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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 09:50 AM
Original message
Long article, well worth the read:,3605,1146687,00.html


Alaska is a huge oil producer and has become rich on the proceeds. But it has suffered the consequences: global warming, faster and more terrifyingly than anyone could have predicted. Mark Lynas reports:


Although few in the state care to recognise it, Alaskan oil - of which more than one million barrels a day are exported to the mainland US - has rebounded heavily on the state through global climate change. And, whatever their views on global warming, almost every resident will admit one thing: Alaska's weather has gone crazy.


In recent winters, temperatures have reached -30C for only a couple of days, Curtis told me, while in previous decades they had remained at -40C for months at a time. And similar stories come from all over the state.The reason is simple: Alaska is baking. Temperatures in the state - as in much of the Arctic - are rising 10 times faster than in the rest of the world. And the effects are so dramatic that entire ecosystems are beginning to unravel, as are the lifestyles of the people who depend on them. In many ways, Alaska is the canary in the coal mine, showing the rest of the world what lies ahead as global warming accelerates.


Time is running out, too, for the land areas of the Arctic. With 21st-century warming predicted as high as a staggering 10 C, much of the remaining permafrost is likely to thaw - further damaging forests, houses, roads and other infrastructure, and raising the spectre of massive releases of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane from bogland hitherto inert and frozen. The bitterest irony is that an overwhelming majority of state residents still seem deadset on pumping out their fossil fuel reserves for as long as the oil keeps flowing - whatever the eventual cost to their climate.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. Fascinating and disturbing.
Thanks for the post.


So was this global warming, I asked Weller. His answer was unequivocal. "I think it's clearly understood and clearly accepted by the scientific community that this is in part due to the human-induced global greenhouse effect." This greenhouse effect, he explained, was amplified at high latitudes by a positive feedback: once snow and ice begin to melt, the reflectivity of the earth's surface decreases, allowing more of the sun's heat to be absorbed. This in turn melts more ice and snow, further reducing the planet's albedo (reflective power), allowing still more warming, and so on.

In Fairbanks, the rising temperatures were having a dramatic impact. Much of the area is underlain by permafrost - permanently frozen ground - that now, for the first time in thousands of years, is beginning to thaw. As a result, houses are sagging, roads are collapsing and entire buildings are being swallowed up by holes in the ground.


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jmcgowanjm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-16-04 10:17 AM
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2. Thanx for the post Boomer
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-09-04 05:22 PM
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3. Kick
...because this same article has been posted over and over again.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-09-04 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yeah, I know - I just did!
Sorry about the dupe! ;-)
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brokensymmetry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-09-04 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
5. Good article!
Thanks for posting it!
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