Long-term ice-rich permafrost coast sensitivity to air temperatures and storm influence: lessons from Pullen Island, N.W.T.

Berry, H. Bay, Whalen, Dustin and Lim, Michael (2020) Long-term ice-rich permafrost coast sensitivity to air temperatures and storm influence: lessons from Pullen Island, N.W.T. Arctic Science. ISSN 2368-7460 (In Press)

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Abstract

Response of erosive mechanisms to climate change is of mounting concern on Beaufort Sea coasts, which experience some of the highest erosion rates in the Arctic. Collapse of intact permafrost blocks and slumping within sprawling retrogressive thaw complexes are two predominant mechanisms that manifest as cliff retreat in this region. Using aerial imagery and ground survey data from Pullen Island, N.W.T., Canada, from 13 time points between 1947 and 2018, we observe increasing mean retreat rates from 0 + 4.8 m/a in 1947 to 12 + 0.3 m/a in 2018. Mean summer air temperature was positively correlated with cliff retreat over each time step via block failure (r2 = 0.08; p = 0.5) and slumping (r2 = 0.41; p = 0.05), as was mean storm duration with cliff retreat via block failure (r2 = 0.84; p = 0.0002) and slumping (r2 = 0.34; p = 0.08). These data indicate that air temperature has a greater impact in slump-dominated areas, while storm duration has greater control in areas of block failure. Increasingly heterogeneous cliff retreat rates are likely resulting from different magnitudes of response to climate trends depending on mechanism, and on geomorphological variations that prescribe occurrences of retrogressive thaw slumps.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: coastal erosion, permafrost, slope instability, arctic climate change.
Subjects: F700 Ocean Sciences
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2020 14:04
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2020 14:45
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/44672

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