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SNAP Delivers Climate-Change Data to Public’s Fingertips


Dec. 14, 2009

Fairbanks, Alaska—Communities in Alaska now have access to climate change data focused on their own backyards, thanks to a new tool created by the Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“These new community charts allow people to get in touch with climate change at the local level,” explained SNAP director Scott Rupp. “It can be hard to digest the big picture on a global or even a statewide scale but this method makes it easier to relate to, in a way that is specific to how changes can impact specific locations.”

More than 350 places in Alaska are included in the charts, accessible at www.snap.uaf.edu/community-charts. Data is presented at low, medium and high future greenhouse gas levels. Concentration of the gases has a direct effect on how the Earth warms. The charts offer monthly average temperature and precipitation figures from the late-20th century through the present and offers projections for every decade through 2100. The website allows users to compare communities and consider how climate change may affect activities such as gardening or hunting or public concerns like drought, forest fire or permafrost melt.

SNAP staff used Google tools and technology to create the charts, which are based on research by the SNAP team and John Walsh of UAF’s International Arctic Research Center.

“This is our first effort to link communities in Alaska with basic climate scenario methods,” Rupp said. “This makes it easy to look at how precipitation and temperature will change throughout this century.”

SNAP is part of the UA Geography Program and the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. The program works with policymakers and land managers throughout the state and advises the governor’s subcabinet on climate change.
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