baked alaska

The USA Today has a fantastic multimedia presentation on the thawing of Alaska. In addition to a solid article on the subject, it shows an interactive graph of the temperature change (aka the hockey stick) from 200 A.D. – 2100 A.D. Move your mouse over the graph and you’ll see the what the temperature was/is/will be, how it was calculated, and what was happening at the time. For example, in 870 A.D., the average world temperature was 57 degrees (based on scientific analysis). During that time, the Mayan civilization was at its peak but eventually collapsed due to intense drought.

Click on the video player and you’ll see a map of Alaska and three small videos that illustrate retreat of glaciers, impacts on permafrost (including what permafrost is), and impacts on the forest as the summers get warmer. As each brief video plays, the locations appear on the background map.

I’m not normally a fan of the “McPaper” and the reporters are a bit too even-handed with the little ice age arguments (which translates as, “there’s some microscopic doubt that humans are causing climate change but let’s overinflate the counterargument so as not to upset the conservatives”). However, this elevates my respect of the paper. It’s an excellent presentation and well-worth a visit.

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