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State of Alaska Alaska / Natural Resources DNR / Geological & Geophysical Surveys DGGS / Geologic HazardsHazards

Climate and Cryosphere Hazards

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Most high-latitude northern regions have undergone rapid and substantial warming over the last few decades. Alaska is particularly sensitive to the effects of climate warming as much of its social and economic activity is connected to the existence of snow, ice, and permafrost (i.e. the cryosphere). Changes in climate can modify natural processes and could increase the magnitude and frequency of certain types of geologic hazards (e.g., avalanches, floods, erosion, slope instability, thawing permafrost, and glacier lake outburst floods) which, if not properly addressed, could have a damaging effect on Alaska's communities and infrastructure, as well as on the livelihoods and lifestyles of Alaskans.

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About the Program

The DGGS Climate and Cryosphere Hazards Program (CCHP) uses a combination of field-based observations, remote sensing, and modeling to assess, monitor, and predict the impacts of a changing cryosphere on communities, infrastructure, and resources in Alaska.

Topics of Investigation

Topic of investigation: Snow variability

Snow Variability

  • Avalanche hazard mapping
  • Snow depth distribution
  • Snow water equivalence mapping
Topic of investigation: Glacier change

Glacier Change

  • Mass balance and runoff
  • Glacial lake outburst floods
  • Glacier collapse
Topic of investigation: Unstable slopes

Unstable Slopes

  • Debris flows
  • Landslides
  • Rock avalanches

CCHP's Toolbox

  • Lidar
  • Traditional and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry
  • Remote observations
    • High-elevation weather stations
    • Real-time cameras
  • Citizen Science
  • Bathymetric surveys
  • Modeling

Current Projects

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