alaskan tundra development case study

case study for issues associated with development in cold enviroments.

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What are the issues associated with the development of cold environments? Case
study- Alaskan tundra
General facts
Contains the world's 4th largest glaciated area, 40% of USA's surface
water, largest fisheries, wilderness areas and land designated as parks,
reserves, and wildlife refuges.
Large oil/gas reserves
Significant indigenous population (gwich'in, inupint tribes)- sustenance
agriculture- depend on environment for survival.
Resource exploitations
Oil and gas extraction- Prudhoe bay area in northern Alaska.
Forestry and agriculture in the interior
Fishing in Bering sea.
Key challenges
Below freezing temperatures
Extremes of climate- warmer near coast than inland
Climate change- increases melt of permafrost- difficult to build/work on-
subsidence problems (ground sinks down)
Tectonic activity- high level of earthquakes (pacific and N. American
Waste disposal decomposition slow
Lack of daylight hours
Remoteness- extra infrastructure and transport needed to reach remote
Fuel freezes in vehicles
Elevation of houses and other small buildings on pile driven stilts.
Larger unheated buildings and airstrips can be constructed safely on thick
gravel pads
All pipelines must be insulated and elevated on stilts.
Oil production

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Oil pumped along TAP's (trans Alaskan pipeline) from Prudhoe bay at 80
degrees C.
Warm oil causes thawing of permafrost
Pipeline sits on insulated supports up to 3m above ground to span rivers and
allow migration of Caribou and other animals
Costs $8 billion to build- started in 1968
12 pumping stations control flow of oil and close down sections of pipeline
in the event of a spillage.
Environmental impacts
TAP's disrupted migration patterns of Caribou herds
Oil spillages have degraded habitats.…read more

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The Oil deposits in ANWR are scattered
USA uses 7 billion barrels per year, more widespread infrastructure
high demand for oil. meaning more damage.
New drilling techniques will leave only Disturbance from transport like
small footprint on environment helicopters
(horizontal drilling)
Income from oil pays 85% of public Offshore exploration may damage the
services. People receive a oil dividend- whaling industry for Inupiut tribe in
one off payment from oil money. the north.…read more



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