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4001 Discovery Dr., Boulder, CO 80309

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Li Erikson (USGS)

Research Oceanographer at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

INSTAAR Seminar Series. This week is a virtual seminar via Zoom only.

Location: Online only.

Audience: All are welcome

Abstract: Following decades of permitting negotiations, BOEM has approved an oil and gas Development and Production Plan that includes the construction of an artificial island within Arctic Alaska. The planned construction has raised concerns for potential negative impacts on marine mammals, subsistence whaling, and nearshore habitats, especially around the nearby Foggy Island Bay Boulder Patch which is an ecologically important area believed to support the Beaufort Sea's richest and most diverse biological communities. Earlier work showed that increased loads of sediment are likely to temporarily advect across the Boulder Patch during construction activities, but the influence of the island on sediment transport pathways during the design-life of the project has until now been unknown. In this study, funded in part by BOEM, we investigate how future sea ice cover, longer periods of open water, and changes in wind patterns might affect ocean conditions and consequent sediment transport through 2050 with the planned island in place.

The second part of this talk will provide an overview of ongoing modeling efforts aimed at informing Alaska’s west coast communities of potential future flood risks. Employing the same global-to-local downscaling framework as in the Foggy Island Bay study (above), future flood hazards at ~25 communities are being simulated. Modeled hazards will be conjoined with census metrics, infrastructure data layers, and first finished floor elevations to map socio-economic risks under scenarios of rebuilding-in-place. The format, style, and content of final products to be made publicly available,  are being co-developed with stakeholders. The mapped hazards and risks, and availability of calibrated and validated models for further use in adaptation measures, are anticipated to provide guidance on infrastructure relocation and changes in risk if new protection measures are constructed.

  • Danielle Harris

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