AURA: Arctic Urban Risks and Adaptations

The NSF-NNA sponsored activity focused on developing a co-production framework for addressing multiple changing environmental hazards.


  1. Work with communities to assess wildfire, permafrost, and rain-in-winter hazards and risks as they have changed since 1980 and are projected to change over the next four decades.
  2. Estimate the public and private costs associated with these hazards and actions taken to mitigate or adapt to them.
  3. Work with government employees, NGOs, and tribal entities to learn how communities are adapting to and mitigating these changing hazards, how the hazards may interact with each other to cause cumulative effects, and co-develop a vision for improving future adaptation.


What are Scenarios? 

Scenarios investigate possible futures with each scenario-based on assumptions of possible change.  The figure below helps show how scenarios can create a distribution of possible futures.  The darker colors highlight the potential expanse identified by participants.

Scenario Process

Why do scenarios?

In the process participants can become more aware of uncertainties and in the process of identifying potential futures begin to make adaptive plans.


For more about the scenario process please visit our scenario section.


Below are some of the products and results from our research project.



Peer Review Journal Articles

  • Predicting the Unpredictable: Predicting Landcover in Boreal Alaska and the Yukon Including Succession and Wildfire Potential by Monika P. Calef, Jennifer I. Schmidt, Anna Varvak, and Robert Ziel.  Forests 14, no. 8: 1577. 


Project News

21 August 2023

Predicting the Unpredictable

In this paper we modified an existing landcover dataset to better identify vegetation associated with wildfire and permafrost in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Whitehorse over the past 4 decades (1984-2014) and make predictions for the next 4 decades (2024-2054).  We used an existing fire model called FlamMap and several statistical analyses to determine where future fires could be possible. Being able to see how the landscape and vegetation change through time allows us to better understand current and future permafrost distributions and wildfire hazards which are essential to developing community plans that reduce risk and increase preparedness for natural hazards.

News Archive

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