Analyzing future precipitation extremes for resource management planning

A landscape of rolling ridges shows a complex landscape of green trees and bushes with dead tree branches and brown dry grass
Both Alaska and Hawaiʻi and facing extreme changes to precipitation, and managers need the best information to make decision to cope with drought and floods.

Drought and other precipitation extremes are of significant concern to natural resource management in both Hawai‘i and Southeast Alaska. In the coastal ecosystems of both regions, climate change is expected to influence freshwater resources by changing the frequency of extreme precipitation events and by increasing the intensity of storms and droughts. Changes to watersheds in these regions will vary significantly, depending on their elevation and location due to the steep topographic gradients of these regions.

For natural resource managers to make appropriate adaptation decisions amid this changing environment, they require a better understanding of expected future climate conditions. The Pacific Islands and Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Centers (PI-CASC and AK CASC) are uniquely positioned to address these issues because they have supported the development of high-resolution climate model projections for the steep-gradient watersheds of Hawai‘i and Southeast Alaska. However, these model results are currently not accessible to resource managers in user-friendly formats, and no clear descriptions of the data or uncertainty are available.

In collaboration with stakeholders and other partners in the Hawai‘i Drought Knowledge Exchange project and the USDA Northwest Climate Hub, this project will make existing CASC-supported numerical modeling results more accessible for resource managers who experience barriers to incorporating climate change projections into their planning. These hydro-meteorological products will serve as a plain-language resource that describes the shared challenges that Hawai‘i and Southeast Alaska face.





Rick Lader
Research Associate, University of Alaska Fairbanks


Abby Frazier
Assistant Professor of Geography, Clark University
Thomas Giambelluca
Professor of Geography, UH Mānoa