The western coastline of Alaska is highly susceptible to coastal storms, which can cause coastal erosion, flooding, and have other pernicious effects to the environment and commercial efforts. The reduction in ice coverage due to climate change could potentially increase the frequency and degree of coastal flooding and erosion. Further, estuaries and delta systems act as conduits for storm surges, so when there is less nearshore ice coverage, these systems could introduce storm surge into terrestrial environments unaccustomed to saline intrusion, flooding, or other alien biogeochemical factors.
This presentation provides an update on a project that is quantifying the effect of reduced nearshore ice coverage on coastal flooding. The project is developing a large domain wave and storm surge model (SWAN/WWIII + ADCIRC) with high resolution along the Western Alaska coast . This approach captures the complex multi-scale and interactive physics of the deep water, shelf, nearshore, coast, estuaries, and rivers, and is more robust operationally. The model is being assessed using historical wind/pressure fields and station observation data. The impacts of receding ice cover will be studied by including historical seasonal ice coverage, and its effects on the atmospheric and hydrodynamic processes.
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