Host Institution:  University of Alaska Fairbanks
Location:  University of Alaska Anchorage
Established:  March 2010
Point of Contact:  Dr. Stephen T. Gray, Director

In early 2011, the Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC) opened as the first of eight regional Climate Science Centers. The Alaska CSC provides scientific information,tools, and techniques that managers and other parties interested in land, water, wildlife and cultural resources can use to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change. The AK CSC is hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and physically housed within the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). There are numerous program partners.

In addition to its relationship with UAF and UAA, the Alaska CSC has also developed strong partnerships with faculty from the University of Alaska Southeast, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the USDA Forest Service, and the National Park Service. Together these partners provide expertise in climate science, ecology, environmental impacts assessment, modeling, cultural impacts, and advanced information technology. These partnerships are essential for addressing climate issues in Alaska, where changes in temperature and precipitation are already having significant impacts on terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

The CSCs provide natural and cultural resource managers with the tools and information they need to develop and execute management strategies that address the impacts of climate change on a broad range of natural and cultural resources.

Priority science activities of CSCs include:

  • Use and creation of high-resolution climate models and derivative products to help forecast ecological and population responses at national, regional, and local scales
  • Integration of physical climate models with ecological, habitat, and population response models
  • Development of methods to assess vulnerability of species, habitats, and human communities
  • Development of standardized approaches to modeling, monitoring, data management and decision support 

The research direction taken by the Alaska CSC is guided by the Center's science agenda or Strategic Plan. This document establishes a set of core priorities or mission areas for the Alaska CSC and helps ensure that the Center's scientific program addresses key management needs. The Alaska CSC's Strategic Plan was completed in October 2011. 

The development of this Strategic Plan was guided by the Alaska Climate Change Executive Roundtable (ACCER), a group comprised of senior-level executives from federal and non-federal agencies that addresses natural and cultural resource issues. With the help of its Climate Change Coordinating Committee (C4), ACCER also directs the annual implementation of this agenda. The C4, Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, USGS Alaska Science Center, and various Federal agencies assist with independent scientific review of the Alaska CSC's program activities. Some highlights from FY11 activities can be found in the Alaska CSC Annual Report.

Regional Climate Change Challenges

  • Biological Carbon Sequestration
  • Coastal Erosion
  • Ecosystem Restoration
  • Fish and Wildlife Response to Climate Change
  • Food Web Impacts
  • Forest Resilience
  • Health of Indigenous Peoples
  • Invasive Marine and Terrestrial Species
  • Marine Ecosystem Resilience
  • Permafrost Degradation
  • Protection of Marine and Freshwater Migratory Fish Species
  • Protection of Native American Cultural Resources
  • Protection of Trust Species
  • Sea-ice and Glacier Change
  • Sea-level Rise
  • Water Availability and Water Quality
  • Wildlife Disease
  • Wildfire