Alaska’s Inupiat Climate Refugees Need a New Home

Originally published on Retreating onto the uncharted territory of today’s “climate refugees,” the entire indigenous community of Shishmaref, Alaska, is losing the land under its feet. Shishmaref has a population of around 600 members of the Native American Inupiat Tribe, located on Sarichef, a tiny island north of the Bering Strait. For over 400

DOE To Provide Over $9 Million In Funding For Indian & Alaska Native Community Clean Energy And Energy Efficiency Projects

In a boost for clean energy, the US Department of Energy will provide funding for 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities to deploy clean energy and energy efficiency projects. In today’s press announcement, the DOE outlined plans to invest over $9 million in 16 facility- and community-scale energy projects in 24 tribal communities.  This represents a

What Is Climate Change? (VIDEO)

Remember the difference between weather and climate? We know what happens when the weather changes—it’s obvious. Climate is another story. Read on. When it rains, you put on a raincoat or take your umbrella when you go out. It snows: time for high boots, a heavier coat, scarf, and warm gloves. And sunny days, well,

Towerless Buoyant Air Turbine May Expand Wind Energy's Reach

We cover wind turbine news here on a regular basis, but now this excellent renewable technology, currently second only to solar, may be capable of going towerless. Altaeros Energies has developed a promising buoyant air turbine to harness high-altitude winds and deploy low-cost power from them. A group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Glaciers Contributing Same As Ice Sheet Melt To Sea Level Rise

Research has found that approximately 99% of our planet’s land-locked ice is held up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The remainder, however, is out in the open, located primarily in the glaciers dotted throughout the appropriate latitudes across the planet. And according to new research, those glaciers contributed approximately the same amount of

Climate Change Impacting Health, Safety And Economy of US Coasts

A new report authored by leading scientists and experts explains that the effects of climate change are going to continue threatening the health of coastal communities throughout the United States. The report emphasises the need for increased coordination and planning to protect US coastal communities in the face of a continually changing climate. “[Hurricane] Sandy

Columbia Glacier Expected to Stop Retreating in 2020

The spectacular Columbia Glacier in Alaska is expected to halt its retreat in 2020 when it reaches a new stable position approximately 15 miles upstream from the stable position it had held prior the 1980s. Currently 425 square miles, the multi-branched Columbia Glacier will halt at a new stable position in 2020, and measuring in

Which Is The World's Largest Marine Reserve?

  Two hot “world’s largest marine reserve” stories have been swimming around the news over the last few months. A few days ago Australia announced it was going to create a massive network of marine reserves whose area would total 888,000 miles2. That’s nearly the combined area of Alaska and Texas… 931,000 miles2! However, back

Our Ocean Once Again

  Shell Oil has had its eyes on the Arctic for over five years now. Hundreds of meetings and billions of dollars later, this summer was supposed to be Shell’s year to finally drill in the Arctic Ocean. Thankfully, a series of embarrassing safety setbacks have held Shell back. The announcement that the company would

Western Arctic Threatened By Oil Drilling

  Big Oil continues its assault on the Arctic by pushing for increasing oil drilling. This time it’s the Western Arctic that’s particularly at risk. Next week, House Republicans are expected to unveil a legislative package that once again calls for drilling everywhere, regardless of the risks and impacts to the climate, and to our

Methane Seeping Up from New Sources in Alaska

  Researchers from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks have found large measures of geologic methane seeping up the edges of the thawing permafrost and receding glaciers in Alaska and Greenland. The retreat of Arctic permafrost and glaciers often reveal previously frozen organic matter like dead plants or animals, which subsequently decays and releases methane, often

View the Retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier

The Columbia Glacier in Alaska descends from an ice field 3,050 metres above sea level down the flanks of the Chugach Mountains and into a narrow inlet that eventually leads into Prince William Sound in the southeast of the state. And it is one of the most rapidly changing glaciers in the world. The NASA

NASA Asks Where Has All The Snow Gone?

