Coastal Hazards in the Alaskan Arctic Multiply with Sea Ice Loss

Communications Earth & Environment, 30 March 2024

Declining sea ice extent and lengthening open water conditions expose Arctic coastlines to more intense hazards every year, including storm surges, floods, and erosion. This paper assesses the vulnerability of Alaska to extreme wave events this century. Should current emissions continue, by 2070 the reduction in sea ice in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas will allow huge waves to reach Alaskan coastlines throughout December-February, and potentially into the spring as well. Winter storms will simultaneously become more fierce over coming decades, elevating risks for those living in these regions. Authors note that this “potentially disastrous” future can be avoided through a 1.5°C-consistent emissions pathway which minimizes sea ice loss.

Full paper:

By Amy Imdieke, Global Outreach Director, and Pam Pearson, Director of ICCI.
Published Apr. 5, 2024      Updated Apr. 5, 2024 8:00 pm