Focus Areas

Current Coastal Change Research/Management Projects and Priority Information Needs in Cook Inlet and Southeastern Alaska.

The goal of this effort is to identify current coastal research and management projects taking place in this region. Once identified, we will synthesize the information into a report that documents the ‘project landscape’ for communities facing change, decision-makers navigating change, researchers pursuing projects, and agencies prioritizing where to allocate resources.

Assessment of the Application of Climate Information in Wildfire Management and Decision-Making in Alaska

Beginning in January 2016, Melanie will be conducting research to reflexively measure and evaluate the process of science co-production and communication within this context. Specifically, she will investigate the decision contexts of wildfire management in Alaska, explore organizational frameworks for connecting science with users, analyze the innovation of decision-support services and evolution of use-inspired science, and contribute to generalizable knowledge to inform decisions through science application.

Tribal Climate Adaptation Planning in Nome

The Nome Eskimo Community (NEC), in collaboration with ACCAP, will develop a climate adaptation plan for the tribal organizations located in the Nome Census area. This includes tribal members of NEC, Native Village of Solomon, Native Village of Council, and King Island Native Community.

Permafrost Forecasting: 2015 Stakeholder Listening Session & other related resources

The ability to make predictions on permafrost activity (freeze, thaw, date and depth) is improving, especially on a seasonal scale. National Weather Service and the research community gathered stakeholder and community input about what potential forecast information is most useful and needed by stakeholders for the decisions they are making.

Alaska Policy & Climate Adaptation Webinar Series

Water Policy Consulting, LLC, ACCAP, and tribal environmental and climate change professionals throughout the country, together, are offering the Winter 2015-16 Policy & Climate Adaptation Mitigation and Planning for Alaska Natives webinar series. The series will demonstrate how Native Villages and other communities in Alaska can apply state, federal and tribal policies to address climate change impacts on water and subsistence resources through water resource management and protection, land and water rights, sovereignty and other resiliency and mitigation strategies.

Center for Global Change Student Grant Competition

ACCAP (Walsh) served on the review team that reviewed for the 2015 Center for Global Change (CGC) student grant competition at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. CGC annually funds students through a variety of sources and funding agencies (federal and state) as well as University of Alaska general funds. ACCAP agreed to provide funding for two CGC student projects.  The two projects align with the greater ACCAP mission and foci. One project is focused on the subsistence halibut fishery in SE Alaska. It will assess long-term trends in subsistence halibut harvest and evaluate the mechanisms driving changes in harvest. The other project investigates the morphology of the Beaufort Sea coastline during the last interglacial period as a potential historical analog for predicted future sea level change. Those projects will begin in July of 2015 and continue through the 2015/2016 academic year.

2015 ACCAP Mini-Grant Projects

In the spring of 2015 ACCAP solicited proposals as part of a minigrant competition. Proposals were for salary support for one month of summer faculty support or three months of summer graduate student support. We funded a total of six projects which all began in May of 2015. Final project reports are due in September of 2015. The projects cover the full breadth of ACCAP foci and all have a significant stakeholder engagement component aimed at promoting use-inspired science.

Strategies for fostering socioeconomic wellbeing in northern US and Russian communities

In Alaska, US and Yakutia (Sakha Republic), Russia, spring is known as a flood season. Rapid warming can force river ice to break up quickly and pile in tremendous jams at narrow and curved points of the rivers, flooding nearby settlements. Both Alaskans and Yakuts are prepared for ice jams, but not for the severity of their consequences. Significant funds are spent on challenging annual disaster response and recovery efforts. In addition to the financial losses, spring floods lead to injuries and loss of life, displacement and long-term evacuation of population, damage to cultural or heritage sites, loss of means of livelihood, and ecosystem resource loss. Crippling costs may be reduced, and community wellbeing improved, through a cross-society and cross-disciplinary approach to mitigating the problem.

Human Adaptation to Climate Change in Alaska: Overview and Recommendations for Future Research and Assessment. Technical Report #16-1

Publication Date: 
May 2017

The magnitude of climate warming in Alaska and the Arctic has been more than twice the global average, and related terrestrial and marine impacts are well established. As such, there is a need for climate adaptation as well as a need for research that directly informs adaptation practice. We report results of a pilot assessment of climate change adaptation across a range of natural resource dependent sectors in Alaska and provide recommendations for conducting climate adaptation research and assessment in Alaska. Sectors addressed include forestry/wildfire, coastal vulnerability, Native subsistence food harvest, commercial fishing, the oil and gas industry, shipping and maritime transport, and terrestrial infrastructure. Planning, research, and monitoring occur at a broad range of scales from international to local, however adaptation actions occur largely at a local scale with a few instances of state and regional scale action. Adaptation actions are analyzed according to Pelling’s (2010) classification of purposeful/ incidental, planned/ spontaneous and proactive/reactive revealing intermediary categories, further analysis of which has the potential to provide useful insights for adaptation research and action. Multi- and cross-sector research and assessment is also important in the region due to cumulative and cascading climate impacts.

Keywords: adaptation; Alaska; Arctic; assessment; climate change; multiple sectors; planning; coping; disaster risk management; boundary organizations

Recommended Citation:  Trainor, S. F., Walsh, J. E., Gamble, J. B. (2017). Human Adaptation to Climate Change in Alaska: Overview and Recommendations for Future Research and Assessment. Technical Report #16-1. International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

ACCAP Annual Report 2014

Publication Date: 
June 2014

The 2014 annual report to the NOAA Climate Program Office, Climate Societal Interactions, Regional Integrated Science and Assessment, covers the performance of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy for the period June 1, 2013 - May 31, 2013.

ACCAP In-Person Steering Committee Meeting 2013: Evaluating the role of networks in facilitating climate change adaptation in Alaska

Publication Date: 
June 2013

Post Doctoral Research Fellow Nathan Kettle presents his research into evaluating the role of networks in facilitating climate change adaptation in Alaska during the June 7, 2013 ACCAP in-person steering committee meeting.

Tongass National Forest Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: Phase 1 Workshop Report

Publication Date: 
May 2012

Summarizes results from Phase I of a 3-phase effort to quantitatively assess how vulnerable Tongass resources may be to climate-related changes, given a range of future climate scenarios. Goals of phase I were to (1) develop accurate climate projections for the region, and (2) identify and prioritize key resources in the Tongass (salmon, hydropower, etc.) affected by climate change.

Tongass National Forest Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: Workshop background

Publication Date: 
April 2012

Tongass Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Workshop: Phase 1- Resource Inventory and Prioritization.

Presentation by Hajo Eicken: Leveraging research and future funding opportunities

This presentation was given during the Snow, Ice and Permafrost Hazards in Alaska: Research needs and opportunities workshop in June 2011.

Decision-Making for At Risk Communities in a Changing Climate

Publication Date: 
January 2010

A planning guide prepared by ACCAP informs decision-makers on issues relating to climate change and uncertainty, risk management, and relocation planning. Includes water and wastewater utilities case studies and an example planning checklist.