Ancient Yellowstone episode 2 – Frozen Archeology: There are places in Greater Yellowstone where the snow never melts, or at least, it never used to.
Climate change is causing Yellowstone’s ice patches to recede, so many archaeological treasures—if not rescued—will disintegrate within days.
Ancient Yellowstone episode 2 – Frozen Archeology
Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872.
Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular. While it represents many types of biomes, the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.
Although Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years, aside from visits by mountain men during the early-to-mid-19th century, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. Management and control of the park originally fell under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of the Interior, the first Secretary of the Interior to supervise the park being Columbus Delano. However, the U.S. Army was eventually commissioned to oversee management of Yellowstone for a 30-year period between 1886 and 1916.
In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than a thousand archaeological sites.
Climate change – Ancient Yellowstone episode 2
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century, humans have had unprecedented impact on Earth’s climate system and caused change on a global scale.
The largest driver of warming is the emission of greenhouse gases, of which more than 90% are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. Fossil fuel burning (coal, oil, and natural gas) for energy consumption is the main source of these emissions, with additional contributions from agriculture, deforestation, and manufacturing. The human cause of climate change is not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing. Temperature rise is accelerated or tempered by climate feedbacks, such as loss of sunlight-reflecting snow and ice cover, increased water vapour (a greenhouse gas itself), and changes to land and ocean carbon sinks.
Temperature rise on land is about twice the global average increase, leading to desert expansion and more common heat waves and wildfires. Increasing rates of evaporation cause more intense storms and weather extremes. Temperature rise is amplified in the Arctic, where it has contributed to melting permafrost, glacial retreat and sea ice loss. Additional warming also increases the risk of triggering critical thresholds called tipping points. Impacts on ecosystems include the relocation or extinction of many species as their environment changes, most immediately in coral reefs, mountains, and the Arctic.
Climate change threatens food security and access to water, leads to economic losses, and is projected to increase displacement of people. It further magnifies risks of flooding, infectious diseases and extreme heat, with the World Health Organization calling climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Even if efforts to minimize future warming are successful, some effects will continue for centuries, including rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification.