Aleutian and Bering Climate Vulnerability Assessment (ABCVA)
The climate is changing in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands region. Residents, stakeholders, scientists, and natural resource managers are all concerned about the impacts of future climate change on important species, systems, and habitats.
But projections of future climate are necessarily uncertain, and different approaches have different strengths and limitations. With variation in projections, and with different impacts depending on species and systems of concern, how can stakeholders and managers realistically anticipate and plan for the impacts of climate change?
Vulnerability assessments may provide one answer. A vulnerability assessment is a well-developed, systematic way to “synthesize and integrate scientific information, quantitative analyses, and expert-derived information in order to determine the degree to which specific resources, ecosystems, or other features of interest are susceptible to the effects of climate change” (USFS 2011)
The Aleutian and Bering Climate Vulnerability Assessment (ABCVA) integrates projections from two recent climate downscaling approaches; one from the Bering Sea Project, and one from the Spatial Tools for Arctic Mapping and Planning (STAMP) project. Results from these two efforts will be reviewd by an expert team to assess the vulnerability of key resources and ecosystem services within the Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands region including:
• Marine Mammals
• Cultural Artifacts/Sites
• Terrestrial Vegetation
• Commercial Fishing
• Subsistence Culture
• Human Community Sustainability
Our Timeline and Process
Beginning in Fall of 2013 we recruited a volunteer team of experts with knowledge about key resources and ecosystem services (listed above) to help us conduct this vulnerability assessment. This group will assembled at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium on January 2014, to work with climate scientists to ensure common understanding of climate projections for the region and overall project objectives.
Thus far progress was presented to scientific and stakeholder communities including:
Publications Guiding Our Approach:
• Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Vulnerability Assessment
• Choosing and Using Climate Change Scenarios by Snowver et al. (2013)
• A multivariate analysis of observed and modeled biophysical variability on the Bering Shelf by Hermann et al. (2013)
• Access portal to the downscaled climate projections from the Bering Sea Project
• Access to the climate projections from SNAP for Alaskan communities
• Access to the climate projections from SNAP for extreme weather events
The results of this vulnerability assessment will be shared broadly with managers, stakeholders and researchers in the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea region and will be used to identify and prioritize key science needs for future joint efforts by the ABSI LCC and AK CSC. Please contact Aaron if you have questions or ideas about this project.