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Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite

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Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 25, 2011 01:29PM
Dear Yosemite Fans,

I am a fellow devotee of the Park and a Master's student in environmental communication at Stanford University. I'm hoping to solicit your help with a project I'm working on with a Stanford professor. I'm exploring the messages that National Parks and Park Service employees are conveying about climate change, using Yosemite as a case study. Our goal is to compile this research in a feature article for a popular science magazine.

I've had the privilege of talking to several Yosemite interpreters about their understanding of climate change as it relates to the Park and their efforts to present that understanding to visitors. Now, I'd like to hear from visitors themselves - that's you! I'm interested in answers to a couple of questions:

1. If you've been visiting Yosemite for years, do you feel you've seen evidence of climate change in the Park? If so, when/what/where?

2. If you've asked questions about climate change of Park employees, attended an interpretive presentation that included information on climate change, or checked out the visitors' center displays on climate impacts, how would you evaluate those experiences? Did you get information you needed/wanted/found useful?

3. What, if anything, related to climate change would you like to learn when you visit Yosemite?

If you have time to scrawl a few sentences in response to any of those questions, please reply here or send me a PM. I'm collecting this information as a private citizen, not as a representative of the Park Service or any other government agency. All responses will be used anonymously unless you tell me otherwise.

Thank you!
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 25, 2011 02:30PM
I haven't been visiting Yosemite long enough to be able to speak to seeing any chances myself.

But I am interested in how climate changes have had an impact on the plants and animals -- if there have been any changes in habitat or location -- and how these changes are measured.

The first thing I think about when I consider climate change in the Sierras are the stories we hear about Picas. But I'm sure that climate change is having an affect on other animal populations. Are animals being found in areas they haven't been before? Are flowers and plants and even trees showing up in new places? Is the balance of species changing? These are the things that interest me.
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 25, 2011 02:47PM
Good point about the Pika. I didn't know about them or their existence in the park until I went on a ranger-led hike to the Mono Pass area (great hike and we were the only non-rangers on the hike!). We were fortunate to see pika, but now that they have shifted to living in the higher, less frequented areas of the park, I am sure this was a rarity and a real treat for us!
Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 26, 2011 11:46AM
Thanks for all the great responses so far! Great photos of the glacier equipment.
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 25, 2011 02:42PM
You may be interested in this which includes talk about area around McCabe Lakes:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,17810,17810#msg-17810

A little bit about Pika's here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,14441,14441#msg-14441

I'll add that I've seen Pika at Olmsted Pt. too. So not sure how a warming trend on
our planet is affecting them.
Some more on Pika here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,16081,16081#msg-16081
(ok, just where we took pix and the elevation).

Lyell glacier. Only seen it a few times... but it is shrinking fast from what I have seen.
If you want to get a hold of the people doing some research on the glacier and
what is occuring... I think I can find a number for you to call.
(I think it was University of Colorado)

O, Just remembered... they do have an interpretive sign at Tam. Flat talking about
snow pack:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,29581,29661#msg-29661
(you can look here if you want to zoom in and read the sign)
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Quarter#5536828113882228242

Can't recall much in the valley at the moment about climate change.

This year... I'm pretty sure the vast majority are saying
"Where is global warming when we need it? Will Tioga Rd. ever open!?"

Anyway. Good luck with your research

Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 25, 2011 02:48PM
Hi,

I've been visiting Yosemite Valley for over 30 years annually. The only time I didn't go was back in 1997 of the great valley flood.
To answer your guestions, During the months of March to late May, I had not notice any climate changes. It has been pretty steady during those months I was there.
As for the Visitor Center display, I will be returning to Yosemite as a volunteer in June and will see the display then.
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 26, 2011 07:57AM
There's a lot of old dudes on this forum.
Cat must have their tongues.

Here's the Glacier Studying Equipment:






Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 26, 2011 12:34PM
For me I think the retreat of Yosemite glaciers is the most telling result of global climate change. I'm under the impression that regardless how much snow drops in any one year, once the annual snow load melts off the remaining permanent glaciers still reveal annual retreat every year. Apparently, stopping retreat of the permanent glaciers requires many successive years of new snow that does not completely melt off, thus providing it an opportunity to compact into ice. Recent years of warming have not allowed this compaction to take place. We can experience numerous record snowfall years (like this year) that have no positive effect on the permanent glaciers due to progressively warmer temperatures each decade.
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 26, 2011 01:09PM
While I do think it's useful to study even relatively short-term climate change (last two hundred years or so) and how it effects our environment including plants and wildlife, I think its really hard to speculate on how long-term climate change (in the range of thousand of years) might have effected the environment and wildlife, since most of it is prehistoric by nature.

