Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Climate Change Could Compromise Health In Alaska

Many of us have heard about the havoc climate change is causing in the great north -- from Alaska to Siberia.

For example, melting permafrost is causing roads and homes to crack, telephone polls to fall over, and trees to tilt, creating what appear to be "drunken" forests.  And that's just the beginning...

Now comes news of still more impacts of climate change to human health and pubic safety.  As the Alaska Journal of Commerce reports:

An immediate concern is for Point Hope, two officials with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium said at the gathering. Community officials there worry that the lateness of the formation of shore-fast ice this year presents a danger that an early-winter storm surge could overwhelm a seawall and endanger the community, said Mike Brubaker, with the tribal consortium's health group.

The thawing of ice cellars in several villages poses different problems. In Kivalina, on the coast, and Noatak, which is inland, ice cellars that were frozen year-round a decade ago now thaw and flood in the summer, causing spoilage of food stored in cellars, Brubaker said.

There are some reports of ice cellar thaw as far north as Barrow.

Cellars are important for safe storage of subsistence foods that can be gathered only at certain times of the year. Increased spoilage increases threats of food-related sickness.

Another problem was cited by John Warren, with the tribal consortium's engineering group. The gradual thawing of permafrost around tundra lakes and along streams has resulted in more organic material in the water and more algae growth, which complicates the operation of water treatment plants, he said.

Anytime you see or hear a news reporter call global warming an "environmental" issue, this is another of the many articles archived on this blog that you can send them...

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