Project ID: WA2014_37
Lead Investigator: Daniel Schindler, University of Washington
Collaborators: Patrick Walsh, USFWS
Project Duration: 2014-2016
Southwest Alaska is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth and its aquatic resources are at distinct risk from changing climate. Previous work has demonstrated that a variety of physical and biological processes are sensitive to changing climate regimes in this region, including those that support wildlife and fisheries that are of substantial importance for subsistence and commercial activities. This collaborative project resulted in the compilation of a database of existing stream, river and lake temperatures that is unmatched anywhere else in Alaska in terms of its spatial and temporal coverage. Analysis of these data resulted in refinement of the monitoring plan developed to characterize thermal responses to ongoing climate change in the Wood‐Tikchik State Park and the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. The project will also evaluated how average change and spatial variation in stream thermal condition respond to changing climate.
This project demonstrated that climate and landforms interact in complex ways to control the responses of stream thermal regimes to warming conditions. In particular, the results emphasize the importance of winter snow for regulating summer stream temperatures in salmon bearing streams. This study provides a framework for enabling the development of scenarios for how thermal conditions across landscapes will respond to ongoing climate change.
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