Artic case study

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  • Impacts of climate change on the Artic
    • Vulnerability
      • melting of Greenland ice sheet
      • reductions in ice thickness
      • predicted to warm by 18degreesF by 2100
      • treeline is moving north
        • area where trees can grow is declining
      • permafrost boundary moving north
        • area covered by permafrost shrinking
    • rest of world
      • melting ice sheets cause sea level rise
      • Salinity changes in ocean affect the Artic current which affect global oceans
      • changing temperature of land and sea ice
        • affects air currents in Artic
          • impact of global weather patterns
    • positive
      • economical
        • open up NW passage
          • easy trading
          • travel for tours - Canada
        • opportunities for TNC's - oil
        • indigenous people hunt fish which are declining
      • environmental
        • ice melts which means new land is exposed
          • access to fish, oil, gas and other resources
      • ecological
        • longer warmer growing seasons will benefit agriculture
          • vegetation zone shift north with coniferous forest
        • enhanced agriculture and forestry
        • enhanced marine fisheries
      • social
        • indigenous people benefit from NW passage
          • tourism  - 30% of thieir income comes from sculture and print making
          • people from Canada
    • negative
      • social
        • access to new resources may cause conflict over who owns them
        • destruction of  entire villages due to ice thinner and dangerous
          • waves and storms caused 24 villages to be at risk to flooding in Alaska
      • economical
        • thawing of permafrost can cause collapse of buildings and broken pipe lines
          • land less stable
      • environmental
        • increased coastal erosion due to thawing permafrost
        • sept 2002 -smallest sea ice cover on record
        • sea ice becomes thinner
          • 10-15%
          • some areas up to 40% (1960-1990_
        • increased ultra violet radiation
          • destroys phto plankton -base of marine food chain as a result of loss of sea ice
      • ecological
        • polar bears fear of extinction
        • melting sea ice decreased hunting season for polar bears
        • decline in northern freshwater fisheries
        • smaller amount of seals reduce amount available to polar bears
        • warm water reduces amount of marine plants eaten by smaller fish
          • disruption of food chain higher up
        • over 300 households rely on fishing
        • species move north
          • some will suffer major decline


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