How Climate Change Affects Alaska

Updated: Oct 10


(Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Q1js5z4tKLA)


Author: Archie Adams was a builder for more than 40 years and a resident of Eagle Bay, Alaska. Since retirement he keeps busy gardening and writing for a blog - Homemakerguide.com, a website that reviews and compares tools and products for the home. An adept craftsman, almost everything in his home he made himself. He sent us these observations about climate change and its affect on his surroundings in Alaska. We thank him for his contribution and encourage you to visit his website.


The Drastic Impact of Global Warming


Meta: We here at Home Maker Guide understand that Alaskans have always been a self-sufficient, DIY, smart farming people. However, any Alaska resident will attest to how the climate here has drastically changed and has had a massive impact on our lives.


The Main Cause of Climatic Change

Let’s get down to some science on climate change. Since the early 1800s, the percentage of carbon dioxide has increased by a massive 40% in the atmosphere globally. It has clearly been a result of human practices. In Alaska, to be precise, the mining of coal and drilling of gas and oil have made massive climatic changes causing more emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.


(Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ash-blaze-burn-burning-266487/)


Climate Facts in Alaska

The notable impact of climate change on Alaska is a red flag to all parts of the world. So what has happened to Alaska in the past few decades?


Retreating Glaciers

Glaciers used to cover a large area of land in Alaska. Still, over the past century, they have dramatically retreated mostly in South East Alaska, along South Central Coast, and in the Alaska Range. Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park has withdrawn further than 31 miles.


Decreasing Sea Ice

The Arctic Ocean is almost covered with ice during the winter season. However, with the temperature rise in that region, the ice has pulled back in the last couple of decades. In 2012, there was a record 50% decrease, and there is a worry that the ice might begin to melt entirely in the coming years.


(Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/bears-cubs-wildlife-animal-mammal-1149459/)


Wildfires

According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center Situation Report, the wildfires in 2020 have raged over 2.5 million acres of land. The torching has been happening repeatedly over the years: 2004 (6.5 million acres), 2015 (5.1 million), and 2019 (over 2.5 million) acres.


Expected Changes and Risks

We have not seen the last page of the book, as there are more changes expected if things continue to go at this pace.


Fisheries and Wildlife

Since temperatures have been increasing, there will be a significant change in the fisheries and wildlife sectors. Forests in Alaska host animals, such as walruses, polar, brown and black bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and mountain goats. Our fisheries include salmon, rainbow trout, lamprey, etc. They are all at risk with the climatic changes happening. The seas and ocean are getting warmer, and the forests are at risk of fires, putting its creatures' living conditions at risk. Many activists are warning us that climate change will cause extinctions?


Thawing of Permafrost

A significant percentage of Alaska is covered in permafrost. The state is at risk of experiencing damages to their pipelines, roads, sewer systems, buildings, and water supplies if the temperatures increase since the heat will cause the permafrost to thaw.


Forests

The depth of forests has grown by 45% due to climate change (which is an advantage since there is more food for wildlife). However, the wetlands are at risk of drying up, and summers can be super-hot, which triggers wildfires to these newer vulnerable forests.


Native Community

Life will be much difficult for Alaska's indiginous residents since fishing and hunting will suffer compared to how it was usually when the climate was still cold. The lack of food and rising temperatures will affect both their living standards and health.


Conclusion

Climatic conditions have been quite challenging worldwide, but some specific places have been hit hard, such as Alaska. The change in temperature has profoundly affected our fish and wildlife sectors, and there are risks that the damages will increase over time. Each individual is encouraged to fight global warming and get things back to normal.


What is happening in your part of the world? Is it similar to Alaska? Do you suffer the same problems? Please share with us how climate change affects you!




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