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Hiker attracts science with global warming data

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Imagine hiking the same 5-mile, 4,158-foot elevation gain trail 1,170 times — that adds up to 11,700 miles and 4,864,860 feet of elevation gained. That would be a big enough accolade, but Arizona hiker David Bertelsen also identified and recorded the condition every plant he saw on the Finger Rock Trail in the Catalina Mountains over a 24-year period.

With over 111,000 observations, scientists are drawn to Bertelsen’s observations, which provide precise data and insight into how global warming and drought have affected the Sonoran desert over the last quarter-century. His detailed conclusions can provide climate-change researchers with historical data they can’t get anywhere else.

Some of Bertelsen’s salient observations include:

Not bad at all for an amateur naturalist. Did we mention that he just turned 65? Bertelsen lost a year of research in 2005 to a broken leg and arm after an accident and triple bypass surgery, but luckily for scientists he vows to continue collecting data “as long as I’m able.” — Ted Alvarez

On 1,170 hikes, same trail, he’s bound to see changes (Arizona Star)

Via GoBlog