Watching Climate Change Through Family Photo Albums

Nature News reports how “Family Albums Highlight Climate Change”, showcasing the pictures of the facts we already know.

Climate researchers and ecologists are usually known for using complex computer simulations to study environmental change. But Boston University researchers are using more humble sources to determine the effects of climate change on local flora and fauna.

For the past three years, Richard Primack and Abraham Miller-Rushing have asked Massachusetts residents with long memories and a record-keeping habit to show how rising temperatures over the decades have changed the nature around them.

The data they have collected from amateur naturalists, farmers, landscape gardeners and photographers show that trees are sprouting leaves earlier in spring, birds are changing their migratory habits, and the patterns of flowers’ blooming is changing.

As I’ve been pouring through and scanning old family history photo albums, I’ve been fascinated with the pictures of family trips to the Columbia Ice Fields in Canada, images of Northern Wisconsin, all over the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges in Washington State, and other trips to national parks throughout the Western United States. While some of these old photographs are within my life time, many are 25-50 years older. When I compare what I’ve photographed today with the photographs and postcards of these famous natural areas from yesteryear, I’m stunned by the changes.

Mount Rainier circa 1940, postcard from the Anderson Family Collection, used with their permission

Mount Rainier circa 1995, photograph copyright Brent VanFossenI will be posting some of those comparisons soon so you can see the differences of what these places looked like then and now.

And if you have images of the Boston area throughout history, contact the Boston University. They are looking for help to show and prove the effect of climate change on their area.

Most Recent Articles by Lorelle VanFossen

About Lorelle VanFossen

Lorelle VanFossen hosts Family History Blog covering her ancestors and related family members. She is one of the top bloggers in the world, and host of the Lorelle on WordPress, providing WordPress and blogging tips for bloggers of all levels. A popular keynote speaker and trainer, she is also editor, producer, contributor, and official disruptive thinker for Bitwire Media which includes WordCast, Making My Life Network, Stories of Our Journeys, Life on the Road, WordCast Conversations, and the very popular WordCast Podcast.
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