Facilitating Adaptation to Changing Storm Surge Patterns in Western Alaska.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Karen Anne Murphy1, Amy Holman2 and Joel Reynolds1, (1)Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska, Anchorage, AK, United States, (2)NOAA Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, United States
Coastal regions of North America are already experiencing the effects of climate change and the consequences of new storm patterns and sea level rise. These climate change effects are even more pronounced in western Alaska where the loss of sea ice in early winter and spring are exposing the coast to powerful winter storms that are visibly altering the landscape, putting coastal communities at risk, and are likely impacting important coastal wildlife habitat in ways we don't yet understand. The Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative has funded a suite of projects to improve the information available to assist managers and communities to adapt changes in coastal storms and their impacts. Projects range from modeling tide, wave and storm surge patters, to ShoreZone and NHD mapping, to bathymetry mapping, community vulnerability assessments and risks to important wildlife habitat. This group of diverse projects has helped stimulate momentum among partners which will lead to better tools for communities to respond to dangerous storms. For example, the State of Alaska and NOAA are working together to compile a series of community-scale maps that utilize best-available datasets to streamline communication about forecasted storm surges, local elevations and potentially impacted infrastructure during storm events that may lead to coastal flooding.