Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hikers Are Noticing Change
A hike in Arizona has noticed plant migrations on his beloved Mount Kimball.
After scaling a Catalina Mountains hiking trail more than 1,000 times over 20 years, David Bertelsen has turned pleasure into hard science.
Bertelsen's observations of thousands of flowering plants on the Finger Rock Trail led researchers to conclude that dozens of varieties are blooming at higher elevations than used to occur.
This phenomenon, documented in staggering detail, was discovered by an unusual research method in the annals of science: a weekly 4,158-foot trek to a mountaintop. In this case, the peak is the 7,255-foot Mount Kimball, lurking just behind the Catalinas' front range.
Bertelsen's findings suggest that global warming is causing the plants' flowering range to move uphill, said one of two University of Arizona researchers who worked with Bertelsen on a study published last week in a scientific journal.
Bertelsen, a retired probation officer, is what many researchers call a citizen scientist. It's a term he dislikes but that's coming into vogue nationally, as universities and governments enlist average folk to help them track the effects of climate change on plant and animal life.

Bertlesen has been climbing the mountain for almost 30 years. Just another sign of the global climate crisis.

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