Climate change data

  • Climate change refers to change over time due to natural variability or as a result of human activity (IPCC, 2008). Alaska is experiencing a wide range of impacts from climate change and communities seek adaptive strategies that encourage wellness and sustainability. This report documents climate change impacts as described by local people and climate change effects or potential effects as interpreted through the lens of public health. It is the seventh report in a series describing climate change across Alaska, and the second report to focus on the Bristol Bay region, the first being in the community of Pilot Point. In the Dena’ina community of Nondalton, residents report changes to the weather, the landscape, plants and wildlife with important implications for public health. Weather events with extreme precipitation, wind and temperatures have been observed in recent years and there is a perception that these are occurring more intensely and more frequently. Understanding community impact of climate change is important for assessing negative and positive effects on health. Melting glaciers is improving flight conditions through Lake Clark Pass, but also changing lake conditions with uncertain impacts on fish and wildlife. Some subsistence resources such as caribou are more scarce while some types of salmon are being harvested with greater frequency. Rising temperature in summer raises concerns about heat illness and presents new challenges when preparing dry fish and other subsistence foods. Important health topics include food security, water security, heat related illness, and infrastructure vulnerability to damage and disruption from extreme weather events, and safety related to travel in increasingly unpredictable weather and changing seasons and landscape. This report includes observations, experience and knowledge shared by a wide range of local experts. Predictions and projections are based on available information and limited by the quality of current scientific data and the uncertainties inherent in models. Research and model development is ongoing in Alaska and new information will be available in the near future.

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