Posted on July 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Costly seawater treatment may be needed by 2040
Shellfish are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification. @bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Ocean water around parts of Alaska is acidifying so fast that shellfish hatcheries may soon have to use costly treatment systems to continue commercial operations.
“Our research shows there could be significant effects from ocean acidification on Alaska’s emerging shellfish hatchery industry in a matter of two and half decades,” said Jeremy Mathis, Ph.D., an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and a co-author of the study, published this week in PLOS ONE.
“We need to continue to partner with industry and other stakeholders to make sure we’re providing the environmental intelligence needed by industry to answer key questions and make decisions to meet these challenges,” Mathis said. Continue reading
Filed under: climate change, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Alaska, aquaculture, climate change, Environment, global warming, ocean acidification, shellfish hatchery | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife advocates say proposed hunt on Prince of Wales Island is unsustainable
FRISCO — A rare breed of wolves living on coastal islands in southeast Alaska is under the gun more than ever before, according to wildlife advocates who are protesting a state plan to allow hunting and trapping of an Alexander Archipelago wolf population on Prince of Wales Island.
The hunt is being permitted even though scientific data shows a 60 percent decline in the population in just one year. Based on the report, wolf advocates say there may only be about 50 wolves remaining on the island. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Alaska, Alexander Archipelago wolves, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife, wolf hunting | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
9 whales died about the same time around Kodiak Island
The first of several dead fin whales, later named FW01, floats outside Marmot Bay on May 23. Credit courtesy of MV Kennicott crew and NOAA.
Why did a large number of endangered fin whales die in the waters around Kodiak Island? Map courtesy Wikipedia.
FRISCO — Marine researchers in Alaska are investigating the death of at least nine endangered fin whales in the ocean between Kodiak to Unimak Pass since late May.
“It is an unusual and mysterious event that appears to have happened around Memorial Day weekend,” said Kate Wynne, an Alaska Sea Grant marine mammal specialist and University of Alaska Fairbanks professor. “We rarely see more than one fin whale carcass every couple of years.”
Fin whales, an endangered species, grow to 70 feet long. They use baleen in their mouths to strain copepods, krill and small fish from seawater. The whales feed in tight formations, so Wynne thinks the dead whales could have consumed something toxic around the week of May 20. Continue reading
Filed under: endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Alaska, endangered species, fin whale deaths, fin whales, marine mammals | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Photograph of the calving terminus of Tyndall Glacier, located at the head of Taan Fiord, Icy Bay, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Photo courtesy USGS.
New study helps quantify glacial meltdown
FRISCO — Global warming is melting Alaska’s glaciers so fast that the water would cover the entire state a foot deep every seven years, scientists report in a new study. The melting won’t slow down anytime soon and will be a major factor in global sea level rise, the researchers said.
“The Alaska region has long been considered a primary player in the global sea level budget, but the exact details on the drivers and mechanisms of Alaska glacier change have been stubbornly elusive,” said Chris Larsen, a research associate professor with the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Alaska, climate change, global warming, melting glaciers, sea level rise | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Map of the northern US Atlantic margin showing the locations of newly-discovered methane seeps mapped by researchers from Mississippi State University, the US Geological Survey, and other partners.
Detailed mapping can help plan climate change adaptation
FRISCO — Huge wildfires have driven the conversion of Alaska forests to grass- and shrublands, and the state’s perennial ice and snow fields, as well as its vast wetlands are also shrinking, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The changing face of Alaska is revealed in a new land-cover data set, which provides detailed information useful to land use planners and decision-makers. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Alaska, climate change, global warming, land cover maps, water, wetlands | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New oil and gas drilling set to start in National Petroleum Reserve. Map courtesy BLM.
Conservation groups say new road will hammer wetlands, tundra and wildlife
FRISCO — A new Bureau of Land Management plan for fossil fuel exploitation in Alaska has spurred criticism from environment groups, who say that a road included in the proposal will permanently damage the Western Arctic’s sensitive wetlands and tundra, with impacts to wildlife and subsistence values.
The BLM plan covers the Greater Mooses Tooth Unit 1 project in the 23 million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, also known as the Western Arctic Reserve, more than half of which is potentially open to oil and gas leasing. Conservation advocates are calling for more careful study of drilling impacts to ensure that the wildlife, subsistence and wilderness character of our nation’s largest parcel of public land are balanced with energy development. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Alaska, BLM, Bureau of Land management, Environment, Mooses Tooth Unit 1, National Petroleum Reserve, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Alaska caribou. Courtesy USGS.
Shifts in wildlife populations will affect Native American communities
FRISCO — Some big caribou herds in Alaska could lose more than 20 percent of their habitat as growing wildfires destroy critical foraging areas. Those changes will likely affect generations of Native American families whose existence is spiritually linked with the Arctic ungulates, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey reported in a new study.
Rapidly warming Arctic temperatures are to blame — global warming increases the flammability of lichen-producing boreal forests, which are important winter habitat for caribou herds. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: Alaska, caribou, global warming, wildlife | Leave a comment »