We’ve written about how Alaska is the canary in the coal mine, since it’s the place where the effects of global warming are showing up first. Now there is a new disaster in that beautiful state: a huge volcano is about to erupt, preceded by many miniature earthquakes.

The Augustine volcano hasn’t erupted for a long time and it hasn’t shown signs of life for 20 years. In 1976 and 1986, it belched plumes of ash out over Anchorage. Now it looks like it’s ready to erupt. Augustine makes up an uninhabited volcanic island near Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city.

Small earthquakes precede a volcanic eruption, and seismometers recorded more than 170 of these last week.
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Newswise – We’ve written before about how Alaska is the canary in the coal mine, when it comes to global warming. Another way that state is different: in Alaska, you are as likely to have a car accident from hitting (or swerving to avoid) moose as you are due to drinking alcohol.

40% of Alaska?s population lives outside of large cities, and many workers have long commutes through rugged and remote terrain. Although only 1% of the population is involved in farming or ranching, the state does have a large number of large animals. Moose and bears are its most common large wild animals that live in or near residential and commercial areas.
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BBC – Located at the edge of the arctic circle, the small Alaskanvillage of Shishmaref is being literally swallowed by thesea as annually rising waters encroach upon it. AtShishmaref the tide moves an average of 10 feet (3m) closereach year, damaging homes the Eskimos have occupied forgenerations and making the area uninhabitable. Some homeshave already fallen into the sea. So far, all efforts tostem the rising tide have not worked.
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In Alaska, they know that global warming is real, because the average temperature has risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years. No other state in the U.S. is experiencing a greater change in weather than Alaska, according to Senator Ted Stevens. He says, “Alaska is harder hit by global climate change than any place in the world.”

The Bush administration says the temperature rise will bring a longer growing season to Alaska, as well as ice-free seas in the Arctic that are good for shipping. But Alaskans liked their old way of life and aren?t sure the changes will be good ones.
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