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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 11, NUMBER 12, DECEMBER 1998

NEWS...
Warming Alaska


Item #d98dec37

The Tidepool Newsletter published an article by Ed Hunt entitled “Something is Happening...” (http://www.tidepool.org/home.html) that summarizes the ecological effects exhibited in the northern latitudes, specifically Alaska, as a result of warming. The linchpin of the evidence is that the state’s hundreds of glaciers are melting at a rapid pace. The Columbia Glacier, for example, is melting 0.5 mile a year, and has retreated 8 miles in the past 16 years. The permafrost is thawing out in the face of a rise in average temperature of 5° F in the past 30 years. The summers are longer and drier, more than offsetting the wetter winters. The tiaga, an ancient spruce forest, is dying because the spruce bark beetles are thriving in the warmer climate. Alaska has lost one-third to one-half of its white spruce to the beetle and other environmental forces in the past 15 years. Hunt concludes, “We can deny that we’ve had a hand in global warming. ... What we cannot deny is that we are in a period of significant and disastrous climate change.”

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