AK CASC-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. 

A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Arctic Alaska
Jul 2016 to Jul 2017

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.

Alaskan Coastal Forest Watersheds
Aug 2014 to Aug 2016

The flow of water is often highlighted as a priority in land management planning and assessments. A recent evaluation of climate impacts to freshwater aquatic systems identified water as a key supporting ecosystem service.

Arctic Glacier Watersheds
Feb 2013

The Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula rivers in the Arctic are heavily glaciated watersheds that are important for fish and wildlife, subsistence, recreation, and, potentially, resource extraction on the coastal plain.

Assessing Alaska Fire Indices for Daily to Seasonal Wildfire Prediction Under Present and Future Climate Scenarios
Oct 2017 to Sep 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.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon - Public domain Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Pacific Lamprey and Pacific Eulachon
Sep 2013 to Sep 2016
Pacific lamprey in a net Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Pacific Lamprey and Pacific Eulachon
Sep 2013 to Sep 2016
Berry Forecast Tool
Jan 2016 to Jan 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.

Mountains in Klamath National Wildlife Refuge Building Collaboration in the Klamath Basin Through Tribal Youth Internships
Jan 2012 to Jan 2013

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.

Characterization of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska Using Soil Moisture and Evapotranspiration Modeling
Oct 2018 to Sep 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...

Climate Change Impacts on Moose and Caribou Habitat
Apr 2015 to Apr 2016

Climate change is a complex process that may affect the food resources of different species of wildlife in contrasting ways.

Climate Impacts on Caribou
Feb 2013

Several possible mechanisms may be responsible for recent declines in many caribou herds, including the effects of climate change.

Climate Impacts on Waterfowl
Sep 2011 to Oct 2014

Extensive and long-term sampling is necessary to identify demographically important changes in the distribution of wildlife populations that may be linked to climate processes. Few survey data streams exist for such an assessment.

Community observations on Climate Change: Arctic Village, Fort Yukon, and Venetie, Alaska
Jan 2015 to Jan 2016

For the Upper Yukon area, climate change has become a daily fact of life, causing a wide range of impacts to the environment, and in some cases to community health. In 2015 the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and the U.S.

Developing a Coordinated, Multi-Region Effort to Understand the Effects of Climate Change on Migratory Birds
Jan 2015 to Jan 2017

Birds are appreciated and enjoyed by thousands of people and also play important roles in the ecosystem as predators, prey, and pollinators.

Development of an Alaska Based Research Framework for Migratory Waterfowl
Jan 2015 to Jan 2017

Migratory waterfowl that breed in Alaska routinely travel thousands of miles in their annual migrations among breeding, stopover and wintering ranges.

Glacier Impacts on Current and Future Streamflow
Jun 2015 to Jun 2017

This project will extend understanding of the role of glaciers in the hydrology of Alaska and Washington state and incorporate this knowledge into two types of simulation models. The project will develop robust methods for hydrologic modeling that will be applicable throughout AK and WA,...

Gulf of Alaska Glacier Workshop
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013

As climate changes, watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) are experiencing some of the highest rates of glacier melting on Earth, causing significant societal and ecological impacts on the structure and productivity of marine ecosystems, safety hazards related to glaciers, hydropower...

Gulf of Alaska Runoff
Sep 2011 to Sep 2013

Coastal temperate rainforests along the Gulf of Alaska are experiencing high rates of glacier mass loss, primarily due to changes in climate.  The high sensitivity of glaciers to climate forcing results in strong impacts on freshwater runoff from glacierized basins.

Gulf of Alaska Runoff
Sep 2011 to Sep 2013

Coastal temperate rainforests along the Gulf of Alaska are experiencing high rates of glacier mass loss, primarily due to changes in climate.  The high sensitivity of glaciers to climate forcing results in strong impacts on freshwater runoff from glacierized basins.

Ice2O: Assessing Icefield-to-Ocean Change in the Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest (PCTR)
Apr 2015 to Apr 2017

Projected climate warming is expected to alter the water cycle throughout coastal Alaska. In particular, changes in seasonal snowcover and glacier volume have the potential to change the amount and timing of freshwater delivery to the ocean.

alaska mountain range near a lake Identifying Climate Vulnerabilities and Prioritizing Adaptation Strategies for Eulachon Populations in Southeast Alaska
Jan 2012 to Jan 2013

The eulachon is a small fish that is both highly nutritious and culturally significant to the Chilkat and Chilkoot peoples of the Tlingit Nation in Southeast Alaska, for whom it is a traditional food.

