Water: Climate Change and Water
Alaska Climate Change and Water
Over the past 50 years, Alaska has warmed at more than twice the average rate of the rest of the United States. Its annual average temperature has increased 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit while winters have warmed by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher temperatures are already causing earlier spring snowmelt, reduced sea ice, widespread glacier retreat, and permafrost warming. Other impacts of concern in this region include drier conditions and increasing acidification of Alaskan waters, which present a threat to the region's subsistence communities and commercial fisheries. For more information about the overall impacts of climate change in Alaska, in addition to water impacts, visit EPA's main climate change website.
Highlights of EPA and Partner Activities
The Climate, Ecosystems & Human Health Work Group, is co-chaired by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, EPA, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium – Center for Climate and Health. This interagency group focuses on addressing ecosystem impacts to human health resulting from a changing climate.
The Alaska Climate Science Center provides scientific information, tools, and techniques for anticipating, monitoring, and adapting to climate change.
Alaska has five different Landscape Conservation Cooperatives that cover the state that work to identify best practices, connect efforts, identify gaps, and avoid duplication through improved conservation planning and design. They include:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Climate Change Executive Roundtable meets regularly to share information and facilitate cooperation among agencies. The roundtable focuses on down-scaled climate data and physical parameter monitoring networks, sea level rise and physical hazard assessment, forecasting species and habitat changes, and data integration and collaboration.The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy works to improve the ability of Alaskans to respond to a changing climate.
Climate and Water Strategy
EPA programs in Alaska will work to design and build infrastructure that can withstand warmer conditions, thawing permafrost, flooding, and fire; ensure adequate water supplies for communities dependent on disappearing sources; and protect water quality to reduce ecosystem stress.
To learn more about the goals and strategic actions at the regional level, read the EPA water program’s 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change.
EPA Regions in Alaska
EPA Region 10 – including Alaska
See the Region 10 climate change website.