What is Climate Change?
Climate change is any signiﬁcant alteration in climate patterns lasting for decades or longer. Climate patterns (e.g., temperature, rain, snow, sea level) vary naturally, but human activity is driving modern climate changes at accelerated rates—negative effects are already being felt within our national parks and to our cultural resources.
What is the NPS doing about Climate Change?
In 2009, the National Park Service began an initiative to consider the impacts of climate change on resources in its network of 397 national parks. The National Park Service’s Southeast Archeological Center is working with scientific partners to consider climate change impacts in planning, and to better prepare for future climate change impacts to
cultural resources in parks.
Presently, scientists cannot predict with certainty the long-term impacts from climate change. However, the National Park Service has developed an adaptation strategy that focuses on identifying appropriate actions related to vulnerable cultural and natural resources before the threat from climate change becomes acute. The Southeast Archeological Center is working with numerous scientific partners to identify those cultural resources most at risk and to determine appropriate courses of action. These actions may include full documentation, relocation, and protection in place.