Cold Environments Case Study

Case Studies for the AS Topic Cold Environments

  • Created by: Soka12
  • Created on: 28-04-14 10:50

Alaska- Tundra Region

Covers 80,000km2 - US government wants to develop the resources. 

Challenges to Humans:

Permafrost, Short Summers, Surface Thaw, Blizzards, Low Temperatures.

Humans adapted to environment:

Inuits only take what they need to survive, sustainable - don't exploit.

Exploitation in the past:

17th Century- Whaling, sealing and gold mining.

20th Century- Fishing, oil mining and Tourism.

WW2- Trans Alaskan Highway, weapon transport. 

Post Cold War- Alaska close to Russia- military exploitation.

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Alaska- Tundra Region- Continued...


 50 years to return to original state, limited plant species. 

Newcomers Adaptations:  

Pipes raised above ground (insulated), small buildings elevated, icr-pads on roads insulating roads.

Trans-Alaskan Pipeline:

 1968 oil discovered, 5yrs to design 3 to build cost $8bil, 1.4mil barrells per day.


Air pollution, Over hunting, Damaged ground, Tourism (litter, vegetation etc)

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Antarctica/ Southern Ocean

5th largest continent. 99% covered by ice which 5km thick. 12million years of ice age.


Fluctuations in the food chain, 50 years + to return to original state.

Why Use?: 

Whaling- 300 employed, species running dangerously low, 19th Century 27,500. 1964 1,000-2,000. Since restrictions 5,000 left.

Sealing- Used for fur, 300,000 dead in 3 years.


Why go?- Glacial landscapes, cruise ships, camping etc.

Sustainability- Guidelines, no litter, code of conduct.

Impacts- Tern colonies suffer disturbances, foot prints remain.

Numbers- 6,700 in 1992. 45,000 in 2009. 1,000-5,000 researchers a year.

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Antarctica/ Southern Ocean Continued...

Antartica Treaty:

Peaceful- no military/ nuclear activity.

Free access/ research rights.

100 visitors at a time.

Preventing Cruises. 

Protocol for Environmental Protection (1991)

2/3 world population, 45 signatures.

Ban on mineral resource activity.

Comprehensive monitoring. 

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