That much, huh? That is impressive!
You’re smiling now, but just wait till my lawyers get through with
Dr. Farnheid, you may find this information impressive, but I
find it alarming! Changes of this sort are often caused by human
activities, such as using a river’s water as a coolant
in power plants and then returning it to its natural environment at higher
temperatures. Cooling water from a large electric power plant would show
a similar temperature increase to that which we observed in the Firehole
River, but the situation here is even more serious. Power plants use only
a small portion of the water in a stream, but in the Firehole River, all
the water is heated, meaning there are no cool places in which living
creatures can hide!
Research has shown that only small changes in a stream’s temperature—one
or two degrees Celsius—may have serious environmental impacts. These
include lowered oxygen levels in the water, changes in the stream’s
ecosystem, and direct damage to living aquatic creatures. But, surely,
I don’t need to lecture you on the consequences
of thermal pollution!