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The Changing Arctic
Alex Steffen, 1 Jan 06

We've covered the profound changes hitting the arctic and the response of polar peoples. However, this article, Sweeping change reshapes the Arctic, is one of the best things I've read recently for understanding just how massive the global-warming-triggered transformations are in the far North:

Average annual temperatures in the Arctic have risen as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit in 50 years — even more in Alaska — according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment... The amount of ice covering the ocean in late summer has shrunk 15 to 20 percent in three decades, and 2005 was the worst year ever. That shrinking contributed to a rise of about 8 inches in sea level, helping erode the shorelines of coastal towns such as Barrow. These changes, scientists agree, can't simply be explained by weather fluctuations. In fact, ice melt is now coming faster than some computer models projected.

... And no one really knows how much stranger it's going to get.

"It's hard, at times, trying to comprehend what's going on out there," said Eugene Brower, an Inupiat whaler and fire chief for the North Slope Borough, the municipal government for Arctic Alaska. "It's like we have no control over what's happening to us."

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Comments

Thanks for this rather depressing article. The rate of change in the Artic is truly alarming. For some good research on the effects of global warming on other regions and ecosystems, the Pew Center for Global Climate Change has some useful reports, listed here:
http://www.pewclimate.org/arctic_qa.cfm


Posted by: David Rosenheim on 4 Jan 06



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