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Climate Change in Alaska

Every new day brings with it new evidence of climate change in Alaskan communities – warmer, record breaking temperatures have resulted in thawing permafrost, thinning sea ice, and increasing wildfires. These changes have resulted in a reduction of subsistence harvests, an increase in flooding and erosion, concerns about water and food safety and major impacts to infrastructure: including damage to buildings, roads and airports. We, here at the Division of Community and Regional Affairs, have seen first-hand evidence of the effects of these changes since we are on the forefront of serving all Alaskan communities given our constitutional mandate of advising and assisting them. Given the varied amount of climate change related information that is available, this portal is our attempt to bring it all together so it assists everyone interested in learning about the topic and the various initiatives being undertaken to tackle this difficult challenge.

BrokenPermafrost

"The climate change has changed our way of life. How we travel, what we eat, how we take care of our food. It is human nature to adapt to changes, and we are doing our best to do this. ~ Tom Punguk- Golovin

Alaska had its warmest December on record with a statewide average temperature of 19.4°F, 15.7°F above the 20th century average and 2.1°F warmer than the previous record set in 1985. Numerous locations including Barrow, McGrath, and Bettles were all record warm. NOAA Report, January 2018

"I loved Alaska and met so many inspiring people. Have to keep up the fight on climate change for their sake—and ours." ~President Obama, talking about his trip to Alaska and the GLACIER Conference, August 2015

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Science of Climate Change Alaskans Speak on the Effects of Climate Change on Their Communities

We worry about change along the migration route. I only got one goose last year. The birds are flying too high. Moxie Andrew Jr – New Stuyahok

“It melts so fast we can’t get out to our hunting camps.” Eli Nukapigak

TRUST Alaska from "Our Children's Trust" on Vimeo Click here for video

Climate Change, Food, and 'Sharing' among the Iñupiat of Wainwright, Alaska from HabitatSeven on Vimeo Click here for video

Faces of Climate Change - Introduction from Darcy Dugan on Vimeo Click here for video

Faces of Climate Change- Life on the Ice on Vimeo. Click here for video

Health Effects of Climate Change in Alaska
Health Effects of Climate Change

Agencies Involved in Addressing Climate Change

A warming climate will damage Alaska’s infrastructure because it was designed for a cold climate. Damage from climate change could add $3.6 to $6.1 billion (10% to 20%) to future costs for public infrastructure from now to 2030. Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Traditional Livelihoods in Alaska Threatened by Climate Change (Walrus photo) Recently, Governor Bill Walker issued an economic disaster declaration for the residents of Diomede, Gambell, Savoonga and Wales who have been impacted by a historically low walrus harvest. Click on this link to a story map that presents information that was used in making the determination necessary to request the declaration of an economic disaster.
Economic disaster declared in four northern Alaska communities!

AlaskaFed Disasters chart Over the past three decades, Alaska has experienced a sharp reduction in snow-cover extent and duration, shorter river- and lake-ice seasons, melting of mountain glaciers, sea-ice retreat and thinning, permafrost retreat, and increased depth of summer thaw. These changes are in turn affecting human and natural systems. Alaska State and Federally Declared Disasters, 1953-2015

Have your own story, email us:

Email: Division of Community and Regional Affairs, Research and Analysis

Disclaimer: The State of Alaska does not necessarily endorse all the documents or links listed on this page. This page will be updated as more information is available.