(By Joel Achenbach,
To the untrained eye, Bonanza Creek forest in Fairbanks, Alaska is breathtaking, a vibrant place alive with butterflies and birds, with evidence of moose and bear at every turn. But look through forest ecologyist Glenn Juday's eyes, and you see a dying landscape. Since the 1970s, climate change has doubled the growing season in some places and raised state temperatures 6 degrees in the winter and 3.5 on average annually since 1950, says Juday, a professor at the University of Alaska. Drought is killing spruce, aspen and birch trees. Alaska has emerged as the poster state for global warming, the climate effect attributed to higher concentrations of "greenhouse" gases- mostly carbon dioxide created by burning fossil fuels- that capture the sun's heat in the atmosphere. Global warming is a hot topic, especially now. Hurricane season begins soon, and climate researchers warn that rising ocean temperatures may bring more intense storms. Ex- vice president Al Gore is back in the news with his acclaimed documentary on warming, An Inconvenient Truth. President Bush, who has been criticized by environmental groups that say he has been slow to acknowledge the dangers posed by warming, said last week that "people in our country are rightly concerned about greenhouse gases and the environment."