Understanding the response of Alaska's Ecosystems to a changing climate to support resource managers and sustainable communities


Like the foundation of a house, the construction of a climate model is the product of thousands of small choices.

Whether it's placing the nails and leveling the blocks, or determining which module to include or how to treat a model discrepancy, every decision is essential when you are building a complex base that's sound enough to support something much bigger.

Plant growth in Alaska should store as much carbon as the state loses to wildfire and thawing permafrost through 2100, a new analysis predicts.

Scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Forest Service did the analysis to help understand the changing climate.

The scientists found that Alaska’s ecosystems currently capture as much carbon as they lose to the atmosphere.

You’re the scientist who knows that research shouldn’t be trapped in books. You understand that decision makers in a complex world do best when they can leverage the latest science. You can talk p-values and natural resources polices in the same sentence.

The Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) is looking for a scientist who excels in taking scientific results to new places. We need a team member who can link scientific findings to resource, land, or community management decisions as Alaskan communities and landscapes face new challenges from climate change.

Seventy-eight women researchers are preparing to go where very few have ventured. Among these women, Joanna Young, a geophysics doctoral student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and a graduate fellow of the Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC) has been given the opportunity to participate in the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

At 212 square miles, the tiny island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean would fit into the state of Alaska over 3000 times. So what could Alaska and the Pacific Islands possibly have in common? When it comes to responding to a changing climate, there are more similarities than differences.

AK CSC scientists Shad O’Neel and Eran Hood and AK CSC Science Communications Lead Kristin Timm received the 2015 Eugene M. Shoemaker Communication Award from USGS for their poster "From Icefield to Ocean."

The poster depicts the important linkages between glaciers and the ocean. The team felt that it was particularly important to find a compelling way to communicate these research findings to Alaskans because Alaska’s coastal glaciers are among the most rapidly changing areas on the planet and glacier runoff can influence marine habitats, ocean currents and economic activities.

John Walsh, an AK CSC scientist and chief scientist at the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, received the 2016 International Arctic Science Committee Medal.

Government officials, diplomats from around the world, and the President of the United States visited Alaska in late August and early September to discuss climate change in Alaska and the Arctic. The Alaska Climate Science Center administrators, scientists, fellows, and research projects were prominent throughout the special activities and events held around the state.

The Alaska Climate Science Center, along with NOAA, NASA, OSTP, and other agencies, provided scientific expertise for the newly released Arctic Theme in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit is comprised of datasets and resources designed to facilitate resilience to climate impacts, and is part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Data Initiative (CDI).

“It’s going to be a bad fire day,” said Dr. Scott Rupp, university director of the Interior Department’s Alaska Climate Science Center and a fire ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as he looked out the window at the thick layer of smoke blanketing the city of Fairbanks.


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Upcoming Events

Nome, Alaska
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 10:15am AKDT to Friday, March 30, 2018 - 10:15am AKDT

The annual Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference (WAISC) brings together local and indigenous knowledge of subsistence-based communities and scientific research. The 2018 conference will focus on effectively communicating science and traditional knowledge within rural communities. 

Please visit the Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference website for more information. 

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