Alaska Dispatch News
By Margaret Stock
August 24, 2016
The Louisiana floods have prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to state that there have been eight “500 year” floods in the United States in the last 12 months. Dozens of people have died and thousands of homes have been destroyed.
The rapid warming experienced across Alaska is altering ecosystems and threatening the traditional livelihoods of Native and rural Alaskans. Extensive permafrost thaw is expected by the end of this century, increasing the risk of infrastructure damage. Arctic sea ice is projected to continue to decline, with nearly ice-free periods possible by mid-century. Changes are expected in the extent, location and productivity of critical marine and terrestrial habitat for fish and wildlife. Alaska Natives are expected to experience declining availability of traditional foods and reduced access to sea ice hunting grounds. Melting glaciers are adding to coastal flood concerns around the world, and the economic and public finance costs to Alaska and the other 49 states will dwarf the costs of war.
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