Summer has arrived in the Alaska interior which means long days, warm weather, bugs, and smoke. Rain returns in force to the southeast’s unique rainforest ecosystem this time of year, and its presence or absence dictates the cycle of wildfires common to south-central and the interior. High rivers and flooding can result from an overabundance of rain while drought can lead to high fire seasons, challenging growing conditions, and difficulty generating hydroelectric power.
The Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning, part of the International Arctic Research Center at UAF, maintains a number of web tools which can help Alaskans put their lived experience into the context of climate data both historically and in the future. The new series of SNAP Highlights features these tools with helpful explanation on a seasonal basis beginning with the summer of 2020.
In this season’s SNAP Highlight you’ll find details and guidance about the use of two SNAP tools key to understanding fire: the Wildfire in Alaska Tool, and the Daily Fire Tally Tool. The Wildfire in Alaska Tool allows users to investigate a map of fire activity historically, and currently as the fire season progresses alongside key variables that inform fire activity like vegetation type and lighting. The Daily Fire Tally Tool tracks the current year's total burned area across the state in real time alongside past high fire years.
In addition to tools focused on fire, this SNAP Highlight focuses on precipitation as well with the Community Charts Tool and the Daily Precipitation Tool. Use the Daily Precipitation Tool to review the history of precipitation activity over past decades for communities across the state, while the Community Charts Tool allows any user to easily and simply understand what the latest climate models project for the future of precipitation.
Find out more in this season’s SNAP Highlights, as well as information about some key datasets which have been produced or updated recently by the team.