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Climate Change and Alaska’s Bodies of Water, USA – May 29th, 2013

64.2N 149.4W

May 29th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day

USA – May 28th, 2013

Several bodies of water along the coast of Alaska, USA, can be viewed here: Cook Strait, brownish grey with sediments (right), Bristol Bay (below, center) and Norton Sound, partially ice covered (upper left).

Global warming is currently impacting Alaska and will continue to impact it a number of ways. These impacts include melting polar ice, the retreat of glaciers, increasing storm intensity, wildfires, coastal flooding, droughts, crop failures, loss of habitat and threatened plant and animal species.

According to scientists, Arctic sea ice extent in 2012 was the lowest since satellite records began in 1979; it was 16 percent lower than the previous low in 2007 and more than half of what it was in 1979. Less ice means more open water – which means greater absorption of solar energy – which leads to increased warming in the ocean, and in turn accelerates more ice loss.

This has led to a wide range of impacts in Alaska, including: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and flooding of coastal communities; thawing permafrost, increased storm severity, and related infrastructure damage to roads, utility infrastructure, pipelines and buildings; loss of the subsistence way of life as animal habitat and migration patterns shift and as hunting and fishing become more dangerous with changing sea and river ice; forest fires and insect infestations increasing in frequency and intensity (click here for more information).

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