Anthropogenic climate change is altering ecological and human systems globally, including in United States national parks, which conserve unique biodiversity. Yet, the magnitude and spatial patterns of climate change across all 417 parks have been unknown. In research published last week, results show that climate change exposes the national park area to conditions hotter and drier than the U.S. as a whole. Physical and ecological changes have been detected and attributed mainly to anthropogenic climate change in areas of significant temperature increases. Greenhouse gas emissions reductions could reduce projected temperature increases in national parks by one-half to two-thirds.
Patrick Gonzalez is a forest ecologist and climate change scientist with the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.S. National Park Service. He conducts applied research on human-caused climate change and helps people integrate climate change science into natural resource management. Patrick has conducted and published field research in Africa, South America, and the United States. Patrick earned his Ph.D. from the Energy and Resources Group in 1997, a student of Dr. John Holdren, and is an ERG faculty affiliate. Patrick is a lead author on four reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the organization awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.