the Mississippi River—enters this body of water. This freshwater runoff is economically and ecologically important, but a new study shows that as glaciers change, future runoff patterns from may have important regional differences. Researchers from USGS, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and University of Alaska Southeast based the study on some of the longest paired glacier change and runoff records in Alaska. Interior Alaska's Gulkana Glacier and Kenai's Wolverine Glacier have been tracked by USGS for over 45 years. Researchers compared the glaciers' mass balance data—the budget of ice gained versus ice lost each year—to measurements of streamflow from the same basins.
They found that between 1967-2011 both glaciers had lost mass. What surprised them, however, was the proportion of streamflow that came directly from the shrinking glaciers. In the Alaska Range, glacier runoff made significant and increasing contributions to the total runoff. On the coast, where there is significantly more precipitation in general, the loss of glacier ice did not substantially affect the volume of streamflow. In the future, runoff volumes from interior Alaska glaciers are likely to be altered much more strongly by climate change compared to glaciers located in coastal, maritime environments.
This study is important for several reasons. Glacier runoff is different from rain or snow runoff—it has minerals and organic material that support species at the bottom of river and ocean food chains. Glacier runoff is also very cold, so it affects salmon habitat and the movement of ocean currents. Moreover, glacier runoff provides a notable water and power resource. Runoff from the Eklutna Glacier is used to quench the thirst and power needs of Anchorage residents.
This research will help project future changes in runoff that could impact habitat quality, freshwater availability, and hydropower development.