There is a growing recognition that global climate conditions are changing. Understanding what these changes are and how they impact the Earth's marine ecosystems are two of NOAA's strategic goals. In response, scientists at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Status of Stocks and Multispecies Assessment (SSMA) program have collaborated with climate scientists and oceanographers at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory to develop new modeling tools to better project how climate change will alter the production and distribution of commercial fishes off Alaska. The models provide science-based support for long-range spatial planning and management of these commercial fisheries. This partnership between NOAA branch offices serves as an example of how NOAA can build interdisciplinary research teams to inform managers and the public of the timing and magnitude of the impacts of climate change on commercial fishes.
The following article is designed to provide the reader with an overview of some of the outcomes of this collaborative modeling activity and to introduce the reader to the types of modeling approaches currently employed by scientists within the SSMA program.