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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Coastal Climate Impacts: Climate impacts to Arctic coasts

Time-lapse photography of Barter Island in Alaska: Video Transcript

Time-lapse camera looks due east on Barter Island from June 2014 to September 2014. This camera sat on a fallen snow fence to capture storm events during the summer.
As the ice pack starts to melt near the shoreline, the beach is no longer protected from storm waves. Normally the wind- and wave-driven currents run east to west (toward the camera), but during a westerly storm, the imagery shows wave-driven currents and floating driftwood moving from west to east, which is how sand is transported along the beach. You can also see that as more storms hit the coast, ice is not present to buffer them, and the waves eat away at the base of the bluffs. In three instances you can see sections of the cliff slump as it thaws. In fact, the camera taking this imagery starts to tilt as the ground beneath it begins to slump. Overall, many environmental elements can cause erosion along the northern coast of Alaska.

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