Melting Permafrost

Over the last 50 years Alaska has felt the effect of global warming at twice the rate than the rest of the country. Alaska's permafrost is melting and native people villages are sinking. Winter temperatures have increased by approximately 6 degrees Fahrenheit the middle of the century it is predicted to rise an additional 3 to 7 degrees. Alaska winters will become wetter and summers will be drier.

100,000 Alaskans OR 14% of the population live on areas of permafrost and depend on permafrost to allow access to areas for transportation, economy, forests and other ecosystems. With the thawing of the permafrost it will cause widespread economic complications for the state.

The freezing and thawing of the permafrost causes destabilization of roads airports and most all infrastructure. The constant fluctuation causes the roads to buckle costing millions in repairs. Alaskans are only allowed to travel on these roads at certain times of the years to minimize negative impacts. But since the effects of global warming the number of days allowed to be able to drive on these roads per year have decreased from 200 to 100 days.

Permafrost also impacts forests. The thawing cause trees to sink into the soil interfering with roots, thus causing the trees to lean thence came the name drunken forests. Closed basin lakes have also been affected with the higher amount of evaporation and thawing permafrost severely affecting the breeding grounds for water fowl that migrate to the lower 48 impacting food sources.

As the climate warms shrubs are taking over areas that lichens inhabit d other important tundra vegetation. Caribou depend on the lichen and tundra vegetation to survive. With a decline in caribou numbers it will affect bear and wolf populations as well as native populations as they depend on large numbers of caribou for food. With warmer weather comes more insects, disease and forest fires which will increase as the climate warms killing forested areas.

Oceans and coasts will be affected too. Traveling ice will disappear shorelines will be ice free, the ice melt will not refreeze and will not pileup against the shorelines. Polar bears are on the decline because they use the polar ice o travel across the area, with the ice melting the bears have to swim for miles to find new ice packs and they often drown and those who make the swim are starving because they depend on other animals such as seals for food and without ice packs the seals goes elsewhere. Walrus depend on the ice packs as well for rest.

But on the bright side for man and his greed, the melting ice caps and ice free shorelines will open up shipping, oil and gas exploration the very thing which has caused climate change in the first place.

Melting ice will cause changes in tidal flows which will change plankton bloom which in turn will cause a negative outcome for commercial fisheries where fish can thrive. It will remove land fast ice which protects the shoreline and native villages from wind storms, rain and high waves from elements which cause erosion.

Native villages have literally fallen into the sea because of the higher water from the melting ice, it has caused the people to have to travel farther and farther out to sea to hunt for food that is if they can find any because the seal, polar bears and walrus have either left or have died because their food sources are gone and the ice that they depend on for their life is shrinking.

So to all the naysayers who do not believe in climate change I say to you-pull your head out of your rear-ends start thinking with your heads instead of your lust for the ole mighty dollars and start doing your part to stop climate change before it is too late for all of us.

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