Part of Alaskas coast drifting into sea at twice the rate it has in pastFebruary 21st, 2009 - 2:17 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Feb 21 (ANI): A new study has indicated that part of Alaskas coast is drifting into the sea at twice the rate it has in the past, reshaping the Arctic shoreline.
The study of the 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of coast was published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
According to a report in National Geographic News, the trend could seriously threaten the areas caribou and other wildlife, as well as local landmarks that document human settlements.
Some stretches of the states northern shore along the Beaufort Sea receded by more than 80 feet (25 meters) in summer 2007 alone, when Arctic sea ice was at a record low.
In the past, spurts of erosion had often been linked to storms, but there were no major storms in 2007.
That suggests a shift in the forces driving erosion, said lead author Benjamin Jones, a research geographer at the U.S. Geological Survey.
One major force now is global warming, according to the research.
Warming air and sea temperatures are melting the ice in the regions permafrost, or perpetually frozen earth.
The meltwater then streams over the land and melts more permafrost, carrying sediment into the sea as it goes.
From 2002 to 2007, the melting ice caused the coast to disappear at a rate of about 45 feet (14 meters) a year.
Thats up from an annual average of 30 feet (9 meters) between 1979 and 2002 and 20 feet (6 meters) between 1955 and 1979.
Remains of the ghost town of Esook, a hundred-year-old trading post, have been buried underwater as a result of the erosion, Jones said.
According to Larry Hinzman, director of the International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, the permafrost in this region has a considerable amount of ice, which is one reason it is melting so fast.
If it were a different soil type, it would have less ice and would not erode so quickly, said Hinzman.
Hinzman said that the findings would not be representative of the whole Arctic, but there are many places in the Arctic where the permafrost does contain similarly massive amounts of ice.
The researchers call for more study of the erosion patterns so that preservation plans can be devised and new development can avoid early demise. (ANI)
- Climate change 'retreating Arctic coastline by half a metre every year' - Apr 18, 2011
- Climate change pushing back Arctic coastline - Apr 18, 2011
- Erosion doubles along part of Alaskas Arctic coast, threatens cultural and historical sites - Feb 19, 2009
- Arctic sea ice level reaches second-lowest in history - Oct 06, 2011
- Melting glaciers on Arctic islands play major role in rise of sea level - Apr 21, 2011
- Arctic's sea ice melt hits second-lowest level - Oct 07, 2011
- Alaska's northern coast eroding with alarming speed - Sep 28, 2009
- Arctic sea ice shrinks to smallest ever - Aug 28, 2012
- Arctic sea ice hits second-lowest level - Oct 05, 2011
- Polar bear's record 9-day continuous swim blamed on global warming - Jan 26, 2011
- Concerns raised over the rapidly melting ice in the Arctic region - Sep 17, 2010
- Climate change strips Arctic of much snow cover - May 05, 2011
- Polar bears at risk as melting ice is making them swim greater distances - Jan 26, 2011
- NASA's ICESCAPE to study impacts of climate change on Arctic - Jun 09, 2010
- Reduced sea ice, warming elevate Arctic temperatures - Jul 08, 2012
Tags: arctic research center, arctic sea ice, beaufort sea, benjamin jones, fairbanks alaska, frozen earth, geophysical research letters, ghost town, hinzman, human settlements, journal geophysical research, kilometer stretch, major storms, melting ice, melting the ice, meltwater, national geographic news, sea temperatures, soil type, u s geological survey