Climate change could cause "fires and floods" in the Yorkshire Dales, experts say (From The Northern Echo)
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Climate change could cause "fires and floods" in the Yorkshire Dales, experts say
THE impact of climate change on the Yorkshire Dales could mean more floods, wildfires and visitors, experts say.
Native species of wildlife could be threatened and traditional hay meadows could suffer from droughts as winters get warmer and wetter and summers get drier and hotter.
The report was compiled by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and other concerned groups.
Gary Smith, YDNPA director of conservation and community, said climate change would have an enormous impact on the state of the park in years to come.
He added: “It’s not possible to point to specific things and say categorically that they are a result of climate change - the natural world is too complex with too much short term noise.
“Those who wish to, though, might point to the recent increase in severe weather events; rise in tree disease; arrival of new species of birds, insects etc.
“What we can do is point to what the scientific evidence to date suggests is likely to happen in the future.”
Potential consequences of climate change include:
• Warmer summers leading to an increase in summer visitors.
• Higher rainfall and more frequent flooding, including storm damage to bridges and visitor attractions.
• An increased need for winter water storage to balance summer water shortages.
• Drier summers affecting species such as white clawed crayfish; aquatic moss; liverworts and stonefly.
• Changes in land use, with a switch from livestock to arable and forage crops such as maize.
Other possible changes identified in the report include more trees appearing in the landscape as livestock requires more shelter, and gorges, waterfalls and rivers changing with drier conditions in the summer leading to the loss of the white water spectacle.
YDNPA is raising awareness of the issues as part of national Climate Change Week, which runs until Sunday (March 10).
To help the fight against climate change, the authority has launched a huge scheme to restore its vast blanket bogs to prevent further erosion of the peat resource, which stores large amounts of carbon.
Officials say that if the peat is exposed, the carbon will escape into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a key cause of climate change.