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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: P-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data at 5 m resolution from Kahiltna Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alaska Range, Alaska, USA, show pronounced spatial variation in penetration depth, δ P. We obtained δ P by differencing X- and P-band digital elevation models. δ P varied significantly over the glacier, but it was possible to distinguish representative zones. In the accumulation area, δ P decreased with decreasing elevation from 18±3 m in the percolation zone to 10±4 m in the wet snow zone. In the central portion of the ablation area, a location free of debris and crevasses, we identified a zone of very high δ P (34±4 m) which decreased at lower elevations (23±3 m in bare ice...
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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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These files include historical downscaled estimates of decadal average monthly snow-day fraction ("fs", units = percent probability from 1 – 100) for each month of the decades from 1900-1909 to 2000-2009 at 771 x 771 m spatial resolution. Each file represents a decadal average monthly mean. Version 1.0 was completed in 2015 Version 2.0 was completed in 2018 These snow-day fraction estimates were produced by applying equations relating decadal average monthly temperature to snow-day fraction to downscaled decadal average monthly temperature. Separate equations were used to model the relationship between decadal monthly average temperature and the fraction of wet days with snow for seven geographic regions in the...
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Changes in stream temperature can have significant impacts on water quality and the health and survival of aquatic fish and wildlife. Water managers, planners, and decision makers are in need of scientific data to help them prepare for and adapt to changes and conserve important resources. Scientists are tasked with ensuring that this data is produced in useful formats and is accessible to these stakeholders. In October 2015, project researchers hosted and facilitated a 1.5 day workshop, “Data Storage, Dissemination and Harvesting”, that brought together over 50 stakeholders from state and federal agencies, tribal governments, universities, and non-profit organizations interested in monitoring stream temperature...
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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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Throughout Alaska, land managers and rural communities are faced with developing climate adaptation strategies to prepare for changes in landscapes, ecosystems and terrestrial habitats and their associated resources and services. One of the greatest challenges for land use managers and stakeholders in Alaska is the discovery and accessibility of relevant scientific information and data. The effective dissemination and communication of science relies on improving access for stakeholders to discover research, management plans, and data within their geographic area of interest. To respond to this need, the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NWBLCC) has launched the Northwest Boreal Science and Management...
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These files include climatological summaries of downscaled historical and projected decadal average monthly snowfall equivalent ("SWE", in millimeters), the ratio of snowfall equivalent to precipitation, and future change in snowfall for October-March at 771-meter spatial resolution across the state of Alaska. **Derived snow variables and summaries. Data are for summary October to March Alaska climatologies for:** 1) historical and future snowfall equivalent ("SWE"), produced by multiplying snow-day fraction by decadal average monthly precipitation and summing over 6 months from October to March to estimate the total SWE on April 1. 2) historical and future ratio of SWE to precipitation ("SFEtoP"), SFEtoP is the...
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...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12875/abstract): Permafrost thaw can alter the soil environment through changes in soil moisture, frequently resulting in soil saturation, a shift to anaerobic decomposition, and changes in the plant community. These changes, along with thawing of previously frozen organic material, can alter the form and magnitude of greenhouse gas production from permafrost ecosystems. We synthesized existing methane (CH 4) and carbon dioxide (CO 2) production measurements from anaerobic incubations of boreal and tundra soils from the geographic permafrost region to evaluate large-scale controls of anaerobic CO 2 and CH 4 production and compare the relative importance...
The Klamath Basin in Oregon and California is home to a rich abundance of natural and cultural resources, many of which are vulnerable to present and future climate change. Climate change also threatens traditional ways of life for tribal communities, who have deep connections to the region. This project sought to increase the effectiveness of regional climate change adaptation and planning by (1) developing ways to integrate traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) with western science in decision making, (2) building partnerships between tribal, academic, and government institutions, and (3) increasing future capacity to respond to climate change by engaging tribal youth. Through this project, the Quartz Valley...
