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Contact: Susan V. Fisk, Public Relations Director, 608-273-8091,

What are Alaska’s soils telling us?

Unique soils show effects of climate change

Sept. 1, 2017 –  What can frozen soils teach us?  The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) September 1 Soils Matter blog post explains how Alaskan soils are increasing our understanding of soils, water movement, and climate change.

Mark Clark with Alaska soil“Alaskan soils are telling us the climate is changing,” says Mark H. Clark. Clark is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist and former Natural Resources Conservation Services soil scientist in Alaska. “This is especially true in the extensive permafrost landscapes of Interior and Western Alaska. Winter temperatures are now significantly warmer. The amount of pack ice is in decline, and ice forms later in fall and melts earlier in spring.”

According to Clark, these warmer temperatures result in:

  • More coastal erosion in areas no longer protected by ice;
  • Displacement of communities near the shore;
  • Increased maintenance costs to Alaskan buildings, roads, and bridges;
  • More Alaskan land converted to agricultural use.

Clark emphasizes the unique opportunity Alaskan soils provide. “Soils in Alaska are quite different from those in the lower 49 states. Discoveries there in the last few decades have even changed the way soil scientists are trained.”

To read the entire blog post, visit

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The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. Founded in 1936, SSSA proudly celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2011. For more information, visit or follow @SSSA_soils on Twitter.