Groundwater in the US state of Alaska is critical to both humans and ecosystems. Interactions among physiography, ecology, geology, and current and past climate have largely determined the location and properties of aquifers as well as the timing and magnitude of fluxes to, from, and within the groundwater system. The climate ranges from maritime in the southern portion of the state to continental in the Interior, and arctic on the North Slope. During the Quaternary period, topography and rock type have combined with glacial and periglacial processes to develop the unconsolidated alluvial aquifers of Alaska and have resulted in highly heterogeneous hydrofacies. In addition, the long persistence of frozen ground, whether seasonal or permanent, greatly affects the distribution of aquifer recharge and discharge. Because of high runoff, a high proportion of groundwater use, and highly variable permeability controlled in part by permafrost and seasonally frozen ground, understanding groundwater/surface-water interactions and the effects of climate change is critical for understanding groundwater availability and the movement of natural and anthropogenic contaminants.