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  • Friday, October 28, 2005

    Arctic undergoing broad climate-change response

    From the University of Alaska Fairbanks:

    From glaciers to caribou, rivers to roads, Arctic climate change is having a broad effect on almost every aspect of life in the North. That’s the conclusion University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers and others outline in a paper to be published in the October 2005 issue of the journal “Climatic Change.”

    The paper is a result of decades of research by dozens of scientists in multiple disciplines, said Larry Hinzman, a research professor with UAF’s Water and Environmental Research Center and the paper’s lead author. It is one of the first of its kind to present a comprehensive examination of the broad array of effects attributed to a changing climate within the Arctic and shows that warming has a cascading effect on the land, vegetation, animals, weather and human systems.

    “This paper looks at how changes in one component can reverberate through an entire system,” said Hinzman. “It really makes the point that you can’t look at individual components; you have to look at the system as a whole.”

    Those effects tend to be more obvious in the Arctic.

    “We are so close to the freezing point of water,” Hinzman said. “When you change a system from frozen to unfrozen it has dramatic impacts and dramatic consequences.”


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