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Climate change could wipe out California’s Joshua trees by end of century

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Joshua trees, an iconic species of the arid southwestern United States, may totally disappear by the end of the century because of climate change, according to a new study.

A team from the University of California at Riverside used data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to assess the impact of warming on the distribution of Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) in their namesake Joshua Tree National Park.

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The park, which straddles the Colorado and Mojave deserts in southern California, is home to the greatest concentration of the species, which are in fact not trees at all but members of the agave family which can sometimes appear tree-like.

According to the team’s modeling, in an optimistic scenario whereby humanity is able to limit greenhouse emissions to a degree, the trees’ cover would retreat by about 80 percent by end of the 21st century.

But under a “business as usual” scenario, the modeling indicates the complete elimination of a species that dates to the Pleistocene era.

Lynn Sweet, the study’s lead author told the Los Angeles Times that under their pessimistic scenario, the park could see average hot temperatures in summer rise by about five to nine degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 5 degrees Celsius) and three to seven inches (7.5 to 18 centimeters) less rainfall.

“If Joshua trees could survive those conditions, they would already be in them,” said Sweet.

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The Joshua tree, also the name of a seminal U2 album, is said to have been named by a group of Mormon travelers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the 19th century.

They gave it its name because it reminded them of the Biblical figure Joshua raising his hands skyward in prayer.

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Fox News reports wages rose faster under Obama than Trump after his campaign lashes out at predecessor

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In what was possibly a hint to remind people of his legacy this Monday, former President Barack Obama gave a shout out to the anniversary of his signing of the 2009 economic stimulus package.

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history,” Obama tweeted with a photo of his signature on the bill.

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‘Bill Barr is un-American’: The AG’s ex-boss explains his ‘twisted’ worldview — and why he must be ousted

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In a new piece for the Atlantic, a man who once supervised Attorney General Bill Barrpublished an incisive call for the head of the Justice Department to resign while outlining his disturbing view of executive power.

Donald Ayer, the former deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, supervised Barr when he led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1989 and 1990. After Ayer left deputy attorney general position in 1990, Barr replaced him and then became attorney general, a position he returned to in 2019 under President Donald Trump.

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Deputy national security adviser accused by White House officials of being ‘Anonymous’ may be reassigned

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According to a new report from Axios, there's a discussion amongst top Trump officials about reassigning deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council. Coates has been the target of some inside the White House who accuse her of being behind an op-ed in the New York Times -- and later a bestselling book -- which chronicled a resistance movement inside the Trump administration.

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