Climate change brings danger to Mexico's butterfly sanctuaries

A man holds a Monarch butterfly
MPR News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard holds a monarch butterfly in a forest outside of Macheros, Mexico, during his recent trip.
Sven Sundgaard | MPR News

They flutter in the fields of Minnesota in summer, orange and black wings dancing on the slightest breeze. Then in fall, those vibrant wings carry hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies south to Mexico.

But research shows the loss of milkweed plants and other factors, including climate change, produced an 84 percent drop in monarchs between 1996 and 2015.

So how is climate change impacting monarch butterfly numbers? MPR News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard traveled to Mexico last month and learned that more frequent severe storms and even subtle shifts in temperature can kill butterflies.

Sundgaard shared some of his experience on this week’s Climate Cast.

Click play on the audio player above or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast to hear the episode.

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