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$6 million NSF grant to fund study of freshwater resources

Submitted by Jenn Wagaman
Phone: 907-474-5082


The University of Alaska Fairbanks is leading a $6 million program to investigate the effect of climate change on freshwater resources in Alaska and Hawaii.

The National Science Foundation grant will create the Pacific Area Climate Monitoring and Analysis Network, or PACMAN. The network is a partnership between UAF and the University of Hawaii.

"PACMAN builds on, supports and integrates research from several disciplines, from chemistry and conservation biology to geographic information systems and social-ecological modeling," said UAF project leader Buck Sharpton. "This project will significantly enhance the abilities of Alaskan and Hawaiian communities to understand, plan for and respond to changing climate conditions."

One aspect of the research will focus on measuring and understanding processes of global weather systems that influence the amount and location of rainfall. Because these systems are the main source of freshwater deposits, it's important to understand how their paths might change and to build predictive models of future water availability.

A broader goal of PACMAN is to incorporate other studies of climate effects on North Pacific ecosystems, such as existing models of ocean circulation, fresh water flow into the Bering Sea and the rate of melting sea ice.

A new 2.5-petabyte data storage facility and high performance computing resources at the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center will support the PACMAN project.

"ARSC is leveraging NSF funding to build new cyberinfrastructure capacity for computational scientists at UAF," said ARSC director Frank Williams. "This adds to UAF's potential as a leader in responding to computationally intensive solutions to issues of high priority to the state and nation."

CONTACT: Buck Sharpton, vice chancellor for research, at 907-474-6000 or buck.sharpton@alaska.edu. Frank Williams, ARSC director, at 907-450-8606 or flwilliams@alaska.edu. Jenn Wagaman, public information officer, at 907-474-5082 or jewagaman@alaska.edu. JW-DD/11-20-09/097-10

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