On their science blog NASA has asked ‘What Happened To All The Snow?’ and it’s a good question, considering that the U.S. is currently experiencing a surprising lack of snow that, come spring time, may have serious consequences for communities reliant upon the snow runoff. “The Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the Sierras of California

Polar Bear Cubs Drowning due to Climate Change

A group of biologists that have been studying polar bears off the coast of Alaska have determined that polar bear cubs are drowning, due to loss of sea ice. They are being forced to make longer swims than normal just to find land or stable ice sheets.

The Yukon Delta from Space {Photo of the Day}

This Envisat image features three of Envisat’s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) acquisitions (19 November 2009, 8 April 2010 and 13 May 2010) laid over one another, depicting the changes in the surface of the Yukon Delta, in Alaska, between when the photos were taken.

Dramatic Changes to the Arctic Suspected

A new study which has analysed 16 global climate models from 1950 to 2099 and compared them with a hundred years of observation data has found that a reorganisation of Arctic climates is anticipated to occur by the end of this century. The study, which was published in the journal Climate Dynamics, is the first

Shifting Biomes in Alaska

Scientists have hypothesized that evergreen forests will increase their growth at the margin of present tundra areas, while simultaneously declining at the margins of temperate forests to the south. New research highlights this shift in biomes caused by a warming climate by combining data gathered from satellite imagery and tree rings. The study, which will

Fires Turn Alaskan Forests Into Carbon Producers

Forests are supposed to reduce carbon dioxide levels, but new research shows that the increase in fires and their tendency to burn larger areas of forest are converting forests into generators of carbon. “Since the proliferation of black spruce, Alaskan soils have acted as huge carbon sinks,” says Evan Kane, a research assistant professor in

Bering Sea Was Ice Free During Last Warm Period

The Bering Sea which finds its borders between Alaska and Russia was ice free during the last warm period in Earth’s climate history, the Pliocene Warm Period. Researchers drilled down 700 metres through rock at the bottom of the Bering Sea to acquire cores that contained sediments deposited during the Pliocene Warm Period which occurred

Fires Likely to Unlock Large Storehouses of Carbon

One of the most disastrous results of climate change is the initialization of feedback loops which themselves further the impact of climate change. One of the most potentially dangerous of these are the fires which burn through the dryer parts of our planet. And according to a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience

Methane: The 'Sleeper' Agent of Climate Change

Methane (CH4) is the main constituent of natural gas, and is the result of natural decomposition processes. Although its lifetime in the atmosphere as a free gas is much shorter than CO2, it is 23 times more potent in terms of its heat trapping ability. This past month, there has been a flurry of news,

Obama Administration Designates Critical Habitat for Polar Bear

Department of Interior sets “critical habitat” area for polar bear along Alaska’s north coast. The Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the Department of Interior, announced today that it plans to set aside more than 187,000 square miles — about 120 million acres — of onshore barrier islands, denning areas and offshore sea ice

Rising Arctic Temperatures Result in More Tundra Fires

On July 16 of 2010 a lightning strike caused the Anaktuvuk River Fire which ended up burning more than a thousand square kilometres of tundra on Alaska’s North Slope, and burning through to the end of September by which time nearby lakes had already frozen over. After hearing about the Anaktuvuk River Fire, University of

50th Birthday Present for ANWR: Make it a National Monument

Many good things (or even great things) are under threat with the upcoming transition in Congress. One such thing is likely to be the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). But Alaska conservationists aren’t just sitting back and waiting to see what will get thrown at them. “Instead, they are initiating a preemptive play to protect the

Joe Miller's Private Security Team "Arrests" Progressive Blogger

Talk about ridiculous. After asking Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller a tough question at a press conference, the candidate’s private security guards handcuffed and “arrested” a progressive blogger, editor of the website Alaska Dispatch. The Anchorage Daily News, reporting on the incident, wrote: The editor of the Alaska Dispatch website was arrested by U.S.

