SNAP provides several platforms for looking at historic climate trends and climate projections in Alaska and western Canada:
1. Downloadable datasets for historic climate data and projected climate data (temperature and precipitation).
2. Interactive map - provides climate projections for Alaska and western Canada for each decade through 2100. User can choose what variables, time periods, seasonal averages, and emissions scenarios they’d like to view.
SNAP provides climate projections (temperature and precipitation) for Alaska and western Canada, using an ensemble of climate models (GCMs) and 3 emissions scenarios. Information is presented in a variety of formats.
U.S. forests play a large role in offsetting carbon emissions, about 20 % of the U.S. fossil fuel carbon output. If a forest replaces itself after a disturbance like fire, then there is no long-term loss of carbon.
Three major biomes intersect in the south-central region of Alaska: the western edge of the coastal rainforest, the southern edge of the boreal forest, and the eastern edge of the mostly treeless tundra and shrub ecosystems of southwest Alaska. Predictions of climate change responses for these ecosystems vary widely and substantial vegetation changes in this area will have large impacts on the area economy. This study will evaluate tree species' vulnerability to climate change in this area of AK.
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In the spring of 2012, the Chugach National Forest began a climate vulnerability assessment that provided a good outlet for presenting results from this project on potential migration of tree species in the south-central Alaska region. Tara Barrett and Robert Pattison participated in the workshop for this assessment at the University of Alaska Anchorage and worked with other participants to outline a chapter in the assessment focused on vegetation change in relation to climate in south-central Alaska. Researchers created a climate envelope model of the three spruce species in the region (Picea sitchensis, Picea glauca, and Picea mariana) and provided results of the model to the vegetation/wildlife group both in a written summary and in an informal presentation. A literature review on migration potential is near completion.
Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research Program, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Florida, USDI Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service
Understanding the complex mechanisms controlling treeline advance or retreat has important implications for projecting ecosystem responses global environmental change. A warming climate not only promotes growth of seedlings and mature trees; it also enhances disturbances, such as fire that leads to further seedling establishment. Researchers examined how the availability of fungal inoculum for the formation of critical mycorrhizas influenced postfire tree seedling establishment.
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Preliminary results indicate that most species of tree seedlings can have overlapping fungal taxa with adjacent resprouting shrubs. Also, mature or late-successional fungi may be housed on the roots of tundra shrubs during fire disturbance, which are then available for recruiting seedlings. Synergistic activity between resprouting tundra shrubs and newly established seedlings after fire could either maintain boreal community dynamics at the limit of tree establishment or provide a mechanism for expansion under future scenarios of warming and fire.