Health & Safety Research


Getting fiber optic cable onshore in Arctic Alaska requires detailed understanding of the ways sea ice can damage cables in areas of shallow water. Working with industry lead Quintillion Networks, researchers at UAA and UAF have helped evaluate threats from sea ice and identify the safest routes to bring fast access to Arctic Alaska. 


UA is providing ethnographic pictures of the ways in which Alaska Native communities respond to rapid environmental and socio-economic change, while holding on to core values in the face of uncertainty.


UA is providing definitive earthquake information to the public, emergency managers, scientists and engineers. This information is derived from a network of seismic monitoring stations that we operate across the state. Based on a mandate from the Alaska Legislature and the many stakeholders we support with data, products and outreach, UAF’s Alaska Earthquake Center ensures safe and economically sound construction, maintenance and long-term operation of Alaska infrastructure; on-site monitoring for major facilities (pipelines, mines, and military installations); and tsunami mapping, thus enabling evacuation planning in nearly every major Alaska coastal community.


In partnership with the Nome Eskimo Community, UAF researchers are working with the Native Villages of Solomon and Council and the King Island Native Community to identify and discuss recent changes in conditions and ways to adapt, develop detailed plans and share information with other rural Alaska and Native communities.

Interior, Southwest

For the first time, UA is testing and providing specific and short-term forecast products for fire managers in Alaska. Methods used in the western US to evaluate lightning ignition risk are now being tested in Alaska. These products are essential to Alaska fire manager decisions regarding how and where to allocate resources, saving money and keeping Alaskans safe.


Based in the thorough, investigative work of one of our own PhD students, UA is studying how to improve preparedness and response to annual springtime flooding in Alaska and other high-latitude regions. We are developing effective and easily adaptable flood risk mitigation and disaster response and recovery strategies, for use in rural Alaska communities and elsewhere.

Interior, Southcentral

UA is developing a statistical understanding of how storms and other extreme events (wildfire, coastal erosion, flooding) are projected to change for Alaska in our current century. This is enabling us to better understand the connections between exposure to natural hazards and human vulnerability.

Interior, Southeast

UA promotes safe and effective mine rescue operations by developing unmanned ground vehicles and aircraft systems for mine rescue operations and safety training to improve Alaska’s underground mining operations.

UA researchers are working with the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association to help the 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska prepare for and respond to changing conditions through adaptation and outreach. We are using research to identify tribal climate science needs, support adaptation planning and link tribal needs. 


The Alaska Volcano Observatory at UAF analyzes satellite data twice daily for thermal anomalies and ash plumes for about 80 volcanoes in the North Pacific. Thermal anomalies at volcanic vents have been detected up to several weeks before large eruptions. Volcanic ash in the atmosphere is a serious hazard to jet aircraft; working with the National Weather Service to predict where winds will carry the ash, UA assists the Federal Aviation Administration in warning pilots of potential risks.