The Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling Project

The Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling project (ACLIM) is an interdisciplinary collaboration to project and evaluate climate impacts on marine fisheries in the Bering Sea, Alaska. It connects research on global climate and socioeconomic projections to regional circulation, climate enhanced biological models, and socio-economic and harvest scenarios. This effort informs managers of the risks of climate change on fish and fisheries and enables the evaluation of a range of adaptation strategies. ACLIM is a collaboration between 20+ scientists including physical oceanographers, ecosystem modelers, economists, social scientists, and fishery management experts from NOAA and the University of Washington.

AFSC_Alaska_Sea_Ice.jpg

The Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling project (ACLIM) represents a comprehensive effort by NOAA Fisheries and partners to describe and project responses of the Bering Sea ecosystem – both the physical environment and human communities -- to varying climate conditions.

Scientists are focusing on five key species where changes in productivity have been linked to climate variability: walleye “Alaska” pollock, Pacific cod, Arrowtooth flounder, Northern rock sole and snow crab. A subset of scientists in ACLIM are also looking at impacts on other species in the food web and the broader ecosystem. To evaluate a range of possible future conditions, scientists are evaluating the effectiveness of existing fishery management actions under 11 different climate scenarios (spanning high and low CO2 futures expected to lead to different degrees of warming). They will also look at how human fishing fleets and communities can adapt to climate change through climate-informed management.

ACLIM GRAPHIC

Information from these integrated models is being used to make predictions at local scales. Output from these models will help decision-makers choose management measures that promote fisheries resilience, lessen climate impacts on species and communities, and take advantage of potential novel opportunities under climate change.

Repeated Engagement with Management

Scientists regularly meet with resource managers to share progress on the project.

Progress to Date and Next Steps

Scientists have completed projections of various potential climate conditions and are working on projections for core species under current management conditions for several fish and crab species.

ACLIM scientists will continue to regularly seek input and feedback from interested members of the public and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council about potential strategies to evaluate in the next phase of this project.

Bottom line

Scientists hope to provide resource managers with alternative “climate-ready” management strategies to help them adapt to changing conditions so North Pacific marine resources remain sustainable and fisheries and communities are as resilient as possible.

Additional Resources