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Alaska CSC

Abstract (from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1873965215000110): The goal of this study was to assess the importance of the 2007 sea ice retreat for hydrologic conditions on the Alaskan North Slope, and how this may have influenced the outbreak of tundra fires in this region. This study concentrates on two years, 2007 and 1996, with different arctic sea ice conditions and tundra fire activity. The year of 2007 is characterized by a low summer sea ice extent (second lowest) and high tundra fire activity, while 1996 had high sea ice extent, and few tundra fires. Atmospheric lateral boundary forcing from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis drove the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model, along with varying...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016EF000479/full): Glacier hypsometry provides a first-order approach for assessing a glacier's response to climate forcings. We couple the Randolph Glacier Inventory to a suite of in situ observations and climate model output to examine potential change for the ∼27,000 glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada through the end of the 21st century. By 2100, based on Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 4.5–8.5 forcings, summer temperatures are predicted to increase between +2.1 and +4.6°C, while solid precipitation (snow) is predicted to decrease by −6 to −11%, despite a +9 to +21% increase in total precipitation. Snow is predicted to undergo a pronounced...
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In Alaska, recent research has identified particular areas of the state where both a lack of soil moisture and warming temperatures increase the likelihood of wildfire. While this is an important finding, this previous research did not take into account the important role that melting snow, ice, and frozen ground (permafrost) play in replenshing soil moisture in the spring and summer months. This project will address this gap in the characterization of fire risk using the newly developed monthly water balance model (MWBM). The MWBM takes into account rain, snow, snowmelt, glacier ice melt, and the permafrost layer to better calculate soil moisture replenishment and the amount of moisture that is lost to the atmosphere...
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The Gulf of Alaska is one of the most productive marine ecosystems on Earth, supporting salmon fisheries that alone provide nearly $1 billion per year in economic benefits to Southeast Alaska. Glaciers are central to many of the area’s natural processes and economic activities, but the rates of glacier loss in Alaska are among the highest on Earth, with a 26-36 percent reduction in total volume expected by the end of the century. This project brought together scientists and managers at a workshop to synthesize the impacts of glacier change on the region’s coastal ecosystems and to determine related research and monitoring needs. Collected knowledge shows that melting glaciers are expected to have cascading effects...
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