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University of Colorado at Boulder An Integrated Assessment for Barrow, Alaska Ron Brunner, Amanda Lynch, & colleagues Jim Maslanik, PI Funded by Office.

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Presentation on theme: "University of Colorado at Boulder An Integrated Assessment for Barrow, Alaska Ron Brunner, Amanda Lynch, & colleagues Jim Maslanik, PI Funded by Office."— Presentation transcript:

1 University of Colorado at Boulder An Integrated Assessment for Barrow, Alaska Ron Brunner, Amanda Lynch, & colleagues Jim Maslanik, PI Funded by Office of Polar Programs National Science Foundation Context & Climate Change

2 2 Data from the NOAA ETOPO-5 dataset Barrow

3 3 Climate Change & Variability Barrow has a history manifest in major extreme events 4 to 6 October 1954 3 October 1963 – the most damaging Fewer big storms mid-1960s to mid-1980s 12 & 20 September 1986 25 February 1989 10 August 2000 5 & 8 October 2002 29 July 2003

4 4 3 October 1963 Photo by Grace Redding

5 5 3 October 1963 Photo by Grace Redding

6 6 Barrow Is Significant Much experience exists there to build upon –Including extreme events & policy responses Harvesting that experience is important for –Continuing improvements in policy responses in Barrow –Informing responses in other Alaska Native villages –Reconsidering climate science & policy generally Context matters because Barrow is unique –Every other local community worldwide is also unique –Also, some trends in Barrow differ from Arctic trends

7 7 Our Integrated Assessment Designed to expand range of informed choices for people in Barrow Focused on erosion & flooding problems Approach is intensive –Centered on Barrow –Comprehensive in range of factors studied –Integrative in focus on extreme events

8 8 Old Barrow Townsite Photo by Dora Nelson Barrow’s Vulnerabilities

9 9 Other Vulnerabilities August 2002 QuickBird Satellite Image

10 10 Multiple Vulnerability Factors Rising temperatures, until recently Deeper permafrost thaw More fetch from sea-ice retreat More frequent & intense storms? Trend is unclear More community development Other human factors

11 11 Declining since 1990s Other indicators Fewer very cold days Shorter cold spells Earlier spring thaw Barrow winter minimum temperatures Rising Temperatures Credit: Claudia Tebaldi

12 12 Permafrost Thaw Depth

13 13 Sea ice retreat Largest in west Affects fetch next autumn 1997 Barrow Credit: James Maslanik More Fetch

14 14 High Wind Events Low frequency period Linear or cyclical trend? Increases in variability

15 15 Oct 63 storm Strong Easterlies Strong Westerlies Classification of Arctic Pressure Systems

16 16 Strong Easterlies Strong Westerlies -2/decade +1.8/decade +1.6/decade Elizabeth Cassano, Melinda Koslow, and Amanda Lynch Classification of Arctic Pressure Systems

17 17 Erosion is relatively small No erosion SE of gravel pit Highest erosion is at the bluffs: 34 m in 50 years Erosion is mostly episodic Erosion 1948 - 1997 Credit: Leanne Lestak and William Manley

18 18 Erosion October 1963 Storm Along the bluffs, only erosion occurred Average almost 4 m; maximum almost 12 m; highly variable Perhaps 1/3 of 50-year bluff erosion occurred during one storm Credit: Page Sturtevant and Leanne Lestak

19 1919481997

20 20 Compound uncertainties in each factor In summary, coastal flooding & erosion in Barrow are the confluence of… o Low surface atmospheric pressure o Long fetch (or open water) to the west o High westerly winds of long duration Such big storms expose and help thaw permafrost, increasing erosion Development exposes more things of value to the community Interactions among Factors

21 21 Major Policy Responses Beach Nourishment Program –Sept. 1986 storms initiated planning process –July 1992: NSB Assembly appropriated $16 m –August 2000 storm damaged & sunk the dredge –Informal local appraisals are mixed at best NSB/USACE Joint Feasibility Study –Motivated in part by August 2000 storm –Phase I to be completed September 2005 –Commencement of O & M scheduled for 2012

22 22 Other Policy Responses Old landfill site protected & capped New hospital location New research facility design Inland evacuation route from NARL Emergency management exercises Utilidor retrofit Planning/zoning & relocation Policy process is distributed

23 23 Proposed Networking Strategy Alaska Native villages meet to compare experience re coastal erosion & flooding Maximize experience available for adaptation decisions in each village Help clarify their common interest in adapting state & federal programs Builds on hearings in Anchorage June 2004 and GAO-04-142 December 2003

24 24 Self-Empowerment Problem of Governance: Agency Programs “…we have found that none of the agencies have programs that cover the full range of our needs…. To be blunt, no agency’s programs are designed for a project as complex as a full village relocation. Each agency has its realm of responsibility, and often there is a gap program to program.” Luci Eningowuk, Shishmaref Erosion and Relocation Coalition (June 2004) Possible Solution Native villages take the lead in advising their elected representatives on adapting, supplementing, and integrating agency programs to meet village needs.

25 25 Conclusions on Adaptation Science cannot significantly reduce inherent uncertainties Sound policy incorporates uncertainties, many community values & constraints –Sound policy process adjusts policies as events unfold Community is in best position to decide sound policy & take responsibility In short, context matters in adaptations

26 26 Conclusions on Communication Depend on sustained interactions with the community & its leaders Depend on research focused on their local experience & concerns; substance matters Big storms (or extreme events) provide a common focus of attention Interim results of value to the community help sustain interactions So does each new storm: Nature is an ally motivating adaptations

27 27

28 28 Colleagues & Contributors Jim Maslanik, PI Matt Beedle Elizabeth Cassano Anne Jensen Melinda Koslow Leanne Lestak Amanda Lynch Linda Mearns Matt Pocernich Glenn Sheehan James Syvitski Page Sturtevant Claudio Tebaldi

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