, Volume 25, Issue 2-3, pp 63-68
Date: 15 Dec 2004

Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD): an introduction

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Background and rationale

The coastal zone is the interface through which land-ocean exchanges in the Arctic are mediated and it is the site of most of the human activity that occurs at high latitudes. Arctic coastlines are highly variable and their dynamics are a function of environmental forcing (wind, waves, sea-level changes, sea-ice, etc.), geology, permafrost and its ground-ice content and coastline morphometry. Environmental forcing initiates coastal processes, such as the sediment transport by waves, currents and sea-ice and the degradation of coastal permafrost. The coastal response (erosion or accretion) results in land and habitat loss or gain and thus affects biological and human systems. Figure 1 schematically illustrates the major processes involved in Arctic coastal dynamics. Coastal processes in the Arctic are strongly controlled by Arctic-specific phenomena, i.e. the sea-ice cover and the existence of onshore and offshore permafrost. During the 7–9-month-long winter seas