Record-breaking heat waves and drought have left West Coast rivers lethally hot for salmon, literally cooked millions of mussels and clams in their shells and left forests primed to burn. The extraordinary severity of 2021’s heat and drought, and its fires and floods, has many people questioning whether climate change, fueled by human actions, is progressing even faster than studies have predicted and what that means for the future.
A recent series of five papers in the journal Ecosphere presents more than 25 case studies from these sites, providing a unique perspective on the changes underway and what’s likely ahead as the planet continues to warm.
Here are snapshots of what we’re seeing firsthand in the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research Network sites, from the effect of increasing fires in Oregon’s Cascades to shifting marine life off the coast of Maine, and surprising resilience in Baltimore’s urban forests. Read more …
Image: Blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) have increasingly been sighted north of their historic range. The dots represent some of the confirmed sightings since 2012. Scientists at Plum Island Ecosystems Long-Term Ecological Research Site have been documenting their shift. Credit: The Conversation/David S. Johnson