New instruments installed to measure Arctic coastal erosion
In July 2018, three USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center researchers installed instruments and hosted a community outreach event.
In July 2018, three USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center researchers installed thermometers, video cameras, a seismometer, and a wave gauge to measure permafrost temperatures and bluff erosion on the Arctic Ocean coast of Barter Island, Alaska. Combined data from these instruments will be used to test the possibility of remotely estimating wave heights without installing and maintaining wave gauges in the ocean. USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison devised and lead the installation of video cameras and seismometer. Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast of Alaska threatens Native Alaskan villages, sensitive ecosystems, energy- and defense-related infrastructure, and large tracts of Native Alaskan, State, and Federally managed land. The scientists also hosted a community outreach event to present results from earlier studies and to discuss their ongoing research. Government officials, residents, and non-residents attended the event. PCMSC researchers particularly appreciated the local coastal information, insights, and concerns provided by long-time community residents.
The Arctic region is warming faster than anywhere else in the nation. Understanding the rates and causes of coastal change in Alaska is needed to identify and mitigate hazards that might affect people and animals that call Alaska home.