Northern Climate Reports

Posted on: 10/31/2023 - Updated on: 10/31/2023

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Ecological futures in stories, charts, and data. A changing climate is altering Northern landscapes. Explore these changes with easy-to-understand climate model projections.

Northern Climate Reports, developed by the Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, aims to make climate model projections for Alaska and western Canada easier to understand.

See stories and graphics that show how different parts of the North may change over time. FInd a place by name, latitude & longitude, or clicking locations on the map. Use the Data section to access the datasets that are presented in the tool, including metadata and academic papers about the datasets. This tool can help better understand and reduce risk, plan infrastructure, manage natural resources, and communicate change. Users can also download the data.

How is this region changing?

  • Temperatures are rising. Earlier springs, warmer summers, later autumns, and less severe winters are changing the mix of species on the Northern landscape.
  • Permafrost is thawing. This alters surface drainage and increases possible rooting depths, yielding ecological shifts.
  • Wildfires are more frequent. More early-succession and fewer late-succession vegetation species appear across landscapes.

Best practices for using climate projections:

  • Think broadly. Climate projections are most reliable when averaged across time or space because daily variations are “smoothed out.” Examples: “projected average of 30 years of winter precipitation for Bethel, Alaska” or “projected hottest temperature for the north coast of Alaska.”
  • What seems most likely? The climate we will experience will not look exactly like any one projection, but it will look like a lot of them. So, plan for the likely range of climates, impacts, and risks for the time frame and region you’re working with.
  • Don’t wait! Projections are always improving, but don’t wait for a better one—you’ll always be waiting, and the costs of waiting will increase. Instead, plan for the range of historical variability plus the range of climates described by a moderate or higher warming model under a high emissions scenario.

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The University of Alaska-Fairbanks includes seven campuses across the state and is home to more than 11,000 students from all over the world.

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