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Climate Change and Alaskan Wetlands. Sadie Iverson SWES 574. Wetlands in Alaska. As of 1990, only 0.1% lost. Walker et al. 2005. Wetland Types. Many varieties Peatlands (muskegs) Marshes (salt and freshwater) Some affected by permafrost. Copper River Delta, southeast Alaska.

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Climate change and alaskan wetlands

Climate Change and Alaskan Wetlands

Sadie Iverson

SWES 574


Wetlands in alaska
Wetlands in Alaska

As of 1990, only 0.1% lost

Walker et al. 2005


Wetland types
Wetland Types

  • Many varieties

  • Peatlands (muskegs)

  • Marshes (salt and freshwater)

  • Some affected by permafrost

Copper River Delta, southeast Alaska


Wildlife signficance
Wildlife Signficance

  • Examples:

    • Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta (at left)

    • Copper River Delta

bna.birds.cornell.edu


Climate change
Climate Change

  • 0.6°C warming over 20th century

  • Causes

    • End of Little Ice Age

    • Excess greenhouse gases


Arctic impact
Arctic Impact?

  • Importance of ice

  • Atmospheric effects

  • Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004


Why alaska
Why Alaska?

  • Arctic effects

  • Heavily mapped for oil and mineral exploration

  • Low population density (fewer human effects)

A muskeg


Methane effect
Methane Effect

  • Alaska produces 7% of the Arctic’s methane

  • Attributed to warming of peatlands

Felzer and Hu 2004


Successional effect
Successional Effect

  • Encroachment of scrubby trees like spruce

  • Typical of warming eras in history

  • Potential effects not fully understood

Sturm 2001


Wetland loss example
Wetland Loss Example

  • Kenai Peninsula Lowlands


Kenai results
Kenai Results

Muskegs, kettle ponds turn to wet soil or uplands

Rise in temperature, lowering of moisture

(Klein et al. 2005)


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