Global warming long term impact Alaska

How the climate in Alaska will impact our future world

This year high temperature records were set across the Arctic. It's a glimpse of what scientists think the future winters will be like - if a bit ahead of schedule. The fate of summer is murkier. Climate models fall into two camps about what Alaska's summer will be like several decades from now. One set of models projects much hotter, drier summers. The other suggests that summers will be warmer, not hot, but with more clouds and rain. Both of those futures are reasonable given what scientists know now.

Figuring out which one is right hinges on learning more about some aspects of climate that scientists don't understand well. Getting a handle on it requires attacking a number of questions. Because it's so hard to work in Alaska, there are still basic questions about what the climate is like in some places. There are bigger questions, too, about how the atmosphere interacts with the land and ocean to alter climate. Answering them is more complicated. It requires collecting new data and analyzing models.

Sorting out the answers to these questions will help the people of Alaska plan how to live in their changing environment. For example, if summers become hotter and drier, vast fires in the boreal forest will be more common. That would change plant and wildlife habitats and impact the many people who make their living off the land. But "What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic", so it has implications for the rest of us, too. If summers became warm and much wetter, the amount of water rivers send into the Arctic Ocean could increase, which could cause changes in climate across the globe. It seems like a small question more appropriate for a travel site - what should you pack for your Alaskan vacation in 2043? But what happens actually impacts thousands of people directly and millions living far away

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