Future Arctic: Field Notes from a World on the Edge

Island Pr. Feb. 2015. 192p. ISBN 9781610914406. $27. SCI
Earth's arctic regions are warming rapidly. Canadian journalist Struzik (The Big Thaw) has roamed his nation's northern territories, hosted by scientists at remote camps. He predicts a transformation as pack ice, glaciers, and permafrost continue to melt, while more temperate vegetation and wildlife species move in. Climate change is exposing significant mineral resources and opening the Arctic Ocean to shipping. Struzik points out the vulnerability of arctic river deltas to upstream pollution and notes that the Canadian government is encouraging northern economic development yet cutting funding for scientific research. Arctic oil and gas exploration is going ahead, but any spill or blowout could become a disaster. Meanwhile, U.S. government agencies are studying climate change effects in Alaska and the Bering Sea. The author does mention developments in other northern areas: the five arctic coastal nations are surveying to claim extended continental shelves.
VERDICT There is some redundancy in the text, but Struzik's travel vignettes and discussion about the north are compelling. While arctic warming is having global effects, Alaskan and Canadian readers will be particularly interested in what this author has to say about its future.
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