Yellowstone's climate is changing. Climate is one of the primary drivers of the processes that make an ecosystem look and function the way it does. Weather reflects the short-term conditions of the atmosphere. Climate consists of the long-term averages of daily weather, usually in 30-year periods. Change in climate can greatly alter ecosystems.
Scientists have monitored Yellowstone's climate for decades. Studying climate is complicated and the impacts of climate change are difficult to predict. Current research indicates Yellowstone's temperature will continue to rise over the next century, but the behavior of precipitation is more difficult to predict. Scientists have already documented these changes in Yellowstone:
You can compare historic averages to projected averages for Greater Yellowstone's temperature, precipitation, snow water equivalent, and more with the Greater Yellowstone Area Climate Explorer. Data from weather stations and stream gauges in the greater Yellowstone area are available at The Climate Analyzer.
A continued rise in temperature will fundamentally alter Yellowstone's ecosystem:
Scientists continue to monitor climate in Yellowstone and are developing models to help predict how park resources might respond to changing conditions. Park managers are reducing the park's carbon footprint by helping employees and visitors replace consumptive habits with more sustainable practices and by sharing the best practices and resources with local communities and partners.
Yellowstone will continue to preserve the park's biodiversity, natural processes, and cultural resources, while also protecting the trails and infrastructure that allow visitors to experience those wonders. As climate change unfolds, the park will share stories of how nature and people adapt to our changing environment.