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TitleMonitoring and assessing coastal change in the Canadian Arctic
AuthorTaylor, R; Forbes, D; Frobel, D; Manson, G; Solomon, S; Whalen, D
SourceSustaining Arctic observing networks, poster abstracts; 2008 p. 13-14
LinksOnline - En ligne
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20080092
MeetingSecond International Polar Year Workshop on Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON); Edmonton; CA; April 9-11, 2008
Mediadigital; on-line
AreaHigh Arctic
Subjectsenvironmental geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; geophysics; Nature and Environment; arctic geology; glacier surveys; glaciers; ice; coastal environment; coastal studies; coastal erosion; shorelines; shoreline changes; satellite imagery; remote sensing; bathymetry
AbstractThe Canadian Arctic hosts one of the most diverse and extensive polar coasts in the world. It has a long history of human occupation based predominantly on marine resources. The Inuit and Inuvialuit population of the Canadian Arctic is concentrated in more than 40 communities which are almost exclusively coastal. Apart from inland mines, almost all industrial, transportation, military, and research infrastructure is located on or close to the coast. Climate-change impacts in the Canadian Arctic involve a number of factors affecting coastal stability. Coastal erosion contributes to the Arctic marine carbon budget and contaminant loading.

The Geological Survey of Canada (Natural Resources Canada) is the only federal organization that has conducted long-term repetitive surveys of shoreline changes in northern Canada. Observations at 24 sites span more than 25 years. More than 280 sites have been occupied and surveyed in an east -west transect across the Canadian Arctic to document regional variations in shoreline character, stability and thermal regime. Airborne video surveys complement the ground surveys. These aerial surveys cover 6000 km of coastline, some repetitive over time. They help to fill a gap in repetitive vertical air photography in the Arctic (outside communities) since the late
1950s. Recent availability of high-resolution satellite imagery (pixel size <1 m) in a number of places including most communities has provided new opportunities for coastal change detection.

Other satellite and airborne sensors, including synthetic aperture radar and LiDAR, have been used in some areas to document changes in shoreline position, coastal topography, and hazards from storm-surge flooding, wave run-up, and sea-ice interaction with the coast. Limited shallowwater charting, including some multibeam bathymetry, has been undertaken in recent years, in partnership with the Canadian Hydrographic Service and university partners in the ArcticNet Network of Centres of Excellence.

Baseline information from coastal monitoring has contributed to scientific understanding of coastal change and hazard processes at high latitudes. It has supported Canadian contributions to international initiatives and assessments such as Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD), the
circumpolar Arctic Coastal Observatories Network (ACCO-Net) under IPY, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), and assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Coastal monitoring results have contributed to environmental assessment and engineering design for major resource developments and to marine oil spill response and planning strategies, which become more critical with increased shipping in Arctic waters. Results of coastal monitoring have also enabled provision of advice to Parks Canada, territorial agencies, and co-management boards regarding erosion threats to archaeological and other cultural heritage sites. Current program objectives include the integration of scientific data and insights into regional and local planning for climate-change adaptation in Nunavut and other jurisdictions.

Close collaboration with community partners and links to ArcticNet and IPY projects focused on community impacts, adaptation and resilience are leading to new opportunities for communitybased coastal monitoring.