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Climate Change in Alaska:

Adapting Today for a Better Future

Healthy ecosystems are better able to withstand the negative impacts of environmental change.

The world’s best climate models predict that temperatures may increase from 3-8 degrees Fahrenheit across Alaska by the middle of the century – more than anywhere else in the United States.

The effects of warming temperatures are visible in Alaska.

  • Thawing permafrost
  • Sea ice retreat
  • Coastal erosion
  • Tundra ponds that dozens of migratory bird species rely on for nesting are drying up
  • Pest outbreaks—which have already decimated hundreds of thousands of acres of spruce forest—will increase with climate change, intensifying wildfire risk.
  • Home ranges of native plant and animal species, including wild salmon, may gradually shift to more northern areas or higher elevations.
Solutions for Alaska

While climate change is already affecting Alaska’s landscapes, it is not too late to adapt to its effects. In Alaska and across the planet, the Conservancy is implementing science-based solutions that are mutually beneficial to both nature and people.

Identifying Impacts of Climate Change

Working with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, an international leader in Arctic climate research, the Conservancy is beginning to research wildlife-related impacts of climate change in northern Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Because the effects of climate change are happening now, answers will help the Conservancy define appropriate strategies that help these ecosystems cope with the impacts of climate change. Marine environments face unique challenges of their own. Alaska's wild salmon are sensitive to changes already being observed.

Encouraging Nature’s Resilience to Climate Change

Scientists know that healthy ecosystems are better able to withstand the negative impacts of environmental change. For example, to conserve Alaska’s wild salmon as water temperatures increase, the Conservancy is putting protections in place that improve water quality, maintain natural water flows, and preserve streamside trees and shrubs – all vital to sustaining healthy habitat.

To help ensure salmon remain resilient, we are restoring lost spawning and rearing habitats as climate change continues to stress fish.

Learn more about climate change in the Arctic

Visit the Arctic Climate Impact Assignment Scientific Report.

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