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Places to experience climate change
Though we are surrounded by effects of climate change we never take the time to oberve it.
For the millions of people who visit Yellowstone National Park each year, the sight of Old Faithful can be a disappointment. That geyser, which is famous for erupting at regular intervals, is doing so less frequently these days.
Tourists planning to take in the treasures of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy sometimes have to don boots and walk on elevated wooden planks.
There is some disagreement about whether climate change is a naturally recurring phenomenon or if human activities are a contributing factor. What’s clear to many people, including those who travel around the United States and abroad, is that something is going on with Mother Nature.
Floods, drought, and wildfires caused by climate change
Torrential rainfall is causing flooding where it didn’t use to occur. Searing drought is drying lakes and rivers in some places, and creating conditions for devastating wildfires in others.
Anyone who wishes to take a trip that provides close-up encounters with evidence of the changes that are taking place around the world has a varied list of options. From the Antarctic to Austria to Africa, they span the globe.
Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park isn’t so much anymore
Visitors to Yellowstone are drawn by geysers, wildlife, and magnificent scenery that make it a sightseeing magnet. But warmer weather and less snowfall than in the past have been changing the local environment. One result of recent droughts is a reduction in how often water shoots out of the park’s best-known natural fountain.
The scene is very different in Venice, the city which is perched on more than 100 low-lying islands. In recent years, heavy rains, strong winds, and the rising sea level have combined to make what used to be an occasional acqua alta (“high water”) event a regular occurrence.
Keeping dry from climate change in Venice, Italy
During the past two decades, there have been almost as many high-water inundations as in the previous century. When they happen, people coming to see St, Mark’s Square tug on high rubber boots and make their way over raised wooden “duckboards” to keep dry.
These are among many places around the planet where signs of an increase in the ocean level are evident. Measurements indicate that seas have risen about eight inches in the last century, and the rate has nearly doubled recently.
One contributing factor is the melting of ice and glaciers resulting from rising global temperatures. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration reports that both the Greenland and Antarctic sheets have lost billions of tons of ice.
Canada’s Athabasca Glacier, the most visited in North America, has lost half of its volume during the past 125 years. Scientists say some glaciers in the Austrian Alps are likely to disappear in the next 20 years, and the United Nations climate agency predicts that the last three mountain glaciers in eastern Africa could vanish in that same time frame.
Climate change is devastating majestic Sequoia trees.
Impacts of climate change, whatever their causes, are being increasingly encountered by people in their travels. That’s true in stretches of the American West. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the area in 11 western states that has been devastated by wildfires since 2000 doubled over the previous 17 years. Forest fires in 2021 alone killed thousands of giant Sequoias, adding to the two-year death toll of nearly one-fifth of those majestic trees, the largest in the world.
The sea-level rise is threatening the existence of some island countries that hardly poke above the water. The Marshall Islands, a central Pacific nation that is home to nearly 60,000 people, attracts experienced divers seeking to explore its magnificent offshore coral reefs, and sport fishermen.
The bad news for both them and residents is a World Bank report warning that the projected sea level increase would cause 40 percent of the buildings in the capital of Majuro to be permanently flooded, and some islands in the chain to disappear.
Climate change is making it hotter in Hawaii.
Climate change also has its sights set on one of America's favorite vacation spots. Hawaii is known for its near-perfect weather, but a report from the University of Hawaii's Sea Grant Program says that the state might be unrecognizable in the future. It forecasts higher temperatures, periods of both drought and heavy rainfalls, and resulting beach erosion and damage to infrastructure.
Perhaps the most obvious change to visitors will be the rise in sea levels, causing most of Waikiki and its famous beach to be underwater or highly eroded. Some beach loss already has been observed on the north shore of Oahu.
Not surprisingly, the impacts of climate change aren’t limited to the human race. Wildlife around the is globe also is experiencing it in both direct and less obvious ways.
Climate change has Polar Bears pondering their future.
Polar Bears, which are listed as Endangered Species, need Arctic sea ice to hunt for seals and forage for habitat. Loss of it to warming is threatening them, as well as walruses and other cold-weather mammals.
Another endangered species, the sea turtle, is challenged when the rising sea level, increasing temperatures, and more frequent storms threaten their nesting sites.
In northern Kenya, which has been suffering from drought for over a year, the skeletons of giraffes and camels dot the terrain.
Whatever its causes, the results of climate change are impacting places, people, and wildlife around the country and the world. Travelers may see and perhaps experience some of these changes as they journey to destinations near and far.
For more information about the impact of climate change on tourism, log onto https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/how-is-tourism-affected-by-climate-change.html
After gallivanting throughout the United States and to more than 75 other countries around the world, and writing about what he sees, does and learns, Victor Block retains the travel bug. He firmly believes that travel is the best possible education, and claims he still has a lot to learn. He loves to explore new destinations and cultures, and his stories about them have won a number of writing awards.