The coastline in Arctic regions reacts to climate change with increased erosion and retreats by half a metre per year on average. This means substantial changes for Arctic ecosystems near the coast and the population living there.
A consortium of more than thirty scientists from ten countries, including researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association and from the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht, comes to this conclusion in two studies published in Estuaries and Coasts and online on www.arcticcoasts.org. They jointly investigated over 100,000 kilometres and thus a fourth of all Arctic coasts and their results have now been published for the first time.
The changes are particularly dramatic in the Laptev, East Siberian and Beaufort Seas, where coastal erosion rates reach more than 8 metres a year in some cases. Since around a third of the world’s coasts are located in the Arctic permafrost, coastal erosion may affect enormous areas in future. In general Arctic coasts react more sensitively to global warming than coasts in the mid-latitudes. Up to now they have been protected against the eroding force of the waves by large sea ice areas. Due to the continuous decline in sea ice, this protection is jeopardised and we have to reckon with rapid changes in a situation that has remained stable for millennia.
Two thirds of the Arctic coasts do not consist of rock, but of frozen soft substrate (permafrost). And precisely these coasts are extremely hard hit by erosion. As a rule, Arctic regions are quite thinly populated. However, as nearly everywhere in the world, the coasts in the far north are important axes for economic and social life. The growing need for global energy resources as well as increasing tourism and freight transport additionally intensify anthropogenic influence on the coastal regions of the Arctic. For wild animal stocks, like the great caribou herds of the north, and the widespread freshwater lakes near the coast progressive erosion brings about significant changes in ecological conditions.Successful cooperation
“This international and interdisciplinary report documents in particular the interest and expertise of German scientists in the field of Arctic coastal research,” says Dr. Volker Rachold, Executive Secretary of the IASC. “Three of the international organisations involved in the report are based in Germany. The secretariats of the IASC and IPA are located at the Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI). The international coordination office of the LOICZ project is funded by the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht (HZG) and has its domicile there at the Institute for Coastal Research. Among other things, researchers see the current study as an international and national contribution to the joint research programme of the Helmholtz Association “Polar Regions and Coasts in a Changing Earth System” (PACES), which is supported by the Alfred Wegener Institute and the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht.
“When systematic data acquisition began in 2000, detailed information was available for barely 0.5% of the Arctic coasts,” says Dr. Hugues Lantuit from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). At the same time the geologist from AWI’s Potsdam Research Unit heads the international secretariat of the IPA and is also one of the coordinators of the study. After over ten years of intensive work we have now gained a comprehensive overview of the state and risk of erosion in these areas. “The Arctic is developing more and more into a mirror of various drivers of global change and into a focal point of national and worldwide economic interest,” says Dr. Hartwig Kremer, head of the LOICZ project office.
Notes for Editors:
Your contacts at the Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute are Dr. Volker Rachold (tel.: +49 (0)331/288-2212; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Hugues Lantuit, (tel.: +49 (0)331/288-2216; e-mail: Hugues.Lantuit@awi.de). Your contact in the Communication and Media Department of the Alfred Wegener Institute is Folke Mehrtens (tel.: +49 (0)471/4831-2007; e-mail: Folke.Mehrtens@awi.de).
Your contact at the Institute for Coastal Research of the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht (LOICZ office) is Dr. Hartwig Kremer (tel.: +49 (0)4152/87 2009 e-mail: email@example.com). Your contact in the Public Relations Department of the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht is Dr. Torsten Fischer (tel.: +49 (0)4152/87 1677; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
State of the Arctic Coast 2010 – Scientific Review and Outlook. Published online by IASC, LOICZ, IPA and AMAP (http://www.arcticcoasts.org).
The report focuses on sensitive coasts and thus represents an update of the two previous reports covering the entire Arctic region that examine the impacts of climate change, “Arctic Climate Impact Assessment” (ACIA, 2005), and the current social processes, “Arctic Human Development Report” (AHDR, 2004). It draws an initial interdisciplinary picture of the scientific understanding of the interplay between humanity and the rapidly changing nature on the coasts.
The Arctic Coastal Dynamics Database: A New Classification Scheme and Statistics on Arctic Permafrost Coastlines. Published in the journal “Estuaries and Coasts”, Springer-Verlag (doi: 10.1007/s12237-010-9362-6).
You will find printable pictures at: http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/embargoed_photos/press_release_20110414/
The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and mid-latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the seventeen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.
The Institute for Coastal Research of the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht places its primary focus on the regional climate in northern Germany and the bordering North Sea and Baltic Sea. A prerequisite for effective coastal management is regular observation and assessment of the environment. At the moment the institute is developing the coastal observatory COSYNA (Coastal Observation System for Northern and Arctic Seas). In particular, COSYNA is aimed at developing forecast models and scenarios that will provide important information for coastal management in the future.
Margarete Pauls | idw
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons
The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences