Photo: Getty

The resistance is on a roll. Fresh off the small victory of the NASA administrator saying accurate things about climate change, the National Park Service has released a report on climate change that mentions climate change.

Last month, Reveal obtained a draft of a National Park Service report on sea level rise that showed mentions to human-caused climate change had been edited out of the document. The final report was released last week with no press release or public announcement, but miraculously, with all climate change references intact, according to a followup piece by Reveal.

It’s not clear why the references were initially deleted by a career civil servant, but it’s hardly the first instance of Trump’s Department of Interior attempting to disappear climate change policies or ignore science in decision making. In this case Maria Caffrey, a University of Colorado scientist who worked on the report for five years, pushed back. And in the end, she won. Caffrey told Reveal that she was “extremely happy” the report was published with references to scientifically accurate information intact.

The report takes sea level rise projections and downscales them to the park level for 119 units managed by the National Park Service out to 2030, 2050, and 2100. It also includes maps showing what storm surge would look like under different tide and hurricane wind speed scenarios. This information is basic stuff that park planners need ASAP. 

What storm surge would look like for Assateague Island National Seashore at high tide and Category 4 winds.
Image: National Park Service Climate Change Response Program (Flickr

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“Ongoing changes in relative sea levels and the potential for increasing storm surges due to anthropogenic climate change and other factors present challenges to national park managers,” the report states in the executive summary.

In Boston Harbor, it’s historic monuments that are threatened. In Everglades, its one of the world’s most unique ecosystems, that also protects freshwater resources for South Florida. Both have already been battered by a combination of sea level rise and powerful storms in the past year (in Boston’s case, a spate of winter nor’easters, in Everglades’ case, Hurricane Irma). Protecting language linking sea level rise to human carbon emissions ensures the scientific integrity of the report is sound.

“This work continues to keep the U.S. at the cutting edge of international efforts to understand and manage climate impacts on cultural and natural heritage, and protected areas,” Adam Markham, the deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ climate and energy program, wrote in a blog post. “It’s a pity that the DOI [Department of Interior] seems to be doing everything it can to make this report invisible, and that some of the climate scientists involved had to fight so hard to maintain the scientific integrity of their work.”