A Warming Climate Will Create Change for Alaska’s Pacific Salmon

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Alaska CASC research on snowpack changes and Pacific Salmon impacts under a warming climate has been highlighted in an article by Yale Climate Connections.

The Yukon River near St. Mary’s, Alaska

The Yukon River near St. Mary’s, Alaska. 

(Credit: Ryan Toohey, Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center. Public domain.)

Read the original news story posted by Yale Climate Connections, here.

Salmon is one of Alaska’s most vital and iconic species. However, their growth and reproductive success is sensitive to the state’s changing freshwater systems. Alaska CASC researchers Jeremy Littell and Steph McAfee are working with partners at the National Park Service and US Forest Service to study how changes in Alaska snowpack may impact pacific salmon. As air temperatures generally increase, snowpack will fluctuate in Alaska watersheds, exceeding what salmon and other fish species have been able to adapt to in the past. Their finding were published in “So Goes the Snow: Alaska Snowpack Changes and Impacts on Pacific Salmon in a Warming Climate.”

“Salmon are really critical in most of Alaska,” says Steph McAfee. “They’re economically important, and so the question ‘What would changes in climate mean for salmon?’ is really important for Alaska on many, many fronts from subsistence to the enormous commercial fishery.”

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