High-latitude Climate Change

A weather station high in the mountains.
Weather stations in remote areas of parks help us get more accurate local weather data for monitoring change.

Climate is a fundamental driver of ecology. Alaska's climate is influenced by the oceans and sea ice, its high-latitude location on Earth, major mountain ranges and elevation, and continentality in Interior Alaska.

The effects of climate change are being felt acutely in the Arctic, which is warming approximately three times faster than the global average. Climate change-driven impacts are accelerating throughout Alaska, and with millions of acres of federally protected public lands, changes (large and small) are affecting landscapes, wildlife, habitat, and human activities in and around Alaska’s parks.

Climate change is a global challenge that we must work to resolve as a society. The National Park Service recognizes that no single entity will be able to “fix” this problem on its own. But, addressing climate change is a core responsibility within our mission to protect parks for future generations. We do this by taking necessary and effective action to address the effects of climate change in parks through adaptation, mitigation, and communication.

We also recognize that people who have deep connections to the land and sea around them hold important knowledge of environmental change. Their observations are essential for building a broader understanding of the past, how things are changing, the effects these changes are having on people, and for planning for future adaptation.

  • A dog sled team has run out of snow.
    Climate Change Impacts

    All parks in Alaska are showing some ecological impacts from a warming climate. We investigate and quantify these changes.

  • A rock cairn with lichens and mosses on it.
    Indigenous & Traditional Knowledge

    Indigenous & traditional knowledge is critical to understand the context of climate change, how people are impacted, and how they can adapt.

  • A group of people stand together looking at a map.
    Taking Action

    The National Park Service incorporates climate change considerations into planning and decision making.

Last updated: September 6, 2023