5 Places To Visit Before They're Lost To Climate Change

Huffington Post - Tyler Moss

As ice caps melt and wildfires rage, scientific assertions that climate change is occurring at a rate faster than formerly expected have become manifest in locales around the world. The effects of global warming have put many of the world's prime travel destinations at risk of suffering serious consequences, with some facing the prospect of vanishing entirely. From the Amazon, to Mumbai, to Napa Valley, here are places to add to your itinerary before they change irrevocably. Photographs from Getty.
1. The Great Barrier Reef
Spanning more than 1,400 miles, the Great Barrier Reef — located off the northeast coast of Australia — is the largest coral reef system in the world. Replete with marine life, the reef draws slews of scuba divers each year. But rising ocean temperatures have caused coral bleaching in vast portions — a condition in which the coral turns white and is prone to mass die-offs. Recent studies have revealed that more than 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has experienced bleaching to some degree.

2. The Alps
This European mountain range has long served as a Shangri-La for skiers, stretching across eight countries and providing some of the most sought-after slopes in the world. With increasing temperatures, however, significant snowmelt continues to shorten the season for winter sports. Many resorts have already begun to compensate by offering spa treatments and outdoor activities like horseback riding or tennis to lure more off-season visitors.

3. The Rhone Valley
Situated in the south of France, the Rhone Valley is among the most vaunted winemaking regions in the world. Covering a corridor of more than 120 miles in length, visitors could spend a full week driving from one tasting to the next, admiring the sprawling vineyards surrounded by mountainous backdrops. But as global temperatures rise, making the environment inhospitable for grapevines, many experts predict production will shrivel and winemakers will creep further north toward cooler climates.

4. Venice
It's impossible to walk the streets of Venice without being seduced by its anachronistic charm: The Adriatic Sea coursing through its canals, the romance of a gondolier's serenade as you float beneath the Bridge of Sighs. In a place so at one with water, locals have come to expect flooding in Piazza San Marco and other parts of the low-lying city — but as ocean levels rise, Venice inches toward more serious inundation. Activists have taken on the challenge, investing in advanced flood gates and other technologies to stymie the impending swells, but only time will tell how these systems fare.
5. The Amazon
The largest rainforest on Earth, the Amazon covers roughly 40 percent of South America. Travelers will find scarlet macaws and blue poison dart frogs living side-by-side with jaguars and brown-throated sloths in the wet broadleaf rainforest. Yet despite its size, climate change has made the Amazon a fragile habitat. Extreme droughts have left tree species throughout the tropical jungle parched, leaving them vulnerable to large-scale dieback — as well as more susceptible to forest fires.


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