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Causes and Impacts of the 2016-2019 Southeast Alaska Drought

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

Southeast Alaska, home to the northernmost temperate rain forest in the world, experienced frequent and cumulatively significant below-normal precipitation starting in autumn 2016. Combined with above-normal air and ocean temperatures and changes in economies, the 2016–2019 drought brought wide reaching impacts to individuals, communities, tribes and ecosystems.

Focus areas of this research include:

  • Putting the 2016–2019 drought into historical context
  • Elucidating some of the drivers of the dominant weather patterns during this drought,
  • Documenting impacts across multiple systems and time scales
  • Providing estimates of the future likelihood of such events reoccurring in coming decades through post-processing of available climate model projections.

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2022
Principal Investigator(s)
Richard Thoman (Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy/University of Alaska-Fairbanks) and Andrew Hoell (NOAA PSL)
Project Funding
What to expect from this research

The research team has produced a full report, Southeast Alaska Drought, on the impacts and attribution of the 2016–2019 Southeast Alaska Drought, as well as two-page summaries on the following topics:

There will also be a peer-reviewed publication. 

This webinar recording provides an overview of the Southeast Alaska Drought report, including a discussion of drought history, causes, and ecosystem impacts in the region.

Related Documents
Document Date
January 2023
Document Date
March 2022
Document Date
March 2022
Document Date
March 2022
Document Date
March 2022
Key Regions
Research Scope