Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Elizabeth R. Purdy
THE LARGEST AND the coldest of the 50 American states, Alaska is already experiencing the effects of climate change. The state, which is located in the extreme northwestern portion of the North American continent, normally experiences temperatures ranging from minus 60 degrees F (minus 51 degrees C) in the winter to more than 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) in interior areas during summer months. Over the last three decades, Alaska's average temperature has risen 5 degrees F (2.7 degrees C). Around the world, glaciers are melting at unprecedented levels, threatening animal and plant ecosystems. In Alaska, warmer temperatures are causing the breaking up of portions of Porter Glacier. Alaska shares an eastern border with Canada and is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Gulf of Alaska, the Beaufort Sea, the Bering Sea, the Bering Strait, and the Chuckchi Sea, all of which are also filled Sea ...