Coastal Erosion Study

Picture of Coastal Erosion along Alaska's Northern coast

Coastal Erosion Study
Oliktok and Barter Island Long Range Radar Sites, North Slope of Alaska
October 2017 to December 2020

Previous studies have shown that the U.S. Air Force radar sites at Oliktok and Barter Island are especially vulnerable to increased coastal erosion taking place along the Arctic coast of Alaska. Accurate predictive modeling of future erosion at these sites is needed in order to assess potential impacts to their facilities. AERC partnered with researchers from the University of Alaska Anchorage’s College of Engineering and BEM Systems, Inc. to develop comprehensive predictive models of shoreline positions over the next 50 years. These models account for expected increases in coastal erosion due to climate change and help to inform the U.S. Air Force’s decision-making process.

  • Performed remote field work to document oceanographic conditions and collect sediment core samples from onshore and offshore areas adjacent to the sites.
  • Developed site-specific erosion models which incorporate Global Climate Model predictions and local data gathered during the research and field work phases.
  • Evaluated models generated by the project and determine their predictive skill through comparisons to existing models and a rigorous 3rd party Quality Assurance/Quality Control process.
  • Barter Island Polar Bear
  • Barter Island Erosion
  • Barter Island Polar Bears
  • Barter Island Polar Bears 2