Projects Overview

AK CASC-funded research

We produce data and tools that help to inform natural and cultural resource management decisions. This research includes:

  • High-resolution climate model downscaling
  • Wildfire and vegetation dynamics
  • Hydrologic modeling
  • Permafrost dynamics
  • Glacier dynamics

The Project Explorer is a searchable database of CASC-funded research projects.

Featured research collaborations

In our current hosting agreement, we are committed to building and strengthening our partnerships with agencies and communities to co-produce actionable science.

Through these collaborative research projects, we are exploring how to better engage with partners and communities to co-produce science that supports management decisions and information needs in response to a rapidly changing climate. See all of our projects on the CASC Project Explorer website.

TitleProject Summary
a group of workshop participants sit at a table writing
Alaska Tribal Resilience Learning Network

The Alaska Tribal Resilience Learning Network (AK TRLN) is a community of learning, sharing, technical assistance, training, and support for Alaska Tribes, Leadership, and Indigenous communities as they respond and adapt to the current and future impacts of climate change.

This system of support is designed for Alaska Tribes and Indigenous communities that are working towards their climate adaptation priorities, especially those that have received BIA Tribal Resilience Program funding.

Arctic and Western Alaska Landscape Change Projects

As the climate warms, resource managers need more precise tools to assess how sensitive the landscapes of arctic and western Alaska may be to change so that they may prepare appropriate conservation strategies.

The AK CASC will further efforts to better understand how vulnerable this habitat is to future warming and which areas are most susceptible to change.

An image of the headwaters of the Noatak river in slightly cloudy weather.
Assessing Risk to Alaska National Parks

Air temperatures are rising above freezing across Alaska’s national parks decades earlier than expected. This accelerates soil subsidence, increases landslide frequency, and threatens the activities and infrastructure of Alaska’s parks.

mendenhall glacier
Climate Projections for Southeast Alaska

The Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center has worked with stakeholders to produce high-resolution climate projections for Southeast Alaska as part of the Streamflow Models in Southeast Alaska pilot project.

These maps have been created by dynamically downscaling climate data from historical (1981-2010) and projected (2031-2060) time periods.

Dynamical downscaling is a numerical modeling technique that uses low-resolution global climate data to produce higher-resolution, local-scale information. These localized data can then be used to support the decision-making processes of natural resource managers and other stakeholders.

Glacier Outburst Flood Modeling

Customized tools are needed to forecast the timing and size of outburst floods released from Suicide Basin, an ice-marginal basin on the lower Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau.

In collaboration with the City and Borough of Juneau, the USGS Alaska Science Center, NOAA, and University of Alaska Southeast, the AK CASC is working to create a model to forecast the timing and size of outburst flood events at a glacier-dammed lake on the Mendenhall Glacier.

arctic valley
Long Term Climate Monitoring

For the vast area of land managed by state and federal agencies in Alaska, a better understanding of existing climate monitoring efforts is needed to improve long term climate monitoring efforts and indicate where to focus new efforts.

The AK CASC will work with resource managers from the National Park Service climate monitoring network to evaluate existing climate monitoring efforts, determine areas of high uncertainty, and select areas to focus new monitoring efforts.

kaui mountains and see
Pacific Islands-Alaska CASC Collaboration

Steep watersheds with dramatic environmental gradients are familiar features of the Pacific Islands and Southeast Alaska. Each location is experiencing changes to watershed ecosystems and environmental processes due to climate change. Human communities in both regions depend on the cultural and ecosystem services provided by these linked land-to-coastal marine systems.

The Alaska and Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Centers have joined forces to address these similar local challenges together, in a collaboration unique to the CASC network.

Streamflow Models in Southeast Alaska

Stream dynamics in the dramatic topography of Southeast Alaska are expected to shift over time with changes in climate.

Resource managers and civil engineers need finer scale, more accurate models that predict changes in flow for small, ungaged watersheds in order to make important infrastructure planning decisions.

The AK CASC and collaborators from Oregon State University are working closely with agency partners to create predictive stream discharge models for Southeast Alaska watersheds.

Two maps of projected changes in treeline across the IEM spatial domain.
The Integrated Ecosystem Model for Alaska and Northwest Canada

As the Western Arctic rapidly warms, changes in temperature, precipitation, permafrost, vegetation, and fire are closely linked. The Integrated Ecosystem Model project develops projection outputs for the Western Arctic to better account for how these systems are interconnected.

Users will benefit from more robust decision-support tools and a better understanding of how tundra fire and vegetation succession, thermokarst, and wetland processes will be altered by climate change. 

Wildfire Projections in Interior Alaska

As warming temperatures and reduced snowpack lead to drier conditions in Interior Alaska, fire managers increasingly need tools to forecast wildfire trends at seasonal and yearly intervals.

Robust gridded historical weather information is needed to develop and validate these forecasts; such data are currently not available for Alaska.

The AK CASC will work with the BLM Alaska Fire Service, NOAA, and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to identify critical meteorological variables to assess and the needed spatial extent.