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TitleArctic deltas and estuaries: a Canadian perspective
AuthorForbes, D LORCID logo
SourceCoasts and estuaries; by Wolanski, E (ed.); Day, J W (ed.); Elliott, M (ed.); Ramachandran, R (ed.); 2019 p. 123-147,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20180012
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceYukon; Nunavut; Northwest Territories
NTS25; 35; 45; 55; 65; 75; 85; 95; 105; 115; 16; 26; 36; 46; 56; 66; 76; 86; 96; 106; 116; 27; 37; 47; 57; 67; 77; 87; 97; 107; 117; 28; 38; 48; 58; 68; 78; 88; 98; 19; 29; 39; 49; 59; 69; 79; 89; 99; 120; 340; 560
Lat/Long WENS-150.0000 -60.0000 84.0000 60.0000
SubjectsNature and Environment; environmental geology; geochemistry; marine geology; sedimentology; Society and Culture; coastal environment; coastal studies; fluvial systems; marine environments; biogeochemistry; salt water; deltaic deposits; deltas; deltaic sediments; estuaries; estuarine deposits; estuarine ecology; estuarine studies; arctic geology; ecosystems; Fresh water; Indigenous culture; Indigenous lands; Indigenous peoples
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; histograms; profiles; cross-sections; bathymetric profiles
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience Coastal Infrastructure
Released2019 01 25
AbstractDeltas and estuaries in high latitudes have many features in common with river-mouth systems everywhere. In addition, they share a suite of polar characteristics driving distinctly Arctic processes and outcomes. Various forms of ice (including ground ice, river and sea ice, glacial ice, and snow) are the primary distinguishing factors, but extreme seasonality and the near-absence of trees are also important. The glacial legacy is a key influence, through sediment supply, affecting delta growth and survival, and glacial-isostatic crustal motion, leading to both falling and rising relative sea levels. High-latitude amplification of climate warming is causing dramatic losses of sea ice, land-based ice, and ice shelves, and accelerating coastal erosion. Moreover, Arctic deltas and estuaries (including ice shelves) provide critical ecosystem services, are responding to global climate forcing, and serve as sentinel systems for detection and tracking of climate warming effects at high latitudes.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Deltas and estuaries in high latitudes share many recognizably Arctic characteristics. Ice (as permafrost and ground ice, river and sea ice, glacial ice, or snow) is important, as are extreme annual variations in temperature and light, and the near-absence of trees. Past and present glaciation also plays a key role, contributing to delta sediment supply and changing sea level, either rising or falling. Rapid Arctic climate warming is causing dramatic losses of sea ice, glaciers, and ice shelves, and speeding up coastal erosion. Although population and development are limited in the North, Arctic deltas and estuaries are important for conservation and food security. Arctic ice shelves, deltas, and estuaries can serve as monitors of climate change and its impacts.

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