• Title: Ecohydrological Linkages: Connecting the dots between hydrology, climate, and people of the North
    • Chas Jones
    • October 03, 2014

I use interdisciplinary research methods to study how changes in hydrology associated with climate affect social-ecological systems in Alaska. Partnerships were established with residents of Fairbanks and Tanana to develop scientific investigations relevant to rural Alaskans. In one project, I incorporated local knowledge into scientific models to identify a social-ecological threshold used to model potential driftwood harvest from the Yukon River. In another project, I developed a physically-based, numerical model to examine the importance of permafrost degradation in explaining unfrozen river conditions in the winter. In addition, field mapping and remote sensing techniques were also used to map dangerous ice conditions on the Tanana River. Unsupervised classification of high-resolution satellite imagery was used to identify and map open water and degraded ice conditions on the Tanana River. I demonstrate how collaborations between scientists and local stakeholders can create tools that are useful and relevant for non-academics. I conclude that regional-scale adaptations and technological development (such as modeling and remote sensing tools) may help to alleviate the effects of extreme events (such as flooding) or unexpected environmental conditions (such as thin or hazardous ice conditions in the winter) driven by climate.

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