Top 13 Human-Caused Environmental Horrors

[UPDATED: Sept. 27, 2013; see addendum at bottom] In the spirit of both Halloween and Environmental Awareness, I hereby offer thirteen environmental horror stories of anthropogenic origin. I have chosen to narrow my sample field to the post World War II time period. I have also excluded nuclear weapons tests and chemical weapons usage (such

Global Warming News of the Week — Focus on the Arctic

Along with the articles we wrote on global warming this week — on the finding that women are more likely to back scientific consensus on global warming than men, on Artic sea ice being the third-lowest in history, on the lack of media coverage of Pakistan’s greatest disaster in modern history and other global warming-related

Scientists Turn Their Heaters on Alaska

Climate scientists are turning the heat up on Alaska in a hope to test the effects of global warming on the region. American’s Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have already conducted extensive studies on the impact of climate change on temperate regions such as East Tennessee. But less is known about how

Coal Strip Mine Would Destroy Salmon Streams in Cook Inlet

PacRim Coal’s plan to strip mine coal right through 11 miles of salmon-bearing streams in Alaska would destroy critical wetlands and headwater streams beyond the point of restoration, according to three new studies by scientists. The salmon fisheries along the Chuit River would be severely damaged, so much so that the researchers say that restoration

Is there Really Plenty of Fish in the Sea?

[social_buttons] In 2003 “Nature” published a study showing that 90% of the large fish living in our oceans were fished out of existence. A group of scientists recently predicted, major seafood stocks will collapse by 2048. This is a staggering number, considering the technology and amount of people needed to cause overfishing is a relatively

Alaska to Kill Over 75% of Wolf Population in New Aerial Hunt

Alaska abruptly resumed shooting wolves from helicopters this weekend in hopes that shooting the wolves will increase the population of caribou for hunters to kill. The state plans to kill up to 328 wolves, sparing under 100 in the Yukon area. [social_buttons] Not everyone in Alaska is gung-ho about the plan. The National Park Service

Keep Up With Sarah Palin's War on Wildlife with

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund has launched a new website to track Sarah Palin and her seemingly unending tirade against wolves and other wildlife. The website, accompanied by a new advertisement starring Ashley Judd [below], will feature a tracker of headlines regarding Palin’s treatment of wildlife in Alaska. For instance, the discussion right now

Supreme Court to Hear Major Lawsuit Over Mining Waste

After years of appeals and court battles, an unprecedented case over the federal Clean Water Act will face the Supreme Court on Monday. Local environmentalists organized against a plan by a gold mine nearby Juneau, Alaska to dump mining waste and rubble into a nearby lake. While the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council lost the original

Victory: Shell Cancels Plans to Drill in Arctic Waters

Score one for the environment – at least temporarily. Shell Oil announced that it will not be drilling off the Alaskan coast in the Beaufort Sea in 2009 as planned. This decision comes after a November court ruling which determined that Shell had erroneously been given permission to drill without properly assessing the environmental impact

Palin Tells Schwarzenegger to Veto Bill Aimed at Port Pollution

Just a day before being picked as the GOP vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wrote a letter to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urging him to shoot down a groundbreaking pollution-reduction effort aimed at cargo containers: she asked the Governator not to sign a bill that would impose heavy fees on ships entering the ports

Book Review: Shopping For Porcupine

With Alaska in the political spotlight, and with that spotlight showcasing someone with a less-than-stellar record when it comes to the environment, reading about sustainable life in Alaska, in this case, the rural Arctic, might just be a blast of cold, last frontier air.  Seth Kantner’s second book, Shopping For Porcupine (Milkweed Editions, $28), a

Arctic Cold Holding Carbon Explosion Intact… For Now

A new study has shed light on the possible dangers being kept intact by the Arctic cold. According to the study, published in the British journal Nature Geoscience, climate change’s warming of the Arctic ice could end up releasing massive stores of carbon dioxide from the Arctic soil. In fact, the carbon stores have been

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