National Petroleum Reserve Alaska climate change analysis

The Bureau of Land Management–Arctic Field Office manages the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). In 2010, the BLM undertook an Integrated Activity Plan (IAP)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to determine its future management of the NPR-A.

The IAP/EIS considers the impacts of climate change in its plan. To improve the IAP/EIS’s analysis of climate change’s effects on the planning area and its resources, the BLM enlisted SNAP's assistance in incorporating climate change modeling.

SNAP contributions

SNAP provided scenarios and data for the project, including:

  • scenarios based on climate projections and associated models of future landscape conditions that helped inform the EIS planning process. The projections used in this project were for a range of modeled data, including baseline (1961–1990), current, and future years extending to 2099. These data provided measurements of change as they are likely to manifest themselves across NPR-A, differentiating the amount of change in different areas of the planning area, and estimated the uncertainty associated with each projection.
  • data on the effects of climate change on temperature, precipitation, water availability, vegetation (including green-up rate), and fire regime. Measures of change were, where appropriate, specific to month and/or season. 

Overall, the NPR-A is expected to become much warmer in the middle and latter portion of this century, with a longer growing season, shorter and less severe winters, and a deeper active layer in soils. Some increases in precipitation are likely, complete permafrost thaw may occur in limited areas, and fire may become a factor on the landscape. Hydrologic changes are likely, although landscape drying is more likely to be driven indirectly by permafrost thaw and vegetation change than by increases in evapotranspiration, at least in the early part of this century.

See the final report for full results of this assessment.

Areas of expertise: 
Scenario planning
Research collaboration
PDF icon NPR-A climate change analysis3.55 MB
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