Tag Archives: Arctic

Beavers on the move!

Just another confirmation that climate change is real and is happening literally in front of our eyes. Canadian beavers are moving north, colonizing areas that had not seen a beaver in generations.

Because of a warming climate beavers are making their way to the Arctic coastline. This migration has caused problems for the native ecosystem but as well to the people of the north. Fish-bearing creeks are being plugged by the beavers and some lakes have dried up.

As the Arctic becomes more green the beavers are finding it more to their liking, but at the same time this warming is threatening species such as caribou, reindeer and pikas.

Fishermen in the Mackenzie Delta are worried that beavers may become so plentiful as to affect their livelihood. Favourite fishing creeks are being dammed up.

Other people in the area are less worried. Some of the older generation remember when beavers were far numerous in the Mackenzie Delta. Beaver populations seem to fluctuate in the area.

 

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Refreezing the Arctic?

If there is one good thing about a crisis, it is that it will spur people to think outside the box in a quest for novel solutions. The problem is in selecting the ones that make economic sense and won’t harm more in the long run if they are adopted. Due to the concern that the Arctic may be free of ice by 2030 some scientists have begun to advocate the refreezing of the Arctic using wind-powered pumps. It would involve 10 million devices deployed over ten percent of the Arctic costing at least 500 billion dollars.

With less ice in the Arctic to reflect the sun heat continues to be concentrated which in turn causes further warming. In other words, a negative feedback loop harmful to the planet.

In theory the pumps would work as the ice thickness could be increased by one meter per decade. But, would the pumps work in the harsh conditions of the Arctic? And what about the impact of these pumps on the environment? A lot of questions but no real answers.

Most people agree that something must be done, but these technological solutions are really good for last-ditch efforts, if all fails. The biggest question of all is of course who would pay for such a solution? But it is better now to start thinking about these outlandish solutions so that a real cost can be estimated and better solutions can be found. I am glad to see that some people are thinking about the problem.

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