in Alaska due to global warming.
Van Everdingen (2005), defined permafrost as when the solid
part of the earth freezes and stay frozen for not less
than two years consecutively. Recently, the polar permafrost regions
are being significantly affected because of the very
fast rate at which global climate warming is occurring in the Arctic (AMAP,
2011). The foundation of Alaska consists of
temperature of the frozen ground and how deep a seasonal thawing may become depends
on factors such as vegetation, air temperature and snow cover. In a recent
study, it was estimated that there is about 5-10% annual average reduction in the arctic-wide sea ice extent
and 10-15% of reduction in the average thickness years now. Presently, the sea
ice off the Alaskan coast is retreating and thinning. There is a projection of
continuous permafrost thawing of up to 10 to 30 feet by the year 2100 as a
result of future global warming. The picture below shows permafrost thawing in
some parts of Alaska.
A road in bumpy road in Alaska due to
Source: Google images.
permafrost thawing / new environmental
recent years, more increase in temperature has given rise to a large scale
thawing which has in turn cause other types of environmental changes some of
which are, increase in coastal erosion, damage to forest, landslide, damage to
marine mammals habitats and polar bear
and a sink in the ground surface. Furthermore, Cooke (2017) stated that “permafrost
could contain around double the amount of carbon in
right now, she think “its fate could be the most urgent of the effects of
climate change”. She pointed out that permafrost thawing could generate
more increase in the global temperature , this is due to the chemical
reaction that takes place during the
thawing of Permafrost, in the process,”
as permafrost thaws, microbes convert some of its material into methane and
carbon dioxide, which could lead to more warming” (Cooke 2017).
More so, frozen ground is necessarily for
most industrial activities to take place in Alaska, permafrost thawing
therefore poses economic threat if the industries folds up. The continuous
thawing of permafrost will significantly affect transportation in Northern
Alaska as the people depend largely on
ice roads for their everyday living. Also,
if the sea ice continues reduce, Navigation seasons will become longer
which will lead to feasibility of the trans-arctic shiiping during summer in
the Northern Sea Route.
addition, global warming will cause a variation in the winter season. This
variation will create difficulty in planning for business people as the season
of winter could be longer or shorter in some cases which are not predictable.
For instance, a less favorable weather condition will cause the beaches to
swell and if ski areas do not have snow covers any longer, automatically this
will create a shift in tourists’ destination.
eroding beach due to permafrost
trying to mitigate the effects permafrost thawing, new sectors are created
brings about . These new sectors creates
means of through which the developmssent of the country would continue to boom
while managing the impacts of climate. Numerous measures have been taken by the
authorities of Alaska to mitigate/ adapt adequately to the environmental change impacts. With
such measures put in place and
considering the readiness of the government of Alaska and the proactive
measures put in place, development will be sustained in the region.
Strategies for mitigation and adaptation to permfrost
thawing in Alaska.
other to mitigate the effects of permafrost thawing in Alaska, following the
measures should be taken;
The government of Alaska should create a data
base that should be updated regularly in other to check the extent of thawing.
Alternatives to activities causing warmer
temperature should be looked into.
Most importantly, landfilling should be
considered in other to sustain the roads and other facilities that depends on
There should trenches dug to collect the
materials that are exposes by thawing, this way when erosing occurs, fresh
water bodies won’t get contaminated and pollution can be controlled.
encourage community-based agriculture and practices that optimize the use of
the land and resources available;
(2) research the magnitude and composition of
food consumption in the state; and
research the sources of food supply and the risk associated with high reliance
on imported foods. Other Economic Activities Some of Alaska’s major economic
activities, such as tourism and shipping, are highly dependent on weather
conditions and/or the natural environment, both of which can be significantly
affected by climate change.