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Alaska CASC

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Elodea spp. (Elodea) is Alaska’s first known invasive aquatic plant, first discovered in urban lakes in 2010. The combination of human pathways and climate change related shifts in seasonality and temperature have resulted in Elodea’s range expansion into Alaska’s freshwater resources. Elodea transmission often occurs when plant fragments get entangled in seaplane rudders and are carried to remote waterbodies where they quickly establish dense plant growth. This growth inhibits seaplane access and drastically alters aquatic ecosystems. Recent research showed that Elodea can have significant negative impacts on parks, subsistence, aviation‐related recreation, and Alaska’s salmon fisheries. For example, the economic...
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Alaska’s high-latitude, arctic landscape places it at the front lines of environmental change. Factors such as rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and associated shifts in growing degree days, summer season length, extreme heat, and the timing of spring thaw and autumn frost are rapidly changing Alaska’s ecosystems and associated human systems. The ability of Alaska’s land managers and communities to predict these changes will profoundly affect their ability to adapt. The State of Alaska recognizes the scope and magnitude of these changes and has made it a priority to ensure anticipated change is incorporated into local and regional planning. This project will involve collaboration with agency...
Abstract (from Geophysical Research Letters): Lateral transport of organic carbon (OC) to the coastal ocean is an important component of the global carbon cycle because rivers transport, mineralize, and bury significant amounts of OC. Glaciers drive water and sediment export from many high‐elevation and high‐latitude ecosystems, yet their role in watershed OC balances is poorly understood, particularly with regard to particulate OC. Here, we evaluate seasonal water, sediment, and comprehensive OC budgets, including both dissolved and particulate forms, for three watersheds in southeast Alaska that vary in glacier coverage. We show that glacier loss will shift the dominant size fraction of riverine OC from particulate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Alaska has complex topography, with its extensive coastlines, dozens of islands, and mountain ranges that contain the tallest peaks in North America. Topography can have a strong influence on temperature and precipitation, therefore accurate representations of the terrain can improve the quality of simulations of past and future climate conditions. The spatial resolution of globally-available climate data is typically too coarse (~80 to 100 km) to adequately detect local landscape features, meaning these models aren’t useful for predicting future conditions in Alaska. In order for the state to adequately prepare for and adapt to changing conditions, high-resolution climate data is needed. One solution for acquiring...
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Wildfires are a natural occurrence in interior Alaska’s boreal forest. There is extreme variability in the severity of the wildfire season in this region. A single year in which more than one million acres of forest burns can be followed by several years of low to moderate fire activity. In addition, fires in high latitude zones appear to be responding to changes in climate. Warmer temperatures rapidly cure understory fuels, such as fast-drying beds of mosses, lichens, and shrubs, which lie beneath highly flammable conifer trees. Managing such variability is challenging in light of both changing climate conditions and the fact that planning activities require sufficient advance warning. The goal of this project...
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