Barrier islands and spits of northern Alaska: Decadal scale morphological change

By: , and 



Arctic barrier islands and spits are dynamic features influenced by a variety of oceanographic, geologic, and environmental factors. Many serve as habitat and protection for native species and shelter the coast from waves and storms that can flood and erode the adjacent mainland. This paper summarizes results of a study documenting changes to barrier morphology along the North Slope coast of Alaska between the United States-Canadian border and Cape Beaufort, from 1947 to 2020. Changes considered include number of barriers, area and perimeter, shoreline length, barrier sinuosity and width, presence and number of relict terminus features, presence and coverage of tundra vegetation, barrier orientation, termini migration rates, and elevation metrics. Wave conditions are also summarized and related to changes in barrier morphology. The results of this study help to better predict future barrier evolution and prevalence along Alaska’s coast by increasing our understanding of Arctic barrier development, migration, and degradation via the evaluation of historical morphometrics.

Study Area

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Barrier islands and spits of northern Alaska: Decadal scale morphological change
DOI 10.1142/9789811275135_0004
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher World Scientific
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title The proceedings of the coastal sediments 2023
First page 36
Last page 43
Conference Title Coastal Sediments 2023
Conference Location New Orleans, LA
Conference Date Apr 11-15, 2023
Country United States
State Alaska
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