UAF Scientist Finds Alaska’s Arctic Coastal Towns Face Extensive Inundation


Warming will result in thaw, subsidence, and inundation according to researchers.

Coastal erosion and land subsidence driven by permafrost thawing may lead to extensive seawater inundation in several northern Alaska communities by 2100, according to research by a University of Alaska Fairbanks geomorphologist.

Louise Farquharson, a research assistant professor at the UAF Geophysical Institute, made the long-term projections for the communities of Point Lay, Wainwright, Kaktovik and Utqiaġvik.Her work includes an assessment of the impact of gravel pads, which absorb warmth faster than the moss and peat of the region’s undisturbed land.

The research uses the worst-case scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It assumes no significant change in global carbon dioxide output.

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Image via University of Alaska Fairbanks