Alaska’s Coast Melting Faster than Ever

A recent study shows that Alaska’s coast is melting faster than ever, and that along with the melting ice, more and more of the land is eroding into the ocean as well. The causes of the erosion also seem to be changing — in the past it was largely due to storms but that is no longer the case.

From 2002 to 2007, Alaska’s coast eroded at a rate that was more than twice that of the years 1955-1979. It is not just land that the sea is taking in these days either. It has swallowed a historic ghost town (Esook) and a historic whaling boat as well as an oil well (and probably more soon).

The complete study concerns about 40 miles of the Alaskan coast and was recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Alaska Wilderness Week just wrapped up in Washington, DC, but if you are interested in environmental issues regarding Alaska, you can join them for another one this Fall. Alaska Wilderness Week is a collaboration of the Alaska Wilderness League, the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and the Alaska Coalition and is held every Fall and Spring. Start thinking about it now, and join in next Fall!

For more information on the study discussed above, read the journal article or a National Geographic article about it.

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