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Time for a Vacation? Climate Change and the Human Clock

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Me. Source: Michael Appleton, NY Times

A recent study, discussed in this article from the New York Times, has found that National Park attendance has shifted by an average of about four days over the past 30 years, most likely in response to climate change.  The study was published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, comparing temperatures and attendance records from 1979 to 2008 for nine parks experiencing significant temperature changes.  It is believed to be the first study to examine behavioral response to temperature changes over a long period of time.  To assess whether or not temperature changes were truly responsible for this shift, these parks were then compared with parks which have experienced minimal temperature changes, all of which saw little to no change in the average timing of visitation. Biologist Dr. Lauren Buckley suggests that human behavioral shifts are comparable to those of other species, suggesting that people are already subconsciously changing their behaviors even though many still do not believe in global warming.

Gary Monitz

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