Residents of San Francisco’s oceanside neighborhoods may complain about it, but the city’s legendary fog does more than just provide character — it also protects nearby redwood forests. Now researchers from the University of California, Berkeley are claiming that the fog has lessened by 33% over the past 100 years, and climate change may be the culprit.

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According to the researchers, the fog is decreasing because of a reduction in the temperature difference between the sea and the land. A cool coast and warm interior is a signature characteristic of the local climate.

Weather records show that the number of hours of fog has dropped by about three hours per day since 1901, and if the trend continues it could be catastrophic for coastal redwoods (sequoia sempervirens). That’s because the fog prevents water loss during the summer. The change in fog might not kill mature redwoods, but it will stop new trees from thriving.

So if the threat of rising seas and erratic weather hasn’t been enough to convince you to take action against climate change, maybe the loss of some of the most striking trees in the world will.

+ UC Berkeley

Via UK Telegraph