Ecosystems & Species

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Arctic Sea Ice Decline and its Impacts: Online Resources

Driven by climate variability and change, the extent and volume of Arctic sea ice will drop to one of the lowest levels on record this September. We provide links to resources on past, present and projected Arctic sea ice trends and the consequences in the Arctic and globally.

Dangerously Unprepared: Congressional Budget Cuts are Leaving Americans Vulnerable to Climate Extremes

In 2011, the U.S. has been hammered by climate extremes, with economic damages by mid-June approaching a record $32 billion. Yet determined Congressional opponents of Federal climate change efforts are doggedly impeding Federal activities to inform and engage the public around climate impacts, vulnerability and risks; and to prepare for those impacts. Such tactics have successfully stymied progress on climate policy for over a decade, but at a high cost that is becoming increasingly evident: they have left Americans dangerously unprepared for an era of climate disruption.

Melting Sea Ice is Forcing Polar Bears to Swim Longer, Increasing Cub Mortality

Sea ice loss from climate change is causing polar bears to swim longer distances to find stable ice or reach land, resulting in greater risk to their cubs, according to new study.

For the People and Wildlife of the Northern Great Plains, Heavy Winter and Spring Precipitation Brings a Taste of the Future

In the northern Great Plains, record winter and spring precipitation followed now by historic floods, has affected dramatically both wildlife and people. From decimated populations of pronghorn antelope to flooded riverside communities, there is widespread evidence of the kinds of impacts that are likely to become more common in the region as atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to rise.

Presidents of U.S. and Russia Agree to Step Up Cooperation in Bering Strait Region

President Barack Obama and President  Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on Thursday (26 May 2011) in a joint statement noted the "effects of climate change and other pressures on the common natural and cultural heritage of the Bering Strait region" and the "significance of unique Arctic ecosystems." The two leaders recognized the "importance of cooperation to protect nature and natural resources ... and to apply effective strategies aimed at sustainable development" in the region.  They declared their "intention to deepen cooperation...including the expansion of interaction between the national agencies that are responsible for the specially protected natural territories/areas of both countries..."

Arctic Unravelling: Scientists Report on a Decade of Unprecedented Change in the Arctic

The results of a major assessment of the impacts of climate change on the Arctic's cryosphere (snow, water, ice and permafrost) were released today (4 May 2011).  "The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean and in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past ten years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns," the report concludes.

Pay Now, Pay Later: A State-by-State Assessment of the Costs of Climate Change

The American Security Project on 19 April 2011 released a series of 50 reports -- one for each state -- on the economic consequences of not sharply curbing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the pace of climate change.  "There will be costs to our economic security from climate change—and significant ones at that—if we do nothing but continue business as usual," says Christine Todd Whitman, President of The Whitman Strategy Group and co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council.

Faces of Climate Change, Video Documentary on the Disruptive Consequences of Climate Change on Alaska's Marine Ecosystems

Three new (2011) short videos on the disruptive consequences of climate change on Alaska's marine ecosystems, highlighting the region's scientists and Alaska Natives.  Produced by the Alaska Sea Grant Program in partnership with Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and COSEE Alaska.

Extreme Texas Drought & Wildfires Sharpen Contrast Between Texas Congressional Delegation's Climate Views and Conditions at Home

On Thursday 7 April 2011, all but one of the Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas voted for H.R. 910 to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.  The measure passed the House. EPA's authority to regulate the gases under the Clean Air Act rests on an "endangerment finding" that determined that emissions of those gases threatens the health and welfare of Americans with a wide range of impacts, including more frequent and severe droughts and wildfires.  Texas just experienced its driest March on record, nearly 98% of the state is experiencing drought conditions and the Texas Forest Service said yesterday (9 April 2011) that fire conditions today "could shape up to be among the worst in Texas history." 

NOAA Releases New Strategy for Addressing a Rapidly Changing Arctic

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a report on the Arctic, outlining NOAA’s vision and strategy for dealing with a rapidly changing environment and improving forecasts of the region's weather and sea ice conditions.

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