Time-lapse Photography of Barter Island in Alaska

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Detailed Description

This time-lapse of Barter Island in Alaska during three summer months in 2014, shows the pack ice melting and the subsequent effects to the beach and permafrost cliffs from storms and summer temperatures. This camera sat on a fallen snow fence to capture storm events. As more storms hit the coast, winter ice no longer sticks around long enough to buffer them, and the waves eat away at the base of the bluffs. In three instances you can see sections of the cliff slump as it thaws. In fact, the camera taking this imagery starts to tilt as the ground beneath it begins to slump. Villages exist along this northern stretch of coastal Alaska where erosion may be caused by several environmental elements. 


Date Taken:

Length: 00:02:26

Location Taken: Barter Island, AK, US

Video Credits

Thanks to Bruce Richmond, Ann Gibbs and Li Erikson for providing footage.


0:06 - Title displays, “A Season of Change on Alaska’s Arctic Coast.”

0:08 - Music starts, plays continuously throughout the video

0:09 – “Time-lapse photography looking east on Barter Island June-September 2014”

0:12 – Global map shows North America with a location dot on the north coast of Alaska. The video zooms in on the dot and shows the label,

“Barter Island”

0:16 – Time-lapse video footage begins with a foggy day June 21, 2014 at 18:00 UTC (which translates to 10:00 am in Alaska). This same view, looking due east on Barter Island, will continue for the entire video. Video shows waves lapping the cliff area.

0:18 – Camera display shows the time stamp as it progresses, in the lower right of the video screen, and text displays on the video “Time of year (UTC)” to explain this time stamp.

0:20 – Text on the video indicates, “Pack ice still present” (a black bird flashes in and out of the camera view)

0:22 – “which provides shore protection from storm waves” (black bird appears again)

0:28 – “Pack ice melts”

0:32 – “Notice bluffs slumping here” – a moving arrow on the video shows where to look on the bluffs, to see cracks developing, growing wider, and slumping

0:43 – “Strong winds deliver ice that travels eastward” – arrow indicates this direction of movement

0:57 – “Warming summer temperatures cause more slumping” – arrow points to the slumping bluffs

1:01 – Scientist appears briefly in front of the camera

1:04 – “Floating driftwood shows direction sediment moves”

1:06 - Driftwood appears and moves slowly, arrow indicates its direction of movement with an “E” for east

1:15 – “Storm brings sea ice from offshore” – bigger and bigger chunks of ice are brought in by waves

1:20 – “Notice bluffs slumping again” – with an arrow to draw your eye to the slumping bluff

1:28 – “and again”

1:40 – “The bluff begins to slump in front of the camera” – blades of grass show the movement as they slowly glide past the camera

1:48 – “and now the camera has shifted!” – the bluff is taking the fence along with it as it slumps

1:56 – “Waves start to undercut the bluffs”

2:00 – Arrow shows where to look along the edge of the waves, and chunks of the bluff can be seen being eroded away

2:07 – “Many factors affect erosion along the norther coast of Alaska…”

2:12 – “increasing temperatures”

2:13 – “declining sea ice”

2:15 – “possible changes in storm activity”

2:18 – “which may help to speed future coastal erosion.”

2:22 – Time-lapse video ends on September 6, 2014 at 18:00 UTC (10:00 am in Alaska)

Thanks to Bruce Richmond, Ann Gibbs and Li Erikson for providing footage.

Produced by Amy West