Alaska has warmed more than twice as quickly as the rest of the country over the past 60 years, according to a report released earlier this week.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program assessment outlines the impact of those rising temperatures on the state’s wetlands, coastline, wildlife, oceans and Alaska Native cultures. Those impacts include an increase in heavy precipitation, decreased Arctic sea ice cover and continuing erosion along Alaska’s coast.
The changes bring new opportunities and dangers alike, the report found.
While receding Arctic sea ice makes costal communities increasingly vulnerable to erosion, the report stated, it also uncovered new water for development and ship traffic. Shrinking glaciers are expected to impact hydropower production and fisheries, the report found, and changes to ocean temperature and acidity could impact Alaska’s lucrative commercial fisheries.