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Posted Sat Feb 21 2009: from Science:
Arctic Coastal Erosion Doubles in 50 Years
As if record-breaking losses of sea ice and thawing permafrost weren't enough, climate change is also sweeping parts of the Arctic out to sea. New research in Geophysical Research Letters reports that the rate of erosion along a stretch of Alaska's northeastern coastline has doubled over the past 52 years. Such deterioration of arctic coastlines is likely to have significant impacts on local ecosystems, communities living in the Arctic, and oil and gas development. Arctic shorelines are especially susceptible to erosion because their sediments are often held together by nothing more than ice. Scientists have been concerned about these fragile coasts, because they will be pounded harder by waves as the sea ice disappears and storms intensify. Warmer water and rising sea levels make matters even worse. Ground zero might well be the coastline along the Beaufort Sea in northeastern Alaska, where the sediments are particularly ice-rich and the shore unprotected.
[Read more stories about: arctic meltdown, feedback loop, global warming, rising sea level]

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