From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published February 15, 2010 05:21 PM

Decline in fog threatens California's redwoods

A surprising new study finds that during the past century the frequency of fog along California's coast has declined by approximately three hours a day. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the researchers are concerned that this decrease in fog threatens California's giant redwoods and the unique ecosystem they inhabit.

"As fog decreases, the mature redwoods along the coast are not likely to die outright, but there may be less recruitment of new trees; they will look elsewhere for water, high humidity and cooler temperatures," explains coauthor Todd E. Dawson, professor of integrative biology and University of California, Berkeley professor of integrative biology with the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM).


"What does that mean for the current redwood range and that of the plants and animals with them?" he adds.
Evaluating data from airports along the northern California coast, researchers were able to find a steady link in the occurrence of coastal fog and large temperature differences between coast and inland areas. Then by examining temperature data from 114 stations up and down the Pacific Coast, the researchers found that the temperature contrasts between coast and inland areas had shrunk over the past century leading to a decline in fog.

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