SNAP Highlights: Spring 2021

SNAP Highlights detail seasonally appropriate tools and data sets from the Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning. Our Spring highlights focus on the season ahead and the impacts of warming temperatures on sea ice and Alaska’s avid gardeners.

A fresh take on Arctic sea ice

SNAP and the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy are excited to bring an update to the popular Historical Sea Ice Atlas web tool. The Atlas still presents sea ice concentration data across nearly 200 years of records. With these updates come improved usability, updated animations, new ways to visualize data, viewing data by Arctic community, and most critically a full pan-Arctic dataset.

This revision of the Atlas presents new tools and functionality to access the same sea ice data used by expert scientists. 

  • Arctic hunters and fishermen are able to see changes in sea ice concentration over time.
  • The changing navigability of seaways provides context for maritime observers. 
  • Historians can explore average sea ice for nearly two centuries in graphs and with a map. 
  • International users can now utilize the new pan-Arctic data extent and curious observers around the globe can learn more through detailed animations created for this update.

The future of gardening with the Alaska Garden Helper Tool

Warming temperatures and more hours of sun mean the beginning of the gardening season for many Alaskans. SNAP’s Garden Helper tool puts powerful climate change models and datasets into a context that’s useful for gardeners and agriculturalists. Use the tool to better understand what the future of growing degree days, growing season, annual minimums, and hardiness zones will look like in your community.

Understanding Growing Season Length

The growing season records the longest stretch of time between the last “cold” Spring day and the first “cold” Autumn day, as determined by your selected temperature threshold. This can help you decide whether a crop is worth planting in your community, or if it may become worth planting as the environment changes based on the crop’s measure of “days to maturity.” For example a gardener in Nome will find that Hardy (>32°F) and even some Cold (>40°F) crops are becoming more viable every decade in the region.

Data highlights

Alaska airport wind data

This dataset supports the Historical Winds at Alaska Airports tool – putting Alaska wind data into the critical context of the state’s aviation infrastructure. The data explores historic wind speeds at Alaska airports, changes in wind speed and direction, and effects on crosswind, a crucial variable for aviators.

Access data

Maximum precipitation projections for Alaska

This dataset supports the Future Projections of Precipitation for Alaska Infrastructure tool. The tool was developed in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Transportation to provide precipitation estimates for coming decades. They will use the data to design roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that is cost-effective and resilient to Alaska’s changing environment.

Access data