Monitoring Alaska Stream and Lake Temperatures to Understand Future Conditions

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Funded Title: 
Western Alaska Coastal Hazards and Stream and Lake Monitoring
alaska mountain range near a lake
steep creek near a bridge and vegetation
Sep 2012 to Dec 2014

Water is a key resource in Alaska: Although it comprises 17 percent of the country’s land area, Alaska contains more than 40 percent of the United States’ surface water. Climate changes are anticipated to greatly impact water processes (hydrology), including water temperature and seasonal precipitation patterns and amounts. Understanding the likely impacts of climate change on hydrology is an important first step toward understanding consequent impacts on natural and human communities.
The purpose of this project was to assist with the development of a coordinated state-wide approach for monitoring temperature in streams and lakes. This process was guided by the recommendations of a workshop involving hydrologists, fisheries biologists, and local experts. Researchers built off of these recommendations to provide foundational information and structure for a proposed stream and lake monitoring program for Alaska. The intent of the program is to standardize and synchronize existing efforts across the state and ensure consistent, reliable information. Data and information collected from this project will provide insight into how water temperatures might change in the future.

This project was a collaborative effort among the Alaska Climate Science Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative.