Science & Technology

  • Adult female walruses on ice floe with young in waters of the Eastern Chukchi Sea, Alaska, face the threat of melting sea ice. (S.A. Sonsthagen/USGS)
  • Forest die-off in the America Southwest is projected to occur more frequently due to the impact of a warmer world. (Craig D.Allen/USGS)
  • The Meltwater stonefly is the first insect species being considered for listing due to climate change. (Joe Giersch/USGS)
  • Scientists predict that marshes in the Plum Island Estuary in Massachusetts will submerge under a conservative sea-level rise scenario. (Matthew Kirwan/USGS)
  • A USGS scientist shoots a repeat photograph of Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park to illustrate glacial recession due to impacts of climate change. (Lisa McKeon, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center)
  • Climate change projections in the Sprague River Basin, Oregon predict indicate a steady increase in temperature progressing through the 21st century, generally resulting in snow pack reductions, changes to the timing of snow melt, altered stream flows, an
  • In the drier Arizona upland plant communities some species will likely decline with forecasted climate while cacti may well increase in abundance and range. (Sarah Studd/National Park Service)
  • Climate change and warming temperatures affect all landscapes high and low – including these delicate alpine meadow ecosystems in Yosemite National Park, California. (Ben Young Landis/USGS)
  • Some Polar bears in the Arctic can swim more than 300 kilometers at a stretch. They depend on ice sheets which are in decline. (Mike Lockhart/USGS)
  • The Spectacled Eider has declined by 96 percent at a primary breeding area in Alaska because of declining ice and warming temperatures. The species is listed as threatened. (USGS)
  • These subsiding marshes in the Mississippi River Delta are important habitat for wildlife and serve as protective buffers against storms and hurricanes. (K. L. McKee/USGS)

U.S. Ecosystems Threatened by Climate Change

Published December 21, 2012

Natural ecosystems in the United States are under greater stress from climate change than at any previous time in human history, according to a new assessment by academic institutions public and private agencies. The report says these stressed ecosystems are also stressing wild plant and animal species and threatening the nation’s biodiversity.


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