Climate Adaption Science Center
University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
Fellowship Period: 09.2018-02.2019
I currently hold a joint appointment as manager of the Climate and Cryosphere Hazards Program at the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys and research professor at the Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. My research interests are glacier change, snow variability, and unstable slopes. I conduct multi-disciplinary investigations of snow, ice, and permafrost, with an emphasis on understanding how these elements of the cryosphere are changing and influencing natural hazards.
Snow avalanches present a significant hazard to life and infrastructure in Alaska. However, there is currently limited public awareness and available information (e.g. maps) to support adaptation, mitigation, and preparedness efforts for snow avalanche hazards. This project focused on the development of techniques to generate avalanche hazard indication maps over large areas of the state and assess potential future changes in avalanches. Our workflow uses dynamically downscaled climate reanalysis and projections to drive large-scale modeling of current and future avalanche dynamics to quantify potential future changes in avalanche behavior with respect to avalanches from the 1981-2010 climatology. This fellowship led to a major advance in our ability to characterize current and future large-scale avalanche hazards in Alaska, which will lead to increases in stakeholder preparedness and resilience.