Climate change could 'fundamentally alter' US forests

September 10, 2014
The top of Pikes Peak mountain in the Rocky Mountains, within Pike National Forest, on June 8, 2013

Wildfires, insects and drought are crippling forests in the western United States' iconic Rocky Mountains, scientists warned on Wednesday, urging more efforts to stop global warming.

"If left unchecked, the climate change that is driving this triple assault could fundamentally alter these forests as we know them," said the by the Union for Concerned Scientists.

Researchers found that in the American West, "temperatures have risen on average about two degrees Fahrenheit (about one degree Celsius) since 1895 and drought has become more widespread."

Their study, based on data from the US Forest Service, projects for the first time that if emissions continue at recent rates, the land area that is favorable to iconic conifers like the lodgepole and ponderosa pine will decline by 80-90 percent by 2060.

Area where Engelmann spruce can grow will drop by about 66 percent, and for Douglas fir by about 58 percent, it said.

"Heat and , beetle bark infestations and are killing trees across widespread areas in the Rocky Mountains," said Jason Funk, report co-author and senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"The wildfires, infestations and heat and drought stress are the symptoms; is the underlying disease."

Among the top concerns to forest managers are bark beetle outbreaks, which have "killed trees on a larger scale than ever recorded," the report said.

"In the past 15 years, the beetles have killed trees on western forest lands nearly equal to the size of Colorado," it said.

Wildfires are becoming more common, resulting in a 73 percent rise in annual frequency from 1984 to 2011.

Even more troubling, experts have seen trees die at twice the normal rate for no apparent cause, other than increasing heat and dryness, the report said.

"So far, we have had relatively modest climate changes, but they have already jolted our forests," said Stephen Saunders, report co-author and president of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.

"If we continue changing the , we may bring about much more fundamental disruption of these treasured national landscapes."

The area includes Glacier Mountain, Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone National Park.

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27 comments

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gkam
3.1 / 5 (15) Sep 10, 2014
Our forests will die unless we can convince conservatives they will get richer if we save the trees.
PsycheOne
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 10, 2014
Subliminal message: global warming is real.
Fact: it got warmer; then, 18 years ago, it stopped getting warmer.
rockwolf1000
4.6 / 5 (11) Sep 10, 2014
Subliminal message: global warming is real.
Fact: it got warmer; then, 18 years ago, it stopped getting warmer.


But it is still warmer than it was 18 years ago AND there is less ice. We have not returned to the temperature that existed before it started warming.

So you would agree that we are living on a warmer planet now then before?

If you had a beverage in a glass that was also filled with ice and the ice kept getting smaller while the liquid temperature itself remained stable would you say that your drink is not getting warmer?

Would you conclude that although the ice is melting your beverage is not absorbing heat?

Would you continue to think that once all the ice is melted there is no chance the temperature of your beverage would begin to rise?

I spend a lot of time on glaciers and glaciated mountains so don't try to tell me they aren't shrinking. They are shrinking.

When was the last time you were on a glacier?
Shootist
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 10, 2014
Climate change could 'fundamentally alter' US forests
and has before.

"the polar bears will be fine". - Freeman Dyson
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (9) Sep 10, 2014
I spend a lot of time on glaciers and glaciated mountains so don't try to tell me they aren't shrinking. They are shrinking.
--rockturd
I would say your brain was shrinking, but then that would imply you had one.
rockwolf1000
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 10, 2014
I spend a lot of time on glaciers and glaciated mountains so don't try to tell me they aren't shrinking. They are shrinking.
--rockturd
I would say your brain was shrinking, but then that would imply you had one.


Implying that I have a brain would of course be correct and be a complete deviation from your efforts to always be wrong which you do remarkably well.
rockwolf1000
4.5 / 5 (8) Sep 10, 2014
@ignoracle

If you weren't so blatantly stupid and ignorant you would recognize that everyone's brain does in fact shrink with age. So not only is your post mind numbingly stupid and redundant it serves to show others how low your IQ really is and that everyone should ignore the irrelevant ramblings of a bed-wetting sissy such as yourself.

http://www.ncbi.n...2596698/
rockwolf1000
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 10, 2014
Climate change could 'fundamentally alter' US forests
and has before.

"the polar bears will be fine". - Freeman Dyson


You never did answer my earlier question.

Is Dyson a gentle lover or does he treat you like the dirty little bitch you really are?
aksdad
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 10, 2014
The Union of Concerned Scientists is a left-wing political organization not a scientific body. Virtually all its members are not scientists.

This report tries to draw a direct link between regional droughts in the U.S. and "greenhouse gas" emissions in the U.S. and worldwide.

Droughts are caused by persistent regional high pressure, not "global" warming and certainly not by carbon dioxide or methane emissions. In the case of the Southwestern U.S., the dominant influence appears to be the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

If you compare a graph of CO2 emissions to a graph of drought in the Southwestern U.S. you see no correlation whatsoever. See for yourself:

NOAA CO2 graph (1958-2014):
http://www.esrl.n..._mlo.png

NOAA drought graph (1900-2014):
http://www1.ncdc....0714.gif

FYI, greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. declined in the last decade.
aksdad
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 10, 2014
Their study...projects for the first time that if emissions continue at recent rates...

