Alaska Climate Science Center-Funded Research Projects

Climate change is affecting Alaska in profound ways that require innovative approaches to research. Research projects supported by the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center often cross several disciplines in order to broadly address ecosystem responses to climate change. 

Our research direction is determined collaboratively by representatives of federal, state, tribal, and regional organizations. We aim to meet high-level climate science priorities while ensuring this science also is pertinent to and addresses management needs. 

Co-PIs: 
Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2020

Alaska’s land, water, plants, wildlife, and seasons are undergoing a great upheaval, and its people, especially the communities living in remote villages are directly and severely impacted by these widespread environmental changes. These changes are not only widespread but also often so rapid that we cannot possibly have enough scientists and professionals on the ground to detect and predict these changes before their effects are obvious.

Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
October 1, 2016 to October 1, 2019

As temperature and precipitation patterns change in Alaska, the need for scientific information to inform decision making related to the management of our natural resources becomes ever more important. However, the research being conducted to understand potential future impacts of climate change in Alaska frequently results in output and products that, in their raw forms, are not easily used by stakeholders and partners or are somewhat removed from the direct information needs of natural resource decision makers.
 

Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019

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.
 

Duration: 
July 17, 2017 to March 11, 2019

In coastal Alaska, changes in snow, ice, and extreme weather events threaten human communities, critical infrastructure, valuable natural resources, and traditional, subsistence hunting and fishing lifestyles.  Understanding how changing climate conditions impact Alaska’s coastal ecosystems, and how these changes may be tied to the ability of coastal communities to adapt to changing conditions, has been identified as a priority question in the state.
 

Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
June 1, 2016 to October 1, 2018

Changing climate conditions (e.g. changes to air temperature, surface temperature, snowpack duration, and soil temperature) are affecting where trees are able to successfully grow and are bringing changes to the structure of forests throughout many parts of Alaska.

Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018

In Alaska, increased wildfire activity has been linked to warming temperatures. Summers with extreme wildfire activity threaten life and property, clog the air with smoke, and challenge the state’s wildland firefighters. While the largest fires are often started by lightning and burn in remote areas, these fires require significant resources to fight when they threaten life and property.
 

Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018

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.

Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
August 1, 2016 to July 1, 2018

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.

Co-PIs: 
Location: 
Yukon-Kuskokwim
Duration: 
January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2018

We propose to develop a Yukon-Kuskokwim Berry Outlook: a data- and observer-driven ecological monitoring and modeling framework that forecasts changes in berry habitat and abundance with climate and environmental change. Berry-producing plants are extremely important to human and wildlife communities of the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) Delta.

Co-PIs: 
Location: 
Alaska
Duration: 
August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017

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.

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