The goal of this project is to assess ongoing and projected impacts of climate change, specifically as related to storms, on the marine systems and communities of the west and north Alaskan coasts.
- Literature Review. A large body of literature exists concerning observations of change on the marine and terrestrial systems that support both commercial and subsistence ways of life. One of the early project objectives will be an accumulation of research results leading to review papers. This will gather the information together in one place, an important legacy contribution of this project, will facilitate identification of patterns amongst seemingly unrelated components of the broader system, and will serve to point the way to better target additional work.
- Model Downscaling. Realistic determination of future scenarios depends on data that are properly suited to the smaller scales of interest. The large models on which long-term climate change projections are run are not suited to this task. An objective is the use of nested models to "dynamically downscale" the projection results to the scales appropriate for regional and local studies. Another important legacy contribution, these data sets will be made available to the community as research data sets. NOAA's Weather and Research Forecast model "WRF", recently implemented on the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center here at UAF, will be employed for all modeling work.
- Community Input. The people of the coastal communities have spent generations carefully observing the world around them. Their on-going input will be solicited to both guide new efforts and verify existing ones.
- Dynamics Research. Much is not known about the powerful Bering Sea storms that cause some of the most severe short-term impact on subsistence activities and community infrastructure. Research probing the dynamics of their rapid strengthening, the tracks they follow, their impact on the ocean, and their relationship to the ice edge is currently underway or is planned.