University of Alaska Fairbanks    |    Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning

Arctic Environmental and Engineering Data and Design Support System

Improving infrastructure resilience requires considering future climate conditions that may differ from the past. Historical observations are insufficient—the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the world.

High-resolution downscaled climate models provide valuable insights into localized climate futures of temperature, precipitation, and other environmental conditions such as permafrost, but their output introduces uncertainties to engineering applications. A systematic approach is needed to integrate future climate trends into engineering, including selecting appropriate models, understanding uncertainties, and addressing variable spatial and temporal scales.

The Arctic Environmental and Engineering Data and Design Support System (Arctic-EDS) streamlines the process of using downscaled climate models for engineering. The Arctic-EDS simplifies and centralizes the process of finding, selecting, extracting, and formatting downscaled climate model output: it pre-selects relevant models, simplifies data extraction, and provides reports with future projections of climate variables and indices. Data is available for download in a tabular format, with links to source datasets and academic references. Example computational notebooks demonstrate how to apply the data to engineering applications.

All downscaled climate model outputs are vulnerable to various sources of uncertainty, including:

  • Natural climate variability
  • Limited historical climate station data from which to interpolate gridded baseline datasets and validate modeled gridded data
  • Model assumptions and parameterizations
  • Uncertainty regarding future societal and economic behaviors
  • Spatial and temporal resolutions of downscaled climate data

The Arctic-EDS regulates these uncertainties by:

  • Presenting gridded data from multiple climate models and emissions scenarios
  • Stating spatial and temporal scales of each dataset
  • Presenting bias-corrected data

No climate model or data processing technique can entirely eliminate uncertainty, but the Arctic-EDS unlocks data that shows how future climate conditions might differ from the past. Each engineering application may require additional steps to interpret results and apply them to a specific design—see the Guidance page for more information.

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