Thursday, November 6, 2008

SNAP makes climate prediction maps available to public

Alaskans can now access the same statewide maps of future climate scenarios that the Governor’s Climate Change Subcabinet is using to assist statewide planning efforts. This same data is also being used to develop best management practices for community relocation planning under a National Commission on Energy Policy effort spearheaded by UAF’s Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.

These new maps use the free global mapping program Google Earth to display data from the Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning, a collaborative network that includes the University of Alaska, state, federal, and local agencies, non-governmental organizations and industry partners. SNAP is the policy and research component of the University of Alaska Geography Program, under the umbrella of the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences.

Available maps and data include projections of average summer and winter temperatures by decade, as well as month-by-month projections for every year from 1980 to 2100. Maps are available for three different greenhouse gas emission scenarios representing low, midrange and high emissions. All maps are at 2 kilometer resolution, which allows users to pinpoint regions and communities at an unprecedented fine scale. Google Earth features allow users to select scenarios, zoom in and out, pan across the landscape and animate selected time series.

These data represent scaled-down model outputs from models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. SNAP’s goal is to assist in informed decision-making by applying new or existing research results, integrating and analyzing data, and communicating information and assumptions to stakeholders. Further information on SNAP as well as climate scenarios in Google Earth (KML) or GIS (ASCII) format are available at SNAP's website.

Further reading:
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article, "Mapping 21st century climate change in Alaska"

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