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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Less fog is tough on redwoods, study says

John Driscoll/The Times-Standard
The old-timers are right, and now there's proof: It ain't as foggy as it used to be in Humboldt County.

Two University of California at Berkeley scientists have done the painstaking work to show that coastal summers see a third less fog than they did 100 years ago -- and that the region's great redwoods appear to be worse off because of it. It's laid out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by James Johnstone of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and Todd Dawson of the Department of Integrative Biology.

”The fog record reveals substantial year-to-year changes since the mid-20th century,” the pair write in the article.

The study looked at more than 100 years of records at 114 weather stations along the West Coast, and at hourly measurements of cloud ceiling heights from 1951 to 2008. It also considered evidence about the coast redwood's range. That range, it's been understood, is related to coastal fog frequency, and researchers see it changing as the climate changes.

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