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Fri Dec 13, 2019, 05:46 AM

Stronger winds in store for Northwest Alaska in coming decades, scientists say

In Kotzebue, understanding wind conditions is a central part of life. High winds can knock out electricity, cause flooding, disrupt sea ice and make travel dangerous, said Alex Whiting, environmental program director at the Native Village of Kotzebue.

When strong winds jumble and crunch up existing ice in certain areas, it can cause unsafe travel conditions “potentially for the rest of that year if it happens early enough,” Whiting said.

The future looks increasingly windy for some coastal communities in northwestern Alaska like Kotzebue: New research published in the journal Atmospheric and Climate Sciences showed that high wind events have increased since 1980 and will continue over the course of this century in areas along the state’s northwestern coast.

Researchers Sarah Pearl, an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College, and John Walsh, chief scientist at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, wanted to better understand what Alaska’s wind patterns looked like in the past and what they could look like in the future, based on two climate models.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/science/2019/12/13/stronger-winds-in-store-for-northwest-alaska-in-coming-decades-scientists-say/
(Anchorage Daily News)

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