Doug LeComte, NOAA Climate Prediction Center
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.