PNW in Peril

     The Pacific Northwest is widely known for its verdant forests and sparkling rivers. However, this well known lush landscape may be in danger due to the imminent threat of climate change. The beauty of the Northwest should be preserved in its full glory. To comprehend the impact that climate change could have on the unique environment and ecosystem in the PNW, the photos below encapsulate the beauty of Northwest nature and what climate change could cost us.

     The PNW area has a rainy and wet climate almost all year round. Olympic National Park in Washington contains Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in America. With temperatures on the West Coast area rising 1.3 degrees, snowfall is decreasing and Oregon and Washington face a difficult struggle.

     Water in these two states is naturally stored in snowpacks which melt in the spring and summer and fill the streams and rivers again. This natural process may be disrupted by the higher temperatures, which are causing much earlier springs and the melting of snowpacks almost 3-4 weeks earlier than average.  In winter, the temperatures have caused more rain in lower elevations, this mixed with the melting snowpacks in late winter/ early spring are causing a significant rise in floods and a threat to many towns near rivers that receive the melted snow.

     Worldwide, sea levels are predicted to rise 1-4 feet. In Washington and Oregon, this is going to cause erosion and threats to coastal highways and towns. The sea levels will also affect the unique sea animals and birds that live around the coast. The delicate ecosystem of Puget Sound could be significantly affected by the rising sea levels.

     The threat of wildfires has also significantly inreased throughout the West. With temperatures rising throughout the globe,droughts could become more common leading to wildfires. The fires are bruning down trees that protect lower elevtion hills and mountains. 

     Without the tree barriers, landslides will become more of a concern for many. This can lead to road blockages and endangering homes. 

     Many of the effects of climate change are terrifying and many can feel helpless during this time. However, we must appreciate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and not take it for granted.

     The beauty of the Northwest with its breathtaking waterfalls, renowned beaches, and the scenic Highway 101 that winds around the entire west coast nees to be preserved for the future. This area has such a unique ecosystem for Northern America, it is important to take care of it. 

     Washington has taken action by creating regulations to help redue emissions in the state. Many people at the University of Washington have also been studying climate change specifically in the PNW. Oregon has created a Coal-Clean Law and is expected to have removed coal created electricity by 2030.