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Communities, resource managers, and decision makers in Arctic Alaska are in need of scientific information to base important decisions related to anticipating and adapting to changes in temperature and precipitation. Since its inception in 2011, the Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC) and its partners have produced a variety of scientific products and datasets aimed at supporting this need and increasing climate change resilience in the Arctic. However, much of the information related to these activities is dispersed across many technical publications, and is often not readily accessible to those outside the research community. In an effort to make this science more available and accessible, the AK CSC is working...
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In Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, snow plays a crucial role in atmospheric and hydrologic systems and has a major influence on the health and function of regional ecosystems. Warming temperatures may have a significant impact on snow and may therefore affect the entire water cycle of the region. A decrease in precipitation in the form of snow, or “snow drought”, can manifest in several ways including changes to total snowfall amounts, snow accumulation, and the timing/length of the snow season. Understanding these changes is then critical for understanding and predicting a variety of climate impacts to wildlife and ecosystems. However, little research has been conducted to date to understand how this change may...
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Permafrost – the thick layer of permanently frozen soil found in Arctic regions – has been thawing rapidly over the past century due to climate change. When permafrost thaws unevenly, it produces thermokarst landscapes, irregular surfaces of small hills interspersed with hollows. The processes that produce thermokarst can lead to significant changes within the surrounding ecosystems, altering water quality, vegetation, and water, carbon, and nutrient storage and flows. These changes can have substantial implications for fish and wildlife populations and disrupt rural communities and infrastructure. The goal of this project was to better understand the extent of thermokarst processes and the rate at which they...
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Snow is extremely important to a wide range of natural processes in Alaska. Snow cover helps regulate the earth’s temperature and stores water on the landscape. As it melts, snow hydrates the soil and replenishes the freshwater supplies of streams and lakes, providing water for vegetation, wildlife, and human activities such as agriculture and electricity generation. Understanding present and future snow conditions under climate change is critical for managing Alaska’s natural resources, yet many scientists, land managers, and policymakers lack this information at useful scales. Hence, the goal of this project was to produce an advanced snow modeling system for part of the Arctic that predicts a variety of factors...
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Permafrost is a layer of perennially frozen soil that primarily exists in and around the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the world. While a shallow near-surface soil layer (called active layer) thaws during the summer and re-freezes in the winter, the underlying permafrost remains perennially frozen, often underlying buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. As warmer temperatures become more common, thawing of permafrost could have major consequences for Alaska. Where thawing has already occurred, dramatic changes in ecosystems and existing infrastructure are evident. For example, thawing permafrost along the ocean shore and riverbanks in Northern Alaska is causing substantial coastal erosion and is impacting...
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Permafrost, or ground that remains frozen for two or more consecutive years, is found across approximately 80% of Alaska. Rising temperatures and changes in the fire regime are already causing significant thawing of permafrost, leading to impacts such as erosion, landslides, changes in plant growth, and damage to roads and infrastructure. Over the course of the past six years, the Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC) and its partners at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) have developed an extensive suite of research related to the impacts of changing climate on permafrost within the Alaska region. This body of AK CSC sponsored research complements a variety of previous and ongoing efforts based at the UAF...
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Migratory birds are important for recreation and tourism, contributing to a vibrant birdwatching industry in Alaska. Every spring, hundreds of birds migrate to their summer breeding grounds in Alaska and northern Canada. Their arrival is timed with the height of the spring green-up of plants, which provide the food necessary for birds to reproduce and raise their young. However, over the last fifty years, warming temperatures in Alaska as a result of climate change have prompted an earlier transition from winter to spring. The purpose of this project was to examine whether there have been changes in the timing of spring green-up in recent years (1985-2009) and, if so, whether migratory birds are adapting their migration...


    map background search result map search result map Impacts of Climate-Driven Changes in Spring Green-Up on Migratory Birds in Alaska Monitoring Thermokarst on the Landscapes of Northern Alaska Assessing Permafrost Changes and Related Impacts on Alaskan Infrastructure and Communities Modeling and Predicting Future Changes in Snowfall and Snow Cover in Alaska A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Arctic Alaska Snow Drought: Recognizing and Understanding its Impacts in Alaska Permafrost Change and Impacts on Infrastructure and Resources in Alaska: A Synthesis of Past Work Assessing Permafrost Changes and Related Impacts on Alaskan Infrastructure and Communities Modeling and Predicting Future Changes in Snowfall and Snow Cover in Alaska Monitoring Thermokarst on the Landscapes of Northern Alaska A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Arctic Alaska Snow Drought: Recognizing and Understanding its Impacts in Alaska Permafrost Change and Impacts on Infrastructure and Resources in Alaska: A Synthesis of Past Work Impacts of Climate-Driven Changes in Spring Green-Up on Migratory Birds in Alaska