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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110212/us_nm/us_alaska_climate;_ylt=Aixj4WDXTW5biTI3tYyi9Ims0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFpNGY3MG8yBHBvcwM0MARzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX21vc3RfcG9wdWxhcgRzbGsDY2xpbWF0ZWNoYW5n


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks.

These are just a few of the ways that a rapidly warming climate is reshaping Denali, Kenai Fjords and other national parks comprising the crown jewels of Alaska's heritage as America's last frontier.

These and some better-known impacts -- proliferation of invasive plants and fish, greater frequency and intensity of wildfires, and declines in wildlife populations that depend on sea ice and glaciers -- are outlined in a recent National Park Service report.

Since the mid-1970s, Alaska has warmed at three times the rate of the Lower 48 states, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And with nearly two-thirds of U.S. national parkland located in Alaska, the issue of climate change is especially pressing there, officials say.

In some far northern parks such as Gates of the Arctic, average temperatures are expected to shift in coming years from below freezing to above freezing, crossing a crucial threshold, said Bob Winfree, Alaska science adviser for the Park Service.

"The effects of melting ice and thawing permafrost, I think, will be major," Winfree said.

Winfree is helping lead a new three-year, $500,000 climate scenario project in Alaska intended to identify and cope with the warming trend. That is part of a $10 million program to plan for and mitigate climate change in parks nationwide.

In some Alaska parks, the climate transformation is too gradual to be detected by casual visitors, Winfree said. But many experts see it.

"Those of us that go into these places over time can definitely notice the changes," said Jim Stratton, Alaska regional director for the National Parks and Conservation Association, an environmental organization.

Some changes are obvious in Kenai Fjords National Park, a popular destination south of Anchorage known for its ice-capped peaks, tidewater glaciers and abundant marine life.

The retreat of Exit Glacier, one of the park's best-known features, has forced park managers to reroute trails through areas that were under ice just a few years ago. The glacier's retreat also has left a sheltered pavilion that was built in the 1990s far from the spectacular views of blue ice.

"We used to build these things with a sense of permanence," said Jeff Mow, the park's superintendent.

A more ominous concern has been runoff from glacier melt. Spring and fall floods have long been common, but over the past two summers, at the peak of tourist season, the Exit Glacier entrance has been swept by big, road-closing floods, Mow said.

There are similar hazards elsewhere, according to the Park Service's climate strategy report. Shrinking glaciers and heavy snowmelt make it more likely that the frozen walls of glacial lakes will fail, triggering flash floods and debris flows that could endanger park workers and visitors, the report said.

At Denali National Park, one of the state's top tourist destinations, once-frozen hillsides are unleashing cascades of mud as they thaw, causing problems along the lone road that snakes through the heart of the park.

Another big headache is newly sprouted roadside vegetation, said Elwood Lynn, assistant superintendent at the park.

"There's a dramatic difference, if you look in old photos, in the amount of vegetation," Lynn said. "We've got full-time crews cutting brush that we didn't have in the early '80s."

Elsewhere, accelerated erosion is taking its toll on thawed shoreline under assault from surf once held back by sea ice.

At the remote Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument in northwestern Alaska, coastal erosion poses risks to archeological resources thousands of years old and to some modern structures near the shore, according to the Park Service strategy.

Erosion woes in Shishmaref, an Inupiat village perched atop rapidly thawing coastal permafrost in northwestern Alaska, also pose a threat to nearby parkland, Stratton said. Plans to relocate the village to firmer ground farther inland include, at least tentatively, transport of huge loads of gravel across a stretch of Bering Land Bridge National Monument.

Other problems identified by the Park Service include acidification of marine waters as they absorb atmospheric carbon and become potentially less hospitable to resident fish populations, and increased commercial activity in newly ice-free waters adjacent to parks."
 

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What if the last few centuries have been abnormally chilly in the far north and it is now warming to "normal"? Not all of the fallout of warming is bad. I have seen several articles
discussing lands that will become useful for farming that are too cold now. Just because there is change doesn't automatically mean disaster.
 

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So if we're freezing our keesters off in the lower 48, it's because of some temporary weather anamolies, but some temperature rises in Alaska is global warming, and the beginning of the end of our planet. :rolleyes:
 

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I'm still holding out increasingly futile hope that I will be able to sustain a palm tree in my front yard.
 

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Earth has been a lot warmer, and a lot cooler. America has bigger problems than "climate change" which is nothing more than a fraud being used to fund more research, subsidize "green" industry, and increase taxes and regulation. :crazy: The U.S. dollar and economy will totally collapse from spend and borrow and anti-energy polititians long before man breaks the climate. :spanked:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What if the last few centuries have been abnormally chilly in the far north and it is now warming to "normal"? Not all of the fallout of warming is bad. I have seen several articles
discussing lands that will become useful for farming that are too cold now. Just because there is change doesn't automatically mean disaster.
:agree:
 

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It's the NAO climatard, the NAO...
 

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Earth has been a lot warmer, and a lot cooler. America has bigger problems than "climate change" which is nothing more than a fraud being used to fund more research, subsidize "green" industry, and increase taxes and regulation. :crazy: The U.S. dollar and economy will totally collapse from spend and borrow and anti-energy polititians long before man breaks the climate. :spanked:
Yes It's part of the Global Warming Scam

It's designed to get americans to downsize their standard of living,

The Governemnt Propaganda Machine is alive and well in America:nuts:

I think they have alot of Nerve asking Us to downsize,

With the huge Trade Deficit, and National Deficit they are running in washington,

Government needs to Downsize "Not Me"

Especially after all the Damage they have done to this country :nuts:
 
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