I bring this up, because the retreat of the Sierra glaciers shouldn't be surprising because according to most climatologist, the earth's last "Little Ice Age" ended around 1850, right around the time when the Sierra and Yosemite was being discovered, explored, and settled by white Americans. So it's logical that the Sierra glaciers started to recede since that time.

That said, one might want to look into how the recent global warming of the past century and a half has affected the parks amphibians, especially the native frogs and toads, though a lot of the decimation of the parks frog population is most likely due to the ill-advised stocking of fish in once fish-less alpine lakes and ponds.
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 26, 2011 01:34PM
Quote
kcnjhnsn
Dear Yosemite Fans,

I am a fellow devotee of the Park and a Master's student in environmental communication at Stanford University. I'm hoping to solicit your help with a project I'm working on with a Stanford professor. I'm exploring the messages that National Parks and Park Service employees are conveying about climate change, using Yosemite as a case study. Our goal is to compile this research in a feature article for a popular science magazine.

I've had the privilege of talking to several Yosemite interpreters about their understanding of climate change as it relates to the Park and their efforts to present that understanding to visitors. Now, I'd like to hear from visitors themselves - that's you! I'm interested in answers to a couple of questions....



You might also want to call or visit Roger Bales of UC Merced to solicite his thoughts:
https://eng.ucmerced.edu/soe/news-events/news/fac-news-bales-snri/

A friend and I happened into Roger and a grad. student in Sept. 2009 while traversing the pass between Roosevelt and Upper McCabe lakes. They were doing a field survey and we had a nice talk with them about their work which, if I remember correctly, had to do with the encroachment of a particular tree species into elevation regions historically unknown and the possible relation of that observation to global warming.



By the way, the surface area of the "permanent" snowfield (it is not a glacier) on the north-facing slope of that pass was roughly 20% of that encountered when I last went through there about 15 years earlier.
Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
May 26, 2011 02:42PM
I usually stay up in Tuolumne meadows, so it might be different elsewhere i nthe park, but here is what I have observed. It is an ongoing issue for a long time since I have been going there for 30+ years:

I have noticed that from 6:00 or so in the morning to around 4:00 in the afternoon it warms up. This is a guess, but it usually warms up into the low 70s or so. Then a strange thing happens. It kinda levels off and gets cooler. The weird part is that around 9:00 PM or so (this time fluctuates) the temperature drop dramatically (is this global cooling?), sometimes dropping into the 30's and even the high 20s sometimes and stays there all night long until 6:00 AM then it warms up again. This happens every time I go up there. It could be the coreolis effect also, but I have not really studied in detail.
Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
June 02, 2011 06:59AM
Quote
telfair ave
"I have noticed that from 6:00 or so in the morning to around 4:00 in the afternoon it warms up. This is a guess, but it usually warms up into the low 70s or so. Then a strange thing happens. It kinda levels off and gets cooler. The weird part is that around 9:00 PM or so (this time fluctuates) the temperature drop dramatically (is this global cooling?), sometimes dropping into the 30's and even the high 20s sometimes and stays there all night long until 6:00 AM then it warms up again. This happens every time I go up there. It could be the coreolis effect also, but I have not really studied in detail."


Your post almost made me spit oatmeal all over my computer screen.
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
June 02, 2011 12:29PM
Quote
snorkus
Quote
telfair ave
"I have noticed that from 6:00 or so in the morning to around 4:00 in the afternoon it warms up. This is a guess, but it usually warms up into the low 70s or so. Then a strange thing happens. It kinda levels off and gets cooler. The weird part is that around 9:00 PM or so (this time fluctuates) the temperature drop dramatically (is this global cooling?), sometimes dropping into the 30's and even the high 20s sometimes and stays there all night long until 6:00 AM then it warms up again. This happens every time I go up there. It could be the coreolis effect also, but I have not really studied in detail."


Your post almost made me spit oatmeal all over my computer screen.

Did that warm it up or cool it off?
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
June 01, 2011 07:42AM
Bumping this up. All the old farts probably fell asleep.

But probably the biggest change that has occurred in The Sierra over the last few
decades has been the wildlife. It's not so much that they are moving up to
higher and higher locations to find food as the shrub and treeline moves up due to
changing climate. It's just their general lack of respect for what is good and right
in this world. A care not for others, the world is mine, get out of my way.
You owe me a living. The rules don't apply to me. That sort of attitude.
This is especially true in the Marmot Band of The Dana Fork and
Marmot Colony of The Tuolumne.

If in your research you could possibly get some monies to help me out in this
endeavor to rid The Sierra of these pests, that would be great.
I'm trying.

Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Stanford student project - climate change in Yosemite
June 01, 2011 07:46AM
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