A predictive, coastal erosion/shoreline change model has been developed for a small coastal segment near Drew Point, Beaufort Sea, Alaska. This coastal setting has experienced a dramatic increase in erosion since the early 2000’s. The bluffs at this site are 3-4 m tall and consist of ice-wedge bounded blocks of fine-grained sediments cemented by ice-rich permafrost and capped with a thin organic layer. The bluffs are typically fronted by a narrow (∼ 5 m wide) beach or none at all. During a storm surge, the sea contacts the base of the bluff and a niche is formed through thermal and mechanical erosion. The niche grows both vertically and laterally and eventually undermines the bluff, leading to block failure or collapse. The fallen block is then eroded both thermally and mechanically by waves and currents, which must occur before a new niche forming episode may begin. The erosion model explicitly accounts for and integrates a number of these processes including: (1) storm surge generation resulting from wind and atmospheric forcing, (2) erosional niche growth resulting from wave-induced turbulent heat transfer and sediment transport (using the Kobayashi niche erosion model), and (3) thermal and mechanical erosion of the fallen block. The model was calibrated with historic shoreline change data for one time period (1979-2002), and validated with a later time period (2002-2007).
Additional Publication Details
Process-based coastal erosion modeling for Drew Point (North Slope, Alaska)
Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering