Coastal erosion dynamics on the permafrost-dominated Bykovsky Peninsula, north Siberia, 1951-2006
This study investigates the rate of erosion during the 1951-2006 period on the Bykovsky Peninsula, located north-east of the harbour town of Tiksi, north Siberia. Its coastline, which is characterized by the presence of ice-rich sediment (Ice Complex) and the vicinity of the Lena River Delta, retreated at a mean rate of 0.59 m/yr between 1951 and 2006. Rates ranged from 434 m of erosion to 92 m of accretion during these 56 years and exhibited large variability (?=45.4). Ninety-seven percent of the rates observed were less than 2 m/yr and 81.6% were less than 1 m/yr. No significant trend in erosion could be recorded despite the study of five temporal subperiods within 1951-2006. Erosion modes and rates actually appear to be strongly dependant on the nature of the backshore material, erosion being stronger along low-lying coastal stretches affected by past or current thermokarst activity. The juxtaposition of wind records monitored at the town of Tiksi and erosion records yielded no significant relationship despite strong record amplitude for both data sets. We explain this poor relationship by the only rough incorporation of sea-ice cover in our storm extraction algorithm, the use of land-based wind records vs. offshore winds, the proximity of the Peninsula to the Lena River Delta freshwater and sediment plume and the local topographical constraints on wave development.
Keywords: coastal erosion, permafrost, Arctic, climate change, Russia
(Published: 15 September 2011)
Citation: Polar Research 2011, 30, 7341, DOI: 10.3402/polar.v30i0.7341
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.