Geoscience in Alaska

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What is Geoscience?

Geoscience is the study of the Earth and the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Understanding the Earth’s surface and subsurface, its resources, history, and hazards allows us to develop solutions to critical economic, environmental, health, and safety challenges.

By the numbers: Alaska

3,736 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1

315 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3

$3.53 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174

54 total disaster declarations, including 17 severe storm, 4 fire, and 13 flood disasters (1953-2017)6

$33.6 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in 201714

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys
3354 College Road
Fairbanks, AK 99709
http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/
907-451-5000

Workforce in Alaska

  • 3,736 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed) in 20171
  • $101,739: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 4 academic geoscience departments2

Water Use in Alaska

  • 315 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • 450 million gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal3
  • 99 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal3
  • 2 million gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation3
  • 8 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh
  • water withdrawal3
  • 74% of the population is served by public water supplies3

Energy and Minerals in Alaska

  • $3.53 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • Zinc, gold, lead: top three nonfuel minerals in order of value produced in 20174
  • 932,000 short tons: coal produced in 20165
  • 344 billion cubic feet: natural gas produced in 20175
  • 181 million barrels: crude oil produced in 20175
  • 1.78 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 20175
  • 164,000 megawatt hours: wind produced in 20175

Natural Hazards in Alaska

  • 54 total disaster declarations, including 17 severe storm, 14 fire, and 13 flood disasters (1953-2017)6
  • $9 million: individual assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • $40 million: mitigation grants (2005-2017)6
  • $123 million: preparedness grants (2005-2017)6
  • $146 million: public assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • 6 weather and/or climate events, each with costs exceeding $1 billion (inflation adjusted) (1980-2017)7

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 

  • $1.15 billion: total USGS budget in FY 2018 (5.8% increase from FY 2017)8
  • The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program funds geologic mapping projects with federal (FEDMAP), state (STATEMAP), and university (EDMAP) partners
  • $4.24 million: Alaska STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)9
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks has participated in EDMAP9
  • USGS streamgages collect real-time or recent streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality data throughout Alaska

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $20.7 billion: total NASA budget in FY 2018 (5.5% increase from FY 2017)10
  • $1.9 billion: total FY 2018 NASA Earth Science budget (0% change from FY 2017)10
  • Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites measure groundwater changes in Alaska
  • Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite measures soil moisture in Alaska

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • $5.9 billion: total NOAA budget in FY 2018 (4.1% increase from FY 2017)11
  • Next-generation geostationary (GOES) and polar orbiting (JPSS) satellites provide weather forecasting over Alaska
  • Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR) satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Alaska
  • 48 National Weather Service Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) stations in Alaska12
  • 168 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Alaska12

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.8 billion: total NSF budget in FY 2018 (4% increase from FY 2017)13
  • $1.4 billion: total NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) awards in FY 2017 (7.2% increase from FY 2016)14
  • 78 NSF GEO awards in Alaska totaling $33.6 million in 201714
  • $28.6 million: NSF GEO grants awarded to University of Alaska Fairbanks in 201714

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.1 billion: total EPA budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)15
  • 6 active Superfund sites in Alaska in 201816
  • $8.24 million: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grants in Alaska in 201717

Federal Facilities in Alaska

  • USGS Volcano Science Center, Anchorage
  • USGS Alaska Climate Science Center, Anchorage
  • NOAA OAR Barrow Observatory, Barrow
  • DOE National Energy Technology Labratory, Fairbanks
  • NSF Earthscope, Fairbanks

References

1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017
2. American Geosciences Institute, Directory of Geoscience Departments, 53rd Edition (2018)
3. U.S. Geological Survey, Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2015
4. U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2018
5. U.S. Energy Information Administration
6. FEMA Data Visualization: Summary of Disaster Declarations and Grants (accessed May 2, 2018)
7. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters from 1980 to 2018 (accessed April 6, 2018)
8. U.S. Department of the Interior, FY 2019 Budet in Brief
9. U.S. Geological Survey, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
10. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, FY 2019 Budget Estimates
11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, FY 2019 Bluebook
12. NOAA In Your State and Territory
13. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division B) – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
14. National Science Foundation, Budget Information System
15. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division G) – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
16. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund Sites
17. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports



Date updated: 2018-08-29

Compiled by the AGI Geoscience Policy program, July 2018

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