Climate Impact

Aerial view of sand from portion of a barrier island, swept into a blooming fan shape underwater
Breach at Fire Island National Seashore after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. John Vahey / NPS Photo

National park managers are tasked with fulfilling the National Park Service (NPS) mission: to preserve “unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations." As population growth, coastal development, and the ongoing climate crisis continue at rapid rates, however, park managers are faced with significant challenges.

Along the North Atlantic coast, substantial population growth and infrastructural developments threaten park resources, including those at the eight national parks within our Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN). Issues common to NCBN parks include air and water pollution, watershed degradation, shoreline erosion, invasive species, and recreational overuse. The global climate crisis has further increased the vulnerability of our coastal parks. Sea levels are rising faster, alongside hotter air and ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and more frequent and severe storm events. All of these climate impacts take a toll on national parks and impact the relationship visitors have with our parks.

Below are resources related to climate impact on national parks. Explore them to learn how NPS is preparing to protect parks in increasingly vulnerable times at a national scale. NCBN also monitors weather and climate at each of our parks. Our findings are available below.

Related Resources

Last updated: March 25, 2022