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How climate change may alter the Northern Rim

Narrator:       This is Science Today. What will parts of our planet look like in 2050? Laurence Smith, a professor of Earth and space sciences at UCLA has been studying the effects of climate and environmental change in the wild and primitive Northern Rim.

Smith:            My core fundamental research area is climate science. I look at hydrology rates of temperature change, rates of temperature change, melting glaciers. I use a lot of satellite data with my research, but for this broader project I was also interested in issues that face humans as well, and demographics and demand for natural resources and global trade. 

Narrator:       Smith says warming temperatures could have an effect on the area's population, trade, resources and climate.

Smith:            In winter, they'll look a lot like they do today. They'll still always be cold and icy and dark in the wintertime, but in the summer for example, we will see a dramatic reduction in the amount of sea ice cover that's in the Arctic Ocean. This has huge repercussions for human activity and human presence because shipping is actually the cheapest form of transport by far.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.