Marine operators in Alaskan coastal waters and adjacent seas are sensitive to weather constraints. Among the stakeholder groups affected are commercial shippers (including barge operators), coastal communities, fishing vessel operators and the offshore oil and gas industry. There is a need for products that would enable “go/no-go” decisions over timescales of several days, as well as monthly to seasonal outlooks that would facilitate decisions related to scheduling and routing. This means that integrating data about wind speed, direction, and duration to create a novel metric that provides information integral to support the decision making process.
Climate studies predict that precipitation is likely to increase overall in Alaska in the coming decades. Alaska has some of the largest and fastest-changing glacier systems on earth, and about 80% of its land is in permafrost zones. As the climate gets wetter and warmer temperatures thaw these massive ice reserves, patterns of runoff will change across the landscape, impacting water systems and water management in many ways. Understanding the impacts of climatic factors on water is important for developing hydroelectric power, predicting river ice breakup, and managing our natural resources.