Saturday, September 20, 2014
Principal Investigator
Sarah Trainor

Program Manager
Tina Buxbaum

Dan White
Craig Gerlach
John Walsh
Philip Loring
Jeremy Mathis
Scott Rupp

Affiliated Institution
University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Dates Funded

Project Website

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy

Project Overview

The mission of the ACCAP is to assess the socio-economic and biophysical impacts of climate variability in Alaska, make this information available to local and regional decision makers, and improve the ability of Alaskans to adapt to a changing climate.

The center specifically aims to 1) create research partnerships to meet information needs; 2) integrate science and policy to support more informed decision making; and 3) promote continuing feedback between information users and scientists.

Stakeholder interaction and outreach is integrated into every aspect of ACCAP’s work. These interactions include needs assessment, vulnerability assessment, user collaboration in model downscaling and in designing research studies and user partnership in developing, testing, and evaluating research information products and tools. Core activities integrate outreach, research, and decision-support tool innovation.

Select Outputs
  • ACCAP has produced a sea ice manual (pdf) featuring the most current research on the subject. It provides Arctic Alaska coastal community leaders and local user groups with an up-to-date, comprehensive, and practical guide to the current sea-ice and climate information resources that are relevant to their planning, subsistence activities, and way of life.

  • 2004 and 2005 were two of the three most severe wildfire seasons on record. Climate change will likely only increase the amount and severity of fires in the state. ACCAP has created an experimental seasonal fire forecast for federal, state, and local land managers using historical climate and fire data. 

  • Starting in 2011, ACCAP faculty, in cooperation with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, began work with tribal environmental professionals in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska to understand ongoing and future impacts of climate change on community infrastructure. ACCAP offered a three-day intensive short course on the biophysical and socioeconomic dimensions of climate change and examples of adaptation planning approaches as well as exposure to how tribal environmental professionals can contribute through citizen science to our understanding of climate change impacts in Alaska’s coastal zone. Currently researchers are working with a handful of community to conduct assessments of the human and infrastructure impacts of and vulnerabilities to climate change.

Decision Support Tools
  • Alaska Climate Dispatch: A seasonal review of climate conditions, update on climate forecasts and research announcements.

  • Decision Making for At-Risk Communities in a Changing Climate (pdf): A guide to help communities create adaptation plan by providing perspectives on community engagement, partial relocation, site development costs, and timing. This is intended to be a guide and not the only source for adaptation planning.

  • Estimating Future Costs for Alaska Public Infrastructure at Risk to Climate Change (pdf): A model was constructed using a variety of climate and economic indicators to determine the cost of climate change on Alaska's infrastructure under different climate change scenarios. Results and suggestions for addressing funding are available in the final report.

  • Experimental Forecast of Area Burned for Interior Alaska: Designed in close collaboration with fire managers from the Alaska Wildland Fire Coordination Group, this project takes advantage of the strong weather/fire link in Alaska to produce experimental forecasts of the area burned in Interior Alaska for the upcoming fire season. Only available during summer fire season.

  • Sea Ice Manual: An up-to-date resource on sea ice for Arctic Alaska coastal community leaders and local user groups with information and resources that are relevant to planning, subsistence activities, and way of life.

  • Tundra Lakes Project: Phase I of the project looked at ecological impacts of pumping of tundra lakes to make ice roads, which are important to oil and gas exploration companies in winter. Phase II will create modeling tools to provide a proactive approach for evaluating water use permits and needs.

Recent Workshops
Other Resources
  • ACCAP on Facebook: A Facebook Page to connect with ACCAP stakeholders and interested parties. Regularly updated with items about ACCAP research and related work in Alaska.

  • ACCAP on Twitter: A Twitter account for ACCAP sharing ACCAP and Arctic-related news.

  • Alaska Climate Webinars and Podcasts: An archive of ACCAP-sponsored webinars on climate issues and research in Alaska. Viewers can also sign up for future webinars.
  • Alaska Weather and Climate Highlights: A map-based interface with data and information on significant weather and climate events in Alaska based on NWS observations. Currently on hiatus.

  • Ocean Acidification Video: A four-minute video on the causes and effects of ocean acidification featuring research from ACCAP in a popular science format. Five other videos are also available on ACCAP's YouTube channel.