Letters to the Editor

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CLIMATE: Yellowstone Park is not heating up

Letter by Ken A. Schlichte, Tumwater on Aug. 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm | 4 Comments »
August 1, 2011 12:47 pm

Continued global warming could transform Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park summer wildfire regimes by mid-21st century, according to a recent article by Rocky Barker.

The forests of Yellowstone and surrounding mountains store water for more than a quarter of the continent’s supply, and Barker has also suggested that losing those forests to increasing summer wildfire could mean losing much of the water storage capacity that is already being taxed by warmer winters and earlier runoffs.

Barker’s article has suggested that warming summer temperatures are increasing Yellowstone’s wildfire potential and that warming winter temperatures are producing earlier runoffs, but the NOAA National Climatic Data Center reports that Wyoming’s summer wildfire season temperatures have actually been trending downward at a rate of 1.92 degrees F per decade since 2000 and that Wyoming’s winter temperatures have been trending downward at a rate of 1.65 degrees F per decade since 2000.

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