Global climate hot topic for AAAS conference in Anchorage, AK

September 29, 2004

When it comes to global climate change, effects of the phenomenon are seen in Arctic regions first. Evidence of this change comes in a variety of forms: warming permafrost, coastal erosion, extreme temperature fluctuations, and signs from the region's forests. Experts in each of these areas will meet during a special session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Arctic Division Science Conference in Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

The Arctic Climate Impacts and Global Change session will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Captain Cook Hotel. John Walsh, the President's Professor of Global Climate Change from the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will chair the session.

Among session speakers is Martha Shulski, a climatologist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Arctic Climate Research Center at the Geophysical Institute. She will discuss extreme weather events experienced throughout Alaska. The summer of 2004 had its fair share of extreme weather. Many cities experienced the warmest temperatures ever, while precipitation levels tumbled to all-time lows across the state.

Dave Atkinson of the International Arctic Research Center also will present research on coastal erosion triggered by diminished sea ice along Alaska's coast. This type of erosion is threatening many rural communities, including the village of Shishmaref on the Seward Peninsula. Shishmaref may have to relocate due to the severity of recent erosion.

For more information about other sessions at the 55th AAAS Arctic Division Science Conference, log onto the World Wide Web for an agenda at http://arctic.aaas.org/meetings/.
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CONTACT: John Walsh, President's Professor of Global Climate Change at IARC 907-474-2677
Amy Hartley, IARC Information Officer, 907-474-5823

University of Alaska Fairbanks

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