Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is climate change altering humans' vacation plans?

Date:
December 7, 2011
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
Researchers have found peak attendance in US national parks that have experienced climate change is happening earlier, compared to 30 years ago.

Plants' and animals' seasonal cycles, such as flowering dates and migration patterns, have shifted in recent decades due to climate change. Now a new study seems to indicate that some human weather-related behavior also is being influenced by global warming.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found peak attendance in U.S. national parks that have experienced climate change is happening earlier, compared to 30 years ago.

According to the study recently published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, of the nine parks that experienced significant increases in mean spring temperatures since 1979, seven also saw shifts in the timing of peak attendance. For example, peak attendance at Grand Canyon National Park shifted from July 4 in 1979 to June 24 in 2008. Over the same period of time at Mesa Verde National Park, peak attendance changed from July 10 to July 1. The average shift was four days.

In contrast, of the 18 parks without significant temperature changes, only three exhibited attendance shifts.

"While the public continues to debate whether global warming is real, it appears that they are already adjusting their behavior," said Lauren Buckley, Ph.D., an assistant biology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. "Visiting parks earlier may not be a big deal, but it may serve as a bellwether for more severe human adjustments required to cope with climate change."

"We can't say for sure that global warming is causing this swing in visitation trends," Buckley said. "But this discovery does complement rapidly accumulating evidence showing how other organisms have had to alter their behavior in response to climate change.

"National and state park agencies may need to plan for shifts in when users and tourists visit, as well as how wildlife respond to changes in the environment."

She acknowledged that other factors -- such as population changes, economic trends, park popularity and travel costs -- influence park visitor numbers. However, those elements are more likely to have an impact on total annual visits, rather than affect the timing and size of trends at the monthly and seasonal scale, as observed in this study.

She noted that the findings highlight a long-term, chronic shift in human behavior. Existing studies related to global warming and human behavior have mainly focused on the potential impact of extreme events and disasters, such as droughts and floods.

Meanwhile, Buckley also is investigating whether climate change is driving alterations in other aspects of human behavior, from consumption of certain types of seasonal foods to shifts in birth rates. Her analyses are ongoing.

The study, "Footprints of climate change in U.S. national park visitation," was co-written by Madison S. Foushee, formerly an undergraduate researcher in Buckley's lab, now a student in the UNC School of Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Is climate change altering humans' vacation plans?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206115250.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2011, December 7). Is climate change altering humans' vacation plans?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206115250.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Is climate change altering humans' vacation plans?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206115250.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins