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Modeling Western Alaska Coastal Hazards

Western Alaska Coastal Hazards and Stream and Lake Monitoring


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The western coastline of Alaska is highly susceptible to coastal storms, which can cause erosion, flooding, and saltwater storm surge, affecting natural ecosystems, human communities, and commercial activity. Historically, a large buffer of ice along the shoreline has protected this region from some of the more severe effects of coastal storms. However, climate change may not only increase the frequency and intensity of storms, but also cause a loss of shoreline ice, possibly increasing the incidence of coastal erosion and flooding and introducing saltwater to freshwater environments. These hazards have the potential to substantially disrupt the environment and commerce in the region, but more information is needed to determine the [...]

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“Coastal tundra, Yukon Delta NWR - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS”
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“Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS”
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Coastal hazards, such as storm surges, erosion, and flooding, as well as coastal, stream, and lake processes, are very important factors that influence ecosystems in western Alaska. An analysis of coastal hazards and a monitoring program of streams and lakes are needed to provide a better understanding of how climate change will impact this region. This project will be implemented as a joint effort among the Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative (WALCC). Science activities include the development of conceptual models of coastal processes and climate impacts in western Alaska and the production of a research-needs assessment that will guide WALCC and AK CSC efforts. The project also aims to model the relationship between stream and lake characteristics and ecosystem impacts and provide recommendations for the design and implementation of a stream and lake monitoring program for the Alaska region.

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Coastal tundra, Yukon Delta NWR - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS
Coastal tundra, Yukon Delta NWR - Credit: Kristine Sowl, USFWS


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  • Alaska CASC
  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers

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