Dr. Ken Duffy, Natural and Water Resources Program Manager of BEM Systems, presented the study findings, “Risks Posed by Coastal Erosion on Air Force Installations Located Along the 680-Mile Shoreline of Arctic Alaska,” on October 15, 2015 at the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association conference.
The U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) retained BEM to conduct a study of the risks posed by coastal erosion on Air Force facilities located along the 680-mile shoreline of Arctic Alaska.
BEM had been performing site remediation and restoration projects at a number of remote radar installations, under a different AFCEC contract, where it documented that shorelines were receding at a rapid pace – with some shorelines receding hundreds of feet in one year.
The company performed a preliminary risk assessment of the various built and natural assets at three radar installations, selected based on their vulnerability to accelerated coast erosion, by applying non-linear regression techniques to historical shoreline measurements.
After that, working in conjunction with Dr. Tom Ravens, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, BEM evaluated a range of predictive models that could be applied to the most at-risk sites to provide a more accurate forecast of coastal erosion over the next fifty years.
This process-based model accounted for a number of critical variables associated with climate change conditions specific to the Arctic environment, which, unlike other parts of the country, is not significantly affected by increasing rates of sea level rise.