Areas in the United States full of national parks — like Alaska or the American Southwest — will be the scene of the greatest heat gains and rainfall declines in the future, NBC News reported.
A new study found that recorded temperature increases in the protected zones was twice as high, from 1895 to 2010, as temperature increases in the the rest of the United States. And those greater temperature increases would be exacerbated through the end of the century, if the United States and the world do nothing to reduce the level of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, the researchers found.
The study, completed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin, looked at historic temperature increases from 1895 through the 21st century. Researchers then projected temperature hikes through the year 2100 and did the same for rainfall totals in all 50 states.
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Using previous data that they aggregated and reassessed, the researchers concluded that under the worst-case scenario, no reduction in earth-warming greenhouse gases, temperatures would increase between 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit and 16.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The most severe increases would hit Alaska’s North Slope, where grizzly bears, caribou, polar bears and other sensitive species make their homes.