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National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Climate Change in the NPS and the Smokies.

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Presentation on theme: "National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Climate Change in the NPS and the Smokies."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Climate Change in the NPS and the Smokies

2 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Key Points from Jon Jarvis Climate Change is the greatest threat to NPS units. It IS happening and it IS caused by humans. View it as an opportunity to bring us together, causing us to think and act at the landscape scale. Opportunity to create more public – private partnerships Climate Change Flat Hat Chat

3 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park NPS Priorities Mitigation

4 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Science

5 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Adaptation

6 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Communication

7 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park NPS Resources

8 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Climate Change Education: What doesnt Work Fear Appeals Doomsday Prophecies Arbitrarily Balanced Positions Technical & Scientific Language

9 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Many Americans think of climate change as a distant problem. National Park Rangers and Interpreters have a unique opportunity to inform, educate, and help Americans connect the dots between global climate change and the United States, through our most prized national landscapes. But showing and helping Americans experience the current and projected impacts, should be an especially effective means of education.

10 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park #1 – Tell local, personal stories about our changing landscape #2 – Utilize new technology and social media #3 – Create a citizen science program #4 – Make connections to the economy, to our families, to patriotism; make it personally relevant #5 – Create messages of hope! Source: Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale

11 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Climate Change Impacts in the Appalachians More intense precipitation events, extended drought periods and heat waves increases in soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wildfires increases in diseases and insect outbreaks

12 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park

13 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park What Makes the Smokies So Special? Unparalleled scenery –largest sweep of undeveloped upland wilderness in the East 16 peaks > 6,000 Rugged, varied topography 2,000 miles of streams, 900 miles of trails Biodiversity hotspot

14 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Long-tail Shrew: Species of Concern in NC Spruce-Fir Moss Spider: Federally Listed Endangered Species Red-Cheek Salamander: Smokies Endemic Saw-Whet Owl: Federal Species of Concern Photo:Coyle Photo:Chatfield Spruce Fir Forest

15 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park

16 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park More Questions Than Answers How much rain will we get in the Smokies? How will more intense storms or longer droughts impact streams and the life within? Will there be species shift? Will pollinators lose synchronization with their host plants? Will stress from changes in water and temperature impact the ecosystems ability to adapt to threats from exotic species or acid deposition? How will rain be distributed in time and space? Will bird migration still coincide with food availability? Are streams warming over time and how will that impact life within? What are the target species we should be track (i.e. what are the best ecological indicators of climate change - amphibians, avifauna, inverts, etc.)?

17 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park As environmental thresholds shift in space and time, species can either: 1.Adapt 2.Migrate 3.Become extinct Could result in native species being replaced by more competitively superior exotic invasive species. Delcourt and Delcourt, 2009 Unique High Elevation Ecosystem

18 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Density Distribution of the Red-cheeked salamander (Plethodon jordani) at GRSM

19 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Average Daily Minimum January Temperature (J. Fridley Syracuse) Maximum July Temperature Fridley, 2009 Syracuse

20 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park ATBI in the Smokies Known Estimated Unknown Non-Vascular Plants / Fungi Vascular Plants Invertebrates Vertebrates

21 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park New Park Records: 7,391 Beetles 42 new to science, 1,488 new park records Snails 7 new to science, 50 new park records Spiders 41 new to science, 266 new park records Millipedes 2 new to science, 22 new park records Algae 78 new to science, 566 new park records Flies 29 new to science, 317 new park records Mushrooms 57 new to science, 583 new park records

22 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park New Species to Science: 922 Cosberella lamaralexanderi Collembola = Springtail 60 new to science, 144 new park records Ramazzottius n. sp. Tardigrade = Water bear 18 new to science, 55 new park records Diachaea n sp. Slime Mold 17 new to science, 139 new park records Neophylax kolodskii Caddisfly 5 new to science, 78 new park records Ligdia n sp. Moth/Butterfly 36 new to science, 944 new park records

23 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park

24 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Phenology The timing of biological activities, life cycle events Monitoring phenology is the best way to answer the previous questions

25 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Timing of Biological Activity Some seasonal biological activities are happening days earlier than several decades ago: –Trees blooming earlier –Migrating birds arriving earlier –Bees, Butterflies emerging earlier Changes in timing differ from species to species, so ecological interactions are disrupted. European pied flycatcher chicks are now born later than the caterpillars they eat. Images used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

26 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Some Phenology Data from Tremont

27 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park

28 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Tornado Damage April 27, 2011: Category 4, Winds mph

29 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Citizen Science Climate Change Project(s) Give Them a Personal Connection

30 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Dont argue! Offer non-threatening solutions

31 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Human causes - Human solutions

32 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Susan Sachs, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Any Questions?

33 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park

34 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park

35 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Myth: Current warming trend is a natural process, the Earth has done this before and nature is capable of coping Common Myths

36 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Global Warming or Climate Change?

37 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Myth: Scientists are in disagreement 97% agree that climate change is real and is caused by human activity. Appearance of disagreement is part of scientific process as researchers explore hypotheses and theories Uncertainty exists on exact impacts, we move forward with the best information available. Some of the disagreement is just perception about scientific terms i.e. likely = between a 66% and 89% probability in the IPCC report.

38 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Myth: Climate Change is not Caused by Humans

39 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Myth: If Climate Change were true, we would be seeing impacts already

40 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Weather isnt going to go away because of Climate Change Dr. Gavin Schmidt, NASA Climate Scientist Myth: Cold Weather Disproves Climate Change La NinaEl Nino

41 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Myth: Climate Change is Caused by the Sun All regions warmed at the surface but the stratosphere cooled the most at the highest altitude

42 National Park Service Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center Great Smoky Mountains National Park Unique habitats Myth: There is plenty of time to react to Climate Change Many greenhouse gases will stay in the atmosphere for many years. Methane has an atmospheric lifetime of 13.5 years Nitrous oxide has an atmospheric lifetime of 120 years CO2 atmospheric lifetime is difficult to calculate, recent work indicates it may be as long as tens of thousands of years or as short as 100 years.


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