Berry Risk Mapping and Modeling of Native and exotic defoliators in Alaska is a jointly funded project between the Alaska Climate Science Center and the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
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The Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula rivers in the Arctic are heavily glaciated waterways that are important for fish and wildlife as well as human activities including the provision of food, recreation, and, potentially, resource extraction on the coastal plain. If current glacial melting trends continue, most of the ice in these rivers will disappear in the next 50-100 years. Because of their importance to human and natural communities, it is critical to understand how these rivers and their surrounding environments will be affected by climate change and glacier loss. The overarching goal of this project is to research (1) the amount of river water, sediment, nutrients, and organic matter in the Jago, Okpilak, and...
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The western coast of Alaska is a remote region, rich in wildlife and providing critical nesting habitat for many of Alaska’s seabirds. It is also home to indigenous communities who rely upon the region’s natural resources to support a traditional lifestyle of hunting, gathering, and fishing. Although the region is frequently subject to extensive inland flooding from Bering Sea storms, little is known about the extent and frequency of flooding and its impacts on vegetation, wildlife, and water quality. Furthermore, information is lacking about how climate change and sea-level rise (which can influence the frequency and intensity of storms and subsequent flooding) are affecting this area, its communities, and their...
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Through its many research projects and initiatives, the Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC) collects important scientific data that can be shared and used by resource managers in decision-making or other scientists who may access and use the data to move forward the state of the science on a particular topic. The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), through the work of staff at its International Arctic Research Center (IARC), has become one of the primary providers of data services for the Alaska CSC to help make this data available and accessible and to ensure that it meets required standards and is properly managed, stored, and used. In particular, ongoing UAF data stewardship activities include ensuring that...
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Water is a key ecosystem service that provides life to vegetation, animals, and human communities. The distribution and flow of water on a landscape influences many ecological functions, such as the distribution and health of vegetation and soil development and function. However, the future of many important water resources remains uncertain. Reduced snowfall and snowpack, earlier spring runoff, increased winter streamflow and flooding, and decreased summer streamflow have all been identified as potential impacts to water resources due to climate change. These factors all influence the water balance in the Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest (PCTR). Ensuring healthy flow and availability of water resources is...
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Suicide Basin is a glacier-fed lake that branches off Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. Since 2011, Suicide Basin has been collecting melt- and rainwater each summer, creating a temporary glacier-dammed lake. Water that accumulates typically gets released through channels that run beneath the glacier. These channels are normally blocked by ice, but if the water pressure gets too high the channel breaks open, rapidly draining the basin in what is known as an “outburst flood”. In past years, these events have led to flooding along Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River in the most heavily populated neighborhood of Juneau. Because of the threats posed to infrastructure in the Mendenhall Valley, it is critical that...
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Alaska has complex topography, with its extensive coastlines, dozens of islands, and mountain ranges that contain the tallest peaks in North America. Topography can have a strong influence on temperature and precipitation, therefore accurate representations of the terrain can improve the quality of simulations of past and future climate conditions. The spatial resolution of globally-available climate data is typically too coarse (~80 to 100 km) to adequately detect local landscape features, meaning these models aren’t useful for predicting future conditions in Alaska. In order for the state to adequately prepare for and adapt to changing conditions, high-resolution climate data is needed. One solution for acquiring...


map background search result map search result map The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic From Icefield to Ocean: Glacier Change Impacts to Alaska’s Coastal Ecosystems Modeling Future Storm Impacts on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Projecting the Future Distribution and Flow of Water in Alaskan Coastal Forest Watersheds Improving the Accessibility and Usability of Scientific Data: Data Management and Data Services for the Alaska CSC Improving Characterizations of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska Prioritizing Stream Temperature Data Collection to Meet Stakeholder Needs and Inform Regional Analyses Northwest Boreal Science and Management Research Tool Improving Forecasts of Glacier Outburst Flood Events Developing High Resolution Climate Data for Alaska Improving Forecasts of Glacier Outburst Flood Events Modeling Future Storm Impacts on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic Projecting the Future Distribution and Flow of Water in Alaskan Coastal Forest Watersheds From Icefield to Ocean: Glacier Change Impacts to Alaska’s Coastal Ecosystems Northwest Boreal Science and Management Research Tool Improving Characterizations of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska Prioritizing Stream Temperature Data Collection to Meet Stakeholder Needs and Inform Regional Analyses Developing High Resolution Climate Data for Alaska Improving the Accessibility and Usability of Scientific Data: Data Management and Data Services for the Alaska CSC