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Permafrost is no longer permanent—“Even here in sub-Arctic Alaska the rate of warming is high.”

Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

The US federal government is the largest landowner in Alaska, controlling some 60% of the total land area, or 220 million acres of land. About half of this land is controlled by the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

For example, the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is a complex of nearly 20 million acres of mostly flat wetland and tundra at the confluence of Alaska’s two largest rivers, the Yukon and the Kuskokwin. And much of that land is permafrost.

Climate change is having numerous affects around the world, and glacial and tundra landscapes are among the most areas most dramatically being impacted. Melting glaciers is leading to new interesting archaeological finds in remarkably well-preserved conditions, but is also having a serious effect on the ecosystems—as flora and fauna either adapt, or don’t—and communities that live in these areas, many indigenous populations, are seeing their traditional ways of life become obsolete.

New studies are documenting the extensive rate of melting of the permafrost that may even increase the rate of climate change by causing the release of extensive amounts of carbon and methane previously locked in these not-so-permanently frozen lands.


Alaska’s Permafrost is Thawing

By Henry Fountain

The New York Times

August 23, 2017

Also see

“Glacial archaeology” produces unique, well-preserved finds

International Heritage News Network

August 5, 2017

How to hide melting glaciers? Interior Department gives it a try.

International Heritage News Network

July 23, 2017

7,000-year-old ice sheets are rapidly melting at Glacier National Park

International Heritage News Network

May 26, 2017

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