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In Brief

Climate Change Threatens Iconic National Parks

(Image credit: Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher)

Climate change could put some of the country's most iconic landmarks and national parks at risk from flooding, sea level rise and wildfires, according to a new report.

The study published this month by the Union of Concerned Scientists focused on 30 sites — including Ellis Island in New York, the Florida Everglades and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado — that are imperiled by rising sea levels, coastal flooding, erosion and wildfires. Authorities at some parks, such as Ellis Island, have already taken steps to ward off such damage. For instance, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, which was the tallest brick building in the world when it was built in 1870, was moved inland in 1999 to protect it from rising sea levels.

But other stunning or historic sites are completely unprepared for future disasters, according to the report.

This isn't the first report to warn of climate change's threat to national parks. Another study released in January by the National Park Service found that sea level rise and storm surges put at least 100 national parks at risk. 

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Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News,, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.