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TitleVariability in Rates of Coastal Change Along the Yukon Coast, 1951 to 2015
AuthorIrrgang, A M; Lantuit, H; Manson, G K; Gnther, F; Grosse, G; Overduin, P P
SourceJournal of Geophysical Research, Earth Surface vol. 123, 4, 2018 p. 779-800, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20182002
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Released2018 04 26
AbstractTo better understand the reaction of Arctic coasts to increasing environmental pressure, coastal changes along a 210-km length of the Yukon Territory coast in north-west Canada were investigated. Shoreline positions were acquired from aerial and satellite images between 1951 and 2011. Shoreline change rates were calculated for multiple time periods along the entire coast and at six key sites. Additionally, Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) measurements of shoreline positions from seven field sites were used to analyze coastal dynamics from 1991 to 2015 at higher spatial resolution. The whole coast has a consistent, spatially averaged mean rate of shoreline change of 0.7ʱÊ0.2Êm/a with a general trend of decreasing erosion from west to east. Additional data from six key sites shows that the mean shoreline change rate decreased from ?1.3ʱÊ0.8 (1950sÐ1970s) to ?0.5ʱÊ0.6Êm/a (1970sÐ1990s). This was followed by a significant increase in shoreline change to ?1.3ʱÊ0.3Êm/a in the 1990s to 2011. This increase is confirmed by DGPS measurements that indicate increased erosion rates at local rates up to ?8.9Êm/a since 2006. Ground surveys and observations with remote sensing data indicate that the current rate of shoreline retreat along some parts of the Yukon coast is higher than at any time before in the 64-year-long observation record. Enhanced availability of material in turn might favor the buildup of gravel features, which have been growing in extent throughout the last six decades.

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