Shaped by Water (04:51)
Hang glider Jeff Shapiro launches from atop Glacier Point for a view of the park. Enough snow accumulates in the mountains to provide more than 30% of California’s fresh water; the snowpack is shrinking as global temperatures rise.
American Pika (03:20)
The pika is a cousin of the rabbit. It does not hibernate and lives in some of the harshest climates on Earth. It gathers food for a long winter, but rising temperatures lead to a declining snowpack.
Climbing El Capitan (04:29)
Shapiro and geologist Roger Putnam scale the vertical rock formation. Putnam describes the forces that shaped the iconic structure.
Sequoia National Park (06:13)
Temperatures continue to rise, and forests die at an unprecedented rate. More than 100 million trees have died across the state, worsening another problem. These destructive events are vital to the reproduction cycle of the largest and most ancient trees on the planet..
Yellow-Bellied Marmots (02:19)
Marmot pups explore. These creatures can hibernate nine months out of the year, and spend much of the summer gaining weight for winter. A black bear interrupts their grazing.
Endangered Species (05:20)
Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon national parks are the Sierra Nevada’s greatest sanctuaries, protecting critical habitat and restoring species once thought lost. The bighorn sheep is making a comeback thanks to the efforts of the Sierra Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program.
Monitoring Giant Sequoias (03:41)
The trees are losing foliage at an unprecedented rate. Researcher Anthony Ambrose and his team seek to understand the nature and severity of the change.
Rutting Season (02:57)
Autumn provides relief from summer heat and signals the start of mating season for bighorn sheep; young rams test each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Dry conditions persist until a storm front brings much-needed rain.
Winter in Yosemite (03:56)
Yosemite takes on a fairytale quality as the first snow falls. Squirrels harvest pine nuts, coyotes search for voles, and pikas gather the last exposed vegetation.
Sequoia Groves (02:50)
Snowfall provides relief for stressed sequoias. The health of these giants indicates a hidden supply of water somewhere below the surface.
Sierra Nevada Snowfall (03:53)
Rivers and creeks surge as snow melts. Kayakers traverse the rapids of Cherry Creek. Researchers assess the snowfall to determine its effects on the region.
Shrinking Wetlands (02:16)
Some talus fields have little snow, but the rocky slopes may have insulating properties of their own. Snowfall feeds wetlands 70 miles away; marshes flood, welcoming tens of thousands of snow geese and sandhill cranes.
Horsetail Fall (04:34)
Photographers gather along the Merced River. Once a year when conditions are right, the setting sun makes the falls glow like a ribbon of fire; the effect lasts about 10 minutes.
Credits: Nature: Yosemite (00:49)
Credits: Nature: Yosemite
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