Impacts of Changing Permafrost on Existing and Future Infrastructure
Oct 2014 to Sep 2016

The permafrost module of the Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) will be used to establish several high spatial resolution (1km x 1km) and very high resolution (30m x 30m) scenarios of changes in permafrost characteristics in the Alaskan Arctic in response to projected climate change and northern...

Improving the Accessibility and Usability of Scientific Data: Data Management and Data Services for the Alaska CSC
Aug 2016 to Jul 2017

Through its many research projects and initiatives, the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (AK CASC) 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...

Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) for Alaska and Northwest Canada
Nov 2010 to Oct 2020
Pilot Phase 1: November 2010 to October 2011
Phase 2: November 2011 to October 2016
Phase 3: November 2017 to October 2022
 

The Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) project is a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary effort aimed at understanding...

Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) for Alaska and Northwest Canada
Nov 2010 to Oct 2020
Pilot Phase 1: November 2010 to October 2011
Phase 2: November 2011 to October 2016
Phase 3: November 2017 to October 2022
 

The Integrated Ecosystem Model (IEM) project is a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary effort aimed at understanding...

colorful berries Mapping Wild Berries in the Chugach Region of Alaska to Inform Restoration of Traditional Foods
Jun 2013 to Dec 2014

Wild berries are a valued traditional food for tribes of the Chugachmiut Tribal Consortium (Chenega Bay, Eyak, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Qutekcak, Tatitlek, and Valdez) in the rural Chugach region of south-central Alaska.

two cloudberries on a plant Mapping Wild Berries in the Chugach Region of Alaska to Inform Restoration of Traditional Foods
Jun 2013 to Dec 2014

Wild berries are a valued traditional food for tribes of the Chugachmiut Tribal Consortium (Chenega Bay, Eyak, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Qutekcak, Tatitlek, and Valdez) in the rural Chugach region of south-central Alaska.

alaska mountain range near a lake Monitoring Alaska Stream and Lake Temperatures to Understand Future Conditions
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.

steep creek near a bridge and vegetation Monitoring Alaska Stream and Lake Temperatures to Understand Future Conditions
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.

thermokarst landscape on an island Monitoring Thermokarst on the Landscapes of Northern Alaska
Sep 2012 to Dec 2013

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.

Observing and Understanding the Impacts of Climate on Alaskan Forests
Jun 2016 to Oct 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.

Permafrost Change and Impacts on Infrastructure and Resources in Alaska: A Synthesis of Past Work
Aug 2016 to Jul 2018

Permafrost, or ground that remains frozen for two or more consecutive years, is found across approximately 80% of Alaska.

Promoting Coastal Resilience and Adaptation in Alaska: Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands Region
Jul 2017 to Mar 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.

Snow Data for the Arctic
Jul 2012 to Sep 2013

Detailed information on snow conditions is critical for understanding a wide range of hydrologic and ecosystem processes, including those related to surface energy and moisture stores and fluxes, along with subsequent impacts on vegetation, insects, mammals, birds, and fish.

Snow Drought: Recognizing and Understanding its Impacts in Alaska
Oct 2016 to Sep 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.

Storm Impacts on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Feb 2013

Despite being a critical nesting habitat for many of Alaska’s seabirds and other wildlife, relatively little is known about the western coast of Alaska in relation to the character and impact of Bering Sea storms, the extent and frequency of flooding and its impact on vegetation, wildlife, and...

The Arctic in the Classroom: Study of Landscape Change in Remote Communities of Alaska: A K-12 Citizen Science Initiative toward Sustained Arctic Observations
Jan 2016 to Jan 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.

Translating Scientific Information for Use by Decision Makers in Alaska
Oct 2016 to Oct 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.

Western Alaska Coastal Hazards
Feb 2013

Coastal hazards, such as storm surges, erosion, and flooding, as well as coastal, stream, and lake processes, are very important factors that influence ecosystems in western Alaska.

Yukon River Basin Ecology
Feb 2013

Boreal wetlands are important for wildlife and carbon storage and are being affected by multiple environmental stressors including permafrost thaw.

Yukon River Basin Ecology
Feb 2013

Boreal wetlands are important for wildlife and carbon storage and are being affected by multiple environmental stressors including permafrost thaw.