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Atmospheric circulation drivers of extreme high water level events at Foggy Island Bay, Alaska

December 1, 2022

The northern coast of Alaska is experiencing significant climatic change enhancing hazards from reduced sea ice and increased coastal erosion. This same region is home to offshore oil/gas activities. Foggy Island Bay is one region along the Beaufort Sea coast with planned offshore oil/gas development that will need to account for the changing climate. High water levels impact infrastructure through coastal erosion and flooding hazards. In this study, 21 high water level events exceeding the top 95th percentile were identified at the gauge in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (adjacent to Foggy Island Bay) over 1990-2018. All events were associated with strong westerly winds according to weather station records. Low pressure storm systems were found to be a key driver of westerly winds in the region according to downscaled reanalysis and storm track data. A dynamically downscaled global climate model projection from CMIP5 indicates that days with westerly wind events will become frequent by 2100 in the Foggy Island Bay region. Coupled with the anticipated continued decline in sea ice, the northern coast of Alaska may experience more frequent high water events over the next ~80 years.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Atmospheric circulation drivers of extreme high water level events at Foggy Island Bay, Alaska
DOI 10.3390/atmos13111791
Authors Peter A. Bieniek, Li H. Erikson, Jeremy L. Kasper
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Atmosphere
Index ID 70238615
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center