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.
About the maps
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.
This project has produced the first high-resolution climate projections for Southeast Alaska, an area that is difficult to model due to the complex topography and relative lack of historical weather data.
The global climate models used to create these maps have been downscaled to a 4km spatial resolution. The projected simulations (from 2031-2060) are based on greenhouse gas emissions consistent with RCP 8.5 concentrations, which closely track current observations of global greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions. It is important to note that for this period, there is little difference in climate response between emissions scenarios RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5, and even less between RCP 6.0 and 8.5. The variation among global climate models and climate variability contributes more uncertainty than differences in emissions scenarios until the mid 21st century. This is the reason we provide two model choices but only one RCP. After 2060, the climate changes resulting from different emissions scenarios diverge substantially. While a range of future climates is useful to stakeholders, many want to prepare for a higher-end warming scenario.
Which climate model should I use?
Three global climate models are used as a basis for these maps:
- Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR)
- Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model (GFDL)
- NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM)
Search, filter, and download climate maps
Use the filters to select from the 15 climate maps currently available. Please contact us if you have questions or interest in a map we have not provided, as we may produce additional maps in the future.