Padre Island: possible early casualty of climate changes?
The seas will rise. The storms will increase. Padre Island National Seashore will be irreversibly altered by climate change, a new report says.
On Thursday, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization released a report on the top 25 national parks being changed — or about to be — by trapped greenhouse gasses warming the earth.
“The park service has to indicate that it is serious about this, and so far it has not,” said Stephen Saunders, one of its three principal authors.
According to the report, Padre Island could be one of the first units in the national park system to literally disappear. The low dunes are already losing their protective vegetation as weather patterns change. The sand itself is being pulled offshore as stronger storms become more frequent.
Barrier islands like South Padre are naturally dynamic and normally would disappear eventually in geologic time, but the report predicted climate change will greatly accelerate its destruction.
“Padre Island could be totally submerged by rising seas,” the report states. “Padre Island has the world's longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island, much of it less than three feet above current sea level.”