Clarion News 08-04-2016
The law I'd like to see Governor Walker sign is the one that says the state of Alaska won't consider any more proposals that involve strip mining in drainages that contain salmon streams.
It's outrageous that we're even talking to the Pebble people ...
10 Endangered Foods
The unfortunate truth is that not everything lasts forever.
# 6. Salmon
There’s something fishy about water temps these days, and salmon know that first hand.
These fish depend on cold water for reproduction, but global warming is causing the water temperatures to rise, thus causing a huge decline in salmon population.
They’re also threatened by river damming and pollution.
So all you salmon fans out there – maybe switch to an Hydrogen car?
The Alaskan Highway Is Literally Melting
For seven decades, the Alaska Highway has mesmerized adventure-seeking travelers.
In one breathtaking stretch through the Yukon, glacier lakes and rivers snake through aspen forests and rugged mountains that climb into the clouds.
In some parts of the 1,387-mile (2,232 kilometer) highway, the shifting is so pronounced, it has buckled parts of the asphalt.
Caution flags warn drivers to slow down, while engineers are hard at work concocting seemingly improbable solutions: inserting plastic cooling tubes or insulation sheets, using lighter-colored asphalt or adding layers of soccer-ball sized rocks -- fixes that are financially and logistically daunting.
“It’s the single biggest geotechnical problem we have,” said Jeff Currey, materials engineer for the northern region of Alaska’s Department of Transportation.
“The Romans built roads 2,000 years ago that people are still using. On the other hand, we have built roads that within a year or two, without any maintenance, look like a roller coaster because they are built over thaw-unstable permafrost.”
At the time of its construction, the highway was a show of American ingenuity and determination during World War II.
In March 1942, just months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Army hastily began to build a road linking Alaska, another exposed Pacific outpost, through Canada to the lower 48 states.
Seven months later it was opened, providing a key supply line in case of invasion.
Today the highway serves as the main artery connecting the “Last Frontier” with Canada and the northwestern U.S., bringing tourists to Alaska cruise ships; food, supplies and medicine to remote towns; and equipment to oil fields and mines that are the region’s lifeblood.
Judy Gagnon, a 67-year-old trucker, has driven Canada’s roads since the early 1970s and said she’s seeing “more pieces fall apart.”
Some damage is regular wear and tear, but “they are having trouble maintaining the road bed, because you have the permafrost underneath, and then you have it melting and it’s sinking.”
The highway’s dark surface absorbs sunlight while the shoulders trap water and snow that act like a warm blanket.
The heat breaks down the permafrost (soil, rock or sediment frozen for at least two consecutive years).
Annual repair costs for one section that runs through the Yukon are C$30,000 ($22,900) per kilometer, seven times the average, according to a territorial government report.
Thawing also threatens airport runways, buildings, animal-migration patterns and energy pipelines. It’s a problem outside North America, too.
More than 600 scientists from nations including the U.S., Canada, Russia, China, Sweden and Argentina, attended an international permafrost conference in June.
Forty-three percent of a 124-mile stretch between Alaska and Whitehorse, the Yukon capital, is “highly vulnerable to permafrost thaw,” according to a report co-authored by Fabrice Calmels, a researcher at Yukon College.
“It’s like taking five stories out of a 10-story building,” he said in an interview.
The key is creating infrastructure that’s “resilient” to future changes, said Paul Murchison, director of transportation engineering at the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works.
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, and Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna stressed the urgency of the problem at a July 15 discussion on global warming.
McKenna gave a grim update on Carney’s birthplace in the Northwest Territories, just east of the Yukon.
“Communities are unable to reach each other, it’s harder to get goods there,” she told attendees in Toronto.
Thawing permafrost isn’t “just an inconvenience, folks; it’s a change in the way of life.”
Stunning Photos of the 100-Year-Old
The Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) laid its final ties between Moscow and Vladivostok 100 years ago this month, concluding a 25-year project first set into motion by Tsar Alexander III.
His original motivation was economic—how best to connect and develop remote Siberia?
but the ambitious project has since become a point of national pride.
I particularly liked the way he downplayed what he has done, comparing his challenges to those of governors who faced crises before, particularly Bill Egan, an Alaska founding father who Walker said he first met while holding a volunteer fire ...
Alaska's perspective on heroin ...