Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing Alaska today. Arctic residents experience a near constant barrage of new threats, from severe weather extremes, to failing infrastructure and changing subsistence resources. Climate research can give communities, agencies and private enterprise an advantage to better understand and address climate change impacts. Sound climate modeling and localized data can help Alaskans be proactive about the future.
In 2021, IARC research supplied climate data and tools making it easier to design Alaska infrastructure to withstand our future climate. We helped coastal communities facing relocation and other devastating impacts access local climate data and develop informed adaptation plans. Our citizen scientists contributed critical information to make life along Alaska rivers safer.
You can come alongside our team of world renowned scientists, talented staff and forward thinking students by supporting research that makes a difference in the lives of Alaskans. For the next 49 hours we’re participating in UA Giving Day. Consider making a donation to our new fund, Alaska Climate Research Makes a Difference.
Gifts support Alaskans through trusted climate change science and partnering for place-based adaptation planning. Through your contribution, IARC scientists can:
- nimbly respond to needs of Alaskans adapting to climate change,
- build strong collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities, private sector, agency partners and policy makers,
- bring trusted climate change information to public venues,
- engage students in meaningful climate change research.
To jumpstart IARC’s new fund, our director Hajo Eicken will donate $1000 after ten gifts are made. Help him expand his impact and improve the lives of Alaskans needing science-based solutions.
Beyond financially supporting our research, you can make a difference by using your voice. Talk about climate change and help spread the word about why climate science is important for our state. During UA Giving Day, post on social media with #49HoursforAlaska, send an email or talk to your friends, colleagues and family.
Together we can make the greatest difference.
Gifts are tax-deductible. Learn about UA Foundation’s secure giving platform and other FAQs.
Hear what people who work with us have to say
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has been my home since I showed up with all my possessions in two suitcases and no idea of what I was getting myself into in September of 1998. I felt like I was coming to the big city moving to Fairbanks from my tiny town of 4,000 people in Wyoming and I have never looked back. I still remember the first time I felt my eyelashes and nose hairs freeze to each other. That is a hard one to describe to folks from the lower 48!
If Fairbanks and UAF are home, the International Arctic Research Center is where I discovered how my skills and talents can help people. There are so many amazing, smart, and driven people at IARC. It is where I learned there is a world that combines science and the quest for knowledge with the drive to find real world solutions and application of that knowledge. It is where I learned to bridge that space and it is where I found a community of people striving to do just that. IARC is the place where I became part of the work to improve the lives of Alaskans by taking the cutting edge climate science and real world problems and challenges and finding the connection. IARC is the place for science that makes a difference in the lives of Alaskas and beyond.
Tina Buxbaum, Director of Alaska Fellows, former IARC employee
Before I was a student, I was a wildland firefighter. Though firefighting is science-based, we don’t often get to interact very closely with the science that goes on. I decided to further my education so I could develop a better understanding of both science and management. Soon after going back to school, I had my son. Balancing family and work with school has me crawling towards a degree. In addition, my family and I have made a temporary move from Fairbanks. The flexibility of distance learning, and the staff’s willingness to work with me is the reason I am able to continue my education at UAF.
This semester I’m taking the Introduction to Watershed Management class, a requirement for my major. Christi [Buffington, the instructor and a Science Education Specialist at the International Arctic Research Center] was kind enough to coordinate a way for me to complete the lab portion of my course from a distance. She reached out to Boise State University to help facilitate this. For our semester project we will be conducting a GLOBE research project. My research will take place in the Dry Creek Experimental Watershed established by the chair of Geoscience at Boise State, who also happens to be a former UAF alumnus. I’m so thankful for this experience, it has allowed me to be able to physically interact with what I am learning in the course material.
Alicia Morton, current UAF student engaging in IARC research
My experience as a graduate student at the International Arctic Research Center has had an immense impact on my academic and professional development, as well as my personal growth. The support and mentorship that I received from IARC researchers was invaluable in shaping my career path in the field of international and cross-sectoral research facilitation. IARC has provided me with first-hand experiences in conducting collaborative research that brings together climate change scientists with Alaskan communities in long-lasting and productive partnerships. Research conducted by IARC scientists is crucial in finding solutions for the most pressing societal challenges in Alaska. I am forever grateful and proud to be an IARC/UAF graduate. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the institution that has given me so much.
Katia Kontar, U.S. Global Change Research Program, IARC alumni
IARC first impacted me through the Inspiring Girls program. I participated in the Girls On Water expedition, a 12 day kayaking excursion in Kachemak Bay. The Girls On Water experience set me on the path that I am on today. It is because of the wonderful women I met in this program that I decided to go into ocean studies at UAF. When I got to UAF, IARC continued to fuel my journey via the Climate Scholars program. Through them, opportunities to study Arctic waters are available to me in ways that I would not get anywhere else.
Sierra Lloyd, current UAF student, engaging in the Climate Scholars program which is led by IARC scientists
Understanding where we are and where we may be headed is extremely useful. The people at IARC help us see future scenarios for Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. We can then describe, to the public and our partners, how that landscape may change and what that could mean. Together we can then begin to imagine and experiment with ways of moving forward together. I can’t imagine doing that without ACCAP, AFSC, AKCASC, SNAP and others at IARC.
Jimmy Fox, Refuge Manager Yukon Flats US Fish and Wildlife Service, engages with IARC to access and share climate change information about Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
I get teary eyed when I think of how much the [IARC education outreach] program has impacted me professionally, personally and my community. It’s wonderful.
It started in 1995 with Partners in Science. It was an outreach program UAF had with mostly Fairbanks schools and one or two schools in the Iditarod School District. I wanted to have the same type of opportunities for my students, so I raised my hand and said, “me, I want partners in science for my students.”
I was then introduced to IARC’s GLOBE program and Dr Elena Sparrow. I was so impressed to be able to do science out here in our village schools. I don’t mind textbook science, but wow, if you can use that authentic approach. Instead of just doing a hydrology unit and learning the water cycle from a book, you’re out there getting macro invertebrates, slogging through marshy places, taking ice measurements and testing pH in real water. That validated so much for my students and for myself.
Later we got into citizen science. A burn occurred about a quarter of a mile away from Shageluk. The firefighters left August 16, a week after the burn site was declared safe, we were up there creating a study site for GLOBE. Our big ‘tada’ question was, “what grows in a boreal forest after a fire.” We’ve been documenting that burn since 2005. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve taken so many twists and turns as to what we measure and how we measure it. GLOBE and Elena have been 100% supportive of everything we did.
Then there was the Alison Project where we took 10 years of ice thickness measurements on our lakes. The grant ran out because there was nobody supporting it at the University, so we took about an 8 year break. Now Fresh Eyes on Ice is a reborn, transformed Alison, and here we are with Chris Arp and Katie Spellman. And the thrill continues!!!
There are just so many different ways that I’ve delighted in opportunities and experiences at IARC. There are so many wonderful people who think of these awesome connections they can make with Alaskan school kids. So in rural areas we don’t have to keep our nose stuck in a book, we can have our nose stuck to a tree collecting data!
Joyanne Hamilton, K-12 Teacher in Shageluk, Alaska, has been involved in countless IARC education outreach programs