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posted Nov 11, 2013, 3:36 PM by David Khorram   [ updated Nov 12, 2013, 10:22 AM by David Khorram ]
Love Yosemite? Leave it Alone
Yosemite National Park

                                        NEW PLAN TO PROTECT THE PARK WILL CUT FACILITIES LIKE BIKE RENTALS AND RAFTING

By Ruth Brown

(NEWSER) – The National Park Service is under pressure to help protect and restore the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. The catch: those who love it most will be able to use it less. The Park Service wants to remove horse, bicycle, and raft rental facilities, as well as swimming pools and an ice rink, in order to reduce traffic and add 200 acres of meadows to the park. But the plan has divided park lovers, between those who think it goes too far and those who believe it doesn't go far enough, the New York Times reports.

Rep. Tom McClintock, whose district includes Yosemite, criticized the plan as pandering to "the most radical and nihilistic fringe of the environmental left," while the leader of Friends of Yosemite Valley believes it should have cut 30 or 40 more facilities. The head of Yosemite for Everyone wants to protect part of the river, but doesn't want to lose things like bike rentals. "We want the amenities and recreational activities that have been there for 150 years to continue," she says. But as an associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association points out, plenty of things that used to be enjoyed in the park aren't around anymore for the greater good—like park rangers feeding the bears.

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Arctic Temperatures Highest in at Least 44,000 Years
By Douglas Main
As ice caps like this one, nicknamed Sputnik, melt, they expose tiny plants that have been frozen there for millennia, giving clues to the past climate.

 As ice caps like this one, nicknamed Sputnik, melt, they expose tiny plants that have been frozen there for millennia, giving clues to the past climate. Pin It As ice caps like this one, nicknamed Sputnik, melt, they expose tiny plants that have been frozen there for millennia, giving clues to the past climate. Plenty of studies have shown that the Arctic is warming and that the ice caps are melting, but how does it compare to the past, and how serious is it? New research shows that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic over the last century are the highest in the last 44,000 years, and perhaps the highest in 120,000 years.

"The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is," Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a joint statement from the school and the publisher of the journal Geophysical Researcher Letters, in which the study by Miller and his colleagues was published online this week. "This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

The study is the first to show that current Arctic warmth exceeds peak heat there in the early Holocene, the name for the current geological period, which began about 11,700 years ago. During this "peak" Arctic warmth, solar radiation was about 9 percent greater than today, according to the study.

Miller and his colleagues gauged Arctic temperatures by looking at gas bubbles trapped in ice cores (cylinders drilled from the ice that show layers of snow laid down over time) taken from the region, which allows scientists to reconstruct past temperature and levels of precipitation. They paired this with radiocarbon dating of clumps of moss taken from a melting ice cap on Canada's Baffin Island. Their analysis shows that these plants have been trapped in the ice for at least 44,000 years, and perhaps as long as 120,000 years. Taken together, that data suggest temperatures in the region haven't been this high since perhaps as long as 120,000 years ago, according to the study.

The Arctic has been heating up for about a century, but the most significant warming didn't start until the 1970s, Miller said in the statement. "And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning," he added. "All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming."

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