Apparently the UCS isn't aware that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have declined in recent years.

http://www.epa.go...ort.html

They also appear to be unaware that the current drought in parts of the Southwestern U.S. is not unusual. Past droughts have been much more severe. See here:

http://www.drough...tic-data
GSK2000
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 10, 2014
@aksdad, good on ya mate! Droughts actually decrease in warmer climes and increase when it gets cooler, especially during solar minima; see link:

http://www.ncbi.n...23716648

As far as this article is concerned there is a mountain of evidence contradicting this tripe:

[1] Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. …….Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analyzed to remove the effect of variations in rainfall, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%.…..

http://onlinelibr...abstract

http://onlinelibr...abstract

Forest Density increasing...

http://environmen...ws/46624
http://www.niva.n...re-klima

What were they talking about??
GSK2000
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 10, 2014
"Wildfires are becoming more common, resulting in a 73 percent rise in annual frequency from 1984 to 2011." That's funny...

Data and study on wildfires
http://www.nifc.g.../nfn.htm

http://onlinelibr...abstract

"Abstract. Despite increasing temperatures since the end of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1850), wildfire frequency has decreased as shown in many field studies from North America and Europe. We believe that global warming since 1850 may have triggered decreases in fire frequency in some regions and future warming may even lead to further decreases in fire frequency..."

This article is so bad it's not even wrong, but why?...oh, yea: for the money!
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 10, 2014
I spend a lot of time on glaciers and glaciated mountains so don't try to tell me they aren't shrinking. They are shrinking.
--rockturd
I'm sure you haven't considered the fact that the glaciers are trying to shrink away from the turd (you) standing on them.
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 10, 2014
@ignoracle

If you weren't so blatantly stupid and ignorant you would recognize that everyone's brain does in fact shrink with age. So not only is your post mind numbingly stupid and redundant it serves to show others how low your IQ really is and that everyone should ignore the irrelevant ramblings of a bed-wetting sissy such as yourself.

http://www.ncbi.n...2596698/
--rockturd
Yes, your brain would be shrinking, if you had one. So, thanks for confirming my statement that you are a brainless turd. Wow, so dumb.
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 10, 2014
Is Dyson a gentle lover or does he treat you like the dirty little bitch you really are?
--rockturd
Ok, calm down.
Now tell us everything that priest said and did to you.
gkam
2.8 / 5 (13) Sep 10, 2014
Antigoricle, we have that same old problem of you not answering my question regarding AGW and the acidification of the oceans.

What is your take on the loss of copepod shells, and the potential consequences for the Marine Food Chain? Will it lead to the death of the oceans, like in Soylent Green?

Already?
rockwolf1000
4.6 / 5 (10) Sep 11, 2014
Antigoricle, we have that same old problem of you not answering my question regarding AGW and the acidification of the oceans.

What is your take on the loss of copepod shells, and the potential consequences for the Marine Food Chain? Will it lead to the death of the oceans, like in Soylent Green?

Already?


He's still trying to figure out a way to fit turd, lone neuron and AGW chicken little into his answer. Those are the best insults his damaged cerebellum could muster though he does consider them quite clever.

Are you really expecting to have a logical discourse with that fool?
gkam
3.1 / 5 (15) Sep 11, 2014
"Are you really expecting to have a logical discourse with that fool?"

Of course not. He does not have sufficient science to debate. I just want everybody else to know there are rational folk with good educations who can point out his silliness, driven by political prejudice.
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 11, 2014
What a joke.
The US has been cooling since the 1930s
http://www.giss.n...nsen_07/
gkam
2.9 / 5 (12) Sep 11, 2014
http://www.climat...globally

Let us get our information from professional sources, not political ones.
Vietvet
4.3 / 5 (11) Sep 11, 2014
What a joke.
The US has been cooling since the 1930s
http://www.giss.n...nsen_07/


How many times do you have to reminded that your link is from 1999, that the link confirms GLOBAL warming and that the U.S. is only 2% of the world?
antigoracle
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 11, 2014
How many times must I remind you AGW Chicken Little morons, that this article is about - Global Warming affecting the forests in the US, yet the US has been cooling since the 1930s
thermodynamics
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 11, 2014
AntiEm said:
How many times must I remind you AGW Chicken Little morons, that this article is about - Global Warming affecting the forests in the US, yet the US has been cooling since the 1930s


And how many times do we have to remind you that climate change is about more than a regional trend. It takes into account variations in micro-climates which include precipitation, temperature, wind speeds, onset of spring and fall, and many other variables. The people who study the forests have reported changes in insects, rainfall, and temperatures for micro-climates in US and Canadian forests. These are changing in ways you cannot see from an aggregate measurement. Should I listen to those who study the forests or you? I'm sticking with the guys who are out in the forests or up on the glaciers (like RockWolf) not you.
Vietvet
4.4 / 5 (9) Sep 11, 2014
How many times must I remind you AGW Chicken Little morons, that this article is about - Global Warming affecting the forests in the US, yet the US has been cooling since the 1930s


"Results show that over the last 50 years, the average global air temperature has increased about 1 ĚŠ F, while the coldest winter night averages about 7 ĚŠ F warmer."

Cooling since 1930's?

Warming has already impacted American forests.

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp
antigoracle
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 12, 2014
Forest fire prevention methods in the US and Canada is the main reasons for pine beetles and the increase in wildfires we now see.
http://www.pc.gc....ec5.aspx

The US has been cooling since the 1930s, during which it led the world in GHG emissions.
http://www.giss.n...nsen_07/
Vietvet
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 12, 2014
"His research showed that climate change was causing temperatures to rise in the cold mountain elevations where the whitebark pine grow, creating ripe conditions for the destructive beetle to spread."

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp

Vietvet
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 12, 2014
@anti keeps posting a fifteen year old link, either through stupidity or malice, though I think it's both.

http://data.giss....ig.D.gif

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