Even California’s Sonoran Desert is threatened by climate change

By Brooke Staggs | The Mercury News |

THE MERCURY NEWS - The same climate changes known to be reshaping mountain ecosystems in places like the Alps and Yosemite also are driving alarming new patterns in the Sonoran Desert near Palm Springs, according to the latest findings from a long-running study by UC Riverside.

If temperatures continue to rise and droughts continue to become more severe, the study suggests that portions of the Sonoran and similar deserts someday could become barren, with little plant or animal life.

“These ecosystems are incredibly fragile, actually,” said Tesa Madsen-Hepp, an ecology doctoral candidate at UCR and first author of the study. “They’re not super resilient, and they are reaching their limits.”



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