Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM AKDT
Dr. Chas Jones, ORISE Post-doctoral Research Fellow, US Environmental Protection Agency
This study examined flood events in the Yukon River with the goal of understanding how actual or perceived changes in driftwood availability are related to river hydrology and how future changes in hydrology may affect the driftwood harvest. We combined information gathered from informant interviews, USGS gauging stations, U.S. Census data, and numerical models of past driftwood harvest rates to estimate changes in future driftwood harvest rates. We determined that neither average date of spring break-up nor the June Rise floods had changed significantly between 1977 and 2012, but the date of the June Rise had become much more variable since 1993. Our model indicated that hydrologic factors alone were responsible for a small (3%) decrease in the annual wood harvest. However, the installation in the village of wood-fired boilers in 2007 increased the annual community demand by more than 80%. Thus, greater uncertainty of accessing driftwood has been accompanied by a higher demand for this important fuel source. We also identify a driftwood harvest threshold and suggest that when flows exceed 325,000 cfs at the USGS Gaging Station at Stevens Village on the Yukon River, driftwood can be predicted to flow past Tanana approximately 2 days later. Modeling various climate scenarios illustrate how the driftwood model estimates that increasing hydrologic variability would be expected to increase vulnerability of the driftwood harvest. Examination of the economics associated with using driftwood versus fuel alternatives shows that other wood sources require more time and money to harvest. Furthermore, the use of oil or electricity as alternative fuels cost substantially more, but save considerable amounts of time.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM AKDT
Jeremy Mathis - Director, NOAA Arctic Research Program (ARP)
With critical past, and potential future environmental changes affecting Alaska and the Arctic Region, the United States needs to rapidly expand long-term observing of the ice and marine environment across the greater Arctic Ocean Basin, as well as conditions across the state of Alaska. This will allow us to better monitor changes across the region, and support stakeholders with improving prediction capabilities for weather, marine ecosystems, sea-ice, and climate.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM AKDT
Dr. John Morton - Supervisory Fish & Wildlife Biologist, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
John's email for further questions - firstname.lastname@example.org
The impacts of a warming climate on the 6 million-acre Kenai Peninsula are already dramatic and forecasted to become even more so. The southern peninsula was the epicenter of a spruce bark beetle outbreak that culled 1 million acres of Sitka, white and Lutz spruce forest over a 15-year period. The fire regime appears to be changing from summer canopy fires in spruce to human-caused spring fires in Calamagrostis canadensis grasslands. As the climate has warmed and available water declined over the past half century, treeline has risen, wetlands have dried and the Harding Icefield has ablated. Climate envelope modeling portrays a future landscape with continuing afforestation of alpine tundra and lowland peatlands by advancing hemlock and spruce, but an uncertain forecast for lower elevations that range from more hardwood to deforestation.
Dr. John Morton has been a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service for 3 decades, working previously in the Mariana Islands, Maryland, Wisconsin, California and stints at Arctic NWR and Yukon Delta NWR in Alaska. He's been the supervisory biologist at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge since 2002, where he and his staff have been very involved in climate change research and adaptation. He represented the USFWS in the GAO’s investigation of climate change impacts on Federal lands (2006) and on the DOI’s Climate Change Task Force (2007). He served on teams that developed the USFWS strategic plan for responding to climate change (2008) and the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy (2011). He co-led an interagency team that produced Connecting Alaska Landscapes into the Future (2010), an early project of the Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning. John is currently one of the leads developing the interagency Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai Peninsula.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM AKDT
Dr. David Hill: Associate Professor, Oregon State University
Freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) is controlled by a complex set of meteorologic and hydrologic processes. We use high resolution energy-balance models to determine the timing, spatial distribution, and composition (rain, snow-melt, ice-melt) of runoff from the entire GOA watershed. Model results demonstrate good agreement with GRACE satellite data in terms of annual amplitudes and long term losses (ice loss). We use a set of climate models and future emissions scenarios in order to test the sensitivity of the hydrologic system to changes in precipitation and temperature patterns. Initial results demonstrate large changes in runoff characteristics.
Dr. David Hill joined the Coastal and Ocean Engineering program at Oregon State in 2010 after 10 years as faculty at Penn State University. He teaches classes in wave mechanics, hydrology and hydraulics, and applied nearshore modeling. Dr. Hill was the group coordinate for Coastal and Ocean Engineering from 2010-2012.
Dr. Hill’s research portfolio includes numerous topics related to nearshore waters. Some recent examples include the linkages between tidal evolution and sea-level rise, the relationships between nearshore oceanographic conditions and biological and ecological processes, the role of coastal freshwater discharge in nearshore processes, and optical measurements of complex flow fields.
Dr. Hill's research has been supported over the years by the National Science Foundation, NOAA, the National Park Service, the North Pacific Research Board, the Oil Spill Research Institute, and the USGS.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM AKDT
Rick Thoman & Crane Johnson, National Weather Service
Each year the National Weather Service provides a breakup outlook for Alaska rivers. This winter stands out as unusual with both temperature and precipitation anomalies observed throughout the state. We will present a brief overview of current conditions and provide our spring statewide flooding potential outlook for the 2016 spring break-up season. This will be followed by a comparison of historic breakup years and a spring/summer climate outlook.