Catalog Record: Arctic Bluff Retreat and Inundation of an Ecologically Sensitive Barrier Island System due to a Changing Global Climate
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Arctic Bluff Retreat and Inundation of an Ecologically Sensitive Barrier Island System due to a Changing Global Climate

As part of a larger National Shoreline Assessment Project, the USGS is currently collecting and analyzing regional data to describe coastal erosion trends along Alaska's North Slope. A focused study is being conducted along the shoreline of the Chukchi Sea in the vicinity of Wainwright, Alaska. The work aims to assess the potential for changing bluff erosion rates and inundation of barrier islands due to climate change. A major goal of the work is to improve upon the understanding of the nearshore processes and how they may change in response to climate change; this will be done through collection and analyses of field data and development of an analytical and/or numerical model to simulate nearshore processes under the influence of hypothetical climate change scenarios. To support this effort, a suite of field data is being collected August through September 2009. Field data will be collected on land from the bluff edge out to 15 m water depth, and will include bathymetry, tides, waves, currents, water quality parameters, sediment grain size, and bluff geometry, and material strength properties.

Recent work to the east of Point Barrow has shown differing rates of bluff recession, and that the rates appear to be increasing. Bluff recession is also prevalent to the west of Point Barrow, but current knowledge suggests that the rates are not as high. Hypothesis have been put forward as to the underlying reason for the variation in the recession rates, but detailed knowledge of the forcing and resisting mechanisms has not been investigated closely. Furthermore, possible changes of these rates as a result of increasing temperatures is poorly understood.


Data and Resources

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Status: Complete
Start Date: 2009/03/02
Type: Project
End Date: 2014/12/31
Primary Contacts
Name: Li Erikson
Email: lerikson@usgs.gov
Primary Organizations
US Geological Survey

Other Organizations
US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Alaska, North Slope

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