Climate models show Fairbanks shifting to Saskatoon-like conditions by 2100

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, September 17, 2010:

When Rich Boone looks at the future of Fairbanks, he can’t help but envision the canola fields outside Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

That’s because a projected warming trend in Alaska could eventually give the Interior the same climate characteristics that exist in that Canadian Midwestern agricultural city. Boone, a professor and ecosystem ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, used that example during a Wednesday presentation on climate change science.

Fairbanks faces a roughly 11-degree Fahrenheit temperature increase by 2100 if moderate climate-change models are used, Boone said. If that holds true, the Interior will no longer be characterized by permafrost and boreal forests.

“I think that’s very realistic,” Boone said. “We’d be in a zone that would potentially be prairie.”

Warming models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict worldwide temperatures will increase by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit during the next century. Since Arctic regions have been warming at roughly twice the rate of other parts of the globe, especially big changes could be ahead for residents of the north.