Executive Summary for March 10th

Here’s a look at how global efforts to curb climate change may not be enough to stop Arctic sea ice from vanishing, how the Arctic’s food chain may be coming undone, and how the Trump administration’s planned budget cuts could impact Alaska.

Published on March 10, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Climate Goals May Not Prevent an Ice-Free Arctic Ocean

Global efforts to rein in the world’s warming may not be enough to prevent sea ice largely disappearing from the Arctic Ocean during the summer months by the end of the century, as Reuters reports. The Arctic Ocean’s sea ice has undergone dramatic declines in recent years, and a statistical review of sea ice conditions suggests the current target of holding warming to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times won’t be enough to stop the Arctic’s sea ice from largely vanishing in the summer.

The Arctic’s Food Chain May Be Weakening

Shrinking sea ice is bad news for many Arctic animals, as this ice helps hold the Arctic’s food chain together, the Guardian reports. Algae growing beneath the ice is eaten by critters called zooplankton, which in turn are eaten by fish, which are eaten by seals, which are eaten by polar bears. As sea ice disappears, a more temperate species of zooplankton is encroaching, which offers far fewer nutritional benefits to Arctic animals.

Planned EPA Cuts Could Impact Rural Alaska

The Trump administration’s plans to slash spending on the Environmental Protection Agency could mean millions of dollars being diverted away from programs aimed at improving drinking water and wastewater disposal for rural Alaskans, as Alaska Dispatch News reports. Money earmarked to help Alaskans adapt to climate change is similarly at stake.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is also expected to see a steep budget cut, as the Washington Post reports. The same goes with the U.S. Coast guard, and that could impact plans to replace one of its two aging icebreakers – as Foreign Policy reports, the Coast Guard has been counting on getting more money, rather than less.

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