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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...
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.
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...
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...
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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...
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/10.1111/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...
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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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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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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Ducks and other waterfowl in the U.S. are valued and enjoyed by millions of birdwatchers, artists, photographers and citizens for their beauty and appeal. Waterfowl also provide game for hunters throughout the country and act as an important source of revenue for states and local communities. Loss of habitat and migration corridors due to land use changes and changes in climate threaten these birds, however more scientific information is needed to understand these processes. This project used available annual surveys of duck counts, along with data on the location and availability of ponds and temperature and precipitation patterns, to model where across the continental landscape waterfowl were present and if their...
This 4-page publication was produced from the March 2013 Juneau Glacier Workshop. The publication describes the current understanding of the interconnected icefield, stream, and ocean systems that are such a dominant feature of coastal Alaska. The publication describes the state of research on glaciers and icefields, glacier ecology, and the role that glaciers play in ocean processes.
Abstract (from http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/5/499): Rates of glacier mass loss in the northern Pacific coastal temperate rainforest (PCTR) are among the highest on Earth, and changes in glacier volume and extent will affect the flow regime and chemistry of coastal rivers, as well as the nearshore marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Alaska. Here we synthesize physical, chemical and biological linkages that characterize the northern PCTR ecosystem, with particular emphasis on the potential impacts of glacier change in the coastal mountain ranges on the surface–water hydrology, biogeochemistry, coastal oceanography and aquatic ecology. We also evaluate the relative importance and interplay between interannual...
Abstract: To test the effects of altered hydrology on organic soil decomposition, we investigated CO2 and CH4 production potential of rich-fen peat (mean surface pH = 6.3) collected from a field water table manipulation experiment including control, raised and lowered water table treatments. Mean anaerobic CO2 production potential at 10 cm depth (14.1 ± 0.9 μmol C g-1 d-1) was as high as aerobic CO2 production potential (10.6 ± 1.5 μmol C g-1 d-1), while CH4 production was low (mean of 7.8 ± 1.5 nmol C g-1 d-1). Denitrification enzyme activity indicated a very high denitrification potential (197 ± 23 μg N g-1 d-1), but net reduction suggested this was a relatively minor pathway for anaerobic CO2 production. Abundances...
Snow conditions are extremely important to a wide range of hydrologic and ecosystem components and processes, including those related to surface energy and moisture stores and fluxes, vegetation, mammals, birds, and fish. The required snow datasets currently do not exist at the required spatial and temporal resolutions needed by end users such as scientists, land managers, and policy makers.
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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...
Abstract: Characteristics of the natural fire regime are poorly resolved in the Arctic, even though fire may play an important role cycling carbon stored in tundra vegetation and soils to the atmosphere. In the course of studying vegetation and permafrost-terrain characteristics along a chronosequence of tundra burn sites from AD 1977, 1993, and 2007 on the North Slope of Alaska, we discovered two large, previously unrecognized tundra fires. The Meade River fire burned an estimated 500 km2 and the Ketik River fire burned an estimated 1200 km2. Based on radiocarbon dating of charred twigs, analysis of historic aerial photography, and regional climate proxy data, these fires likely occurred between AD 1880 and 1920....


map background search result map search result map Understanding the Links between Climate and Waterbirds across North America 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 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 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 Improving Characterizations of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska Prioritizing Stream Temperature Data Collection to Meet Stakeholder Needs and Inform Regional Analyses Understanding the Links between Climate and Waterbirds across North America Improving the Accessibility and Usability of Scientific Data: Data Management and Data Services for the Alaska CSC