Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Doctoral Dissertation Research: Mapping Community Exposure to Coastal Climate Hazards in the Arctic: A Case Study in Alaska's North Slope (Award# 1523191)

PI: Leichenko, Robin M (
Phone: (848) 445.4056 
Institute/Department: Rutgers University, Department of Geography 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences\Geography |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This research investigates community exposure to coastal climate hazards in Alaska's North Slope and incorporates community assessment of the potential effects on loss of land, infrastructure, and other assets. This analysis will inform response strategies and planning by developing new methods of hazard assessment that can support community resilience in the North Slope and potentially serve as a model for advancing assessment and planning in other rural and urban communities. The research will expand traditional assessments of financial exposure to also include non-material factors such as values and priorities of diverse social groups within a community including a diverse set of stakeholders, ranging from multinational oil companies to individual subsistence hunters. This study will survey community views of asset importance and integrates results with a geophysical hazard data model for a coproduced community exposure map of the North Slope coast. This research will contribute to understanding the human and social dimensions of climate change impacts, including how social, economic, political, and cultural factors shape vulnerabilities and condition response strategies. Methods and findings could enhance nation-wide efforts in the United States to map community exposure to coastal climate hazards by demonstrating methods for, and the importance of systematically incorporating non-market values in exposure analysis. The objectives of the research include adapting the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) coastal vulnerability index (CVI) to the Arctic context, and integrating results with formal asset databases and a spatial community landscape value model while working with affected communities during the process to coproduce exposure maps. Specifically, working with North Slope Alaskan communities the study will incorporate wind fetch (i.e., the open water distance over which wind can generate near shore waves, determined by sea ice extent) into the CVI and get community feedback on the results. In addition to community input on the CVI maps, coproducing the exposure maps includes the community assigning values to traditional land use places using existing spatial datasets and mapping and investigating specific sites threatened by coastal hazards with the aim to learn why exposed assets threaten the community.

Logistics Summary:
This project will adapt the U.S. Geological Survey’s coastal vulnerability index to the Arctic context, and integrate the results with formal asset databases and a spatial community landscape model while working with affected communities during the process to coproduce exposure maps. During the spring of 2016, Co-PI, Michael Brady, will travel to the villages of Kaktovik, Barrow, and Wainwright to conduct interviews with local community members (spending approximately 1-week at each location).

CPS will provide lodging and truck rental in Barrow and Kaktovik, meeting room and bear guard in Barrow, assistance with UIC and NSB permits if necessary, and outreach assistance in Barrow via UICS full time staff. All other logistics will be arranged and paid for by the PI from the research grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2016Alaska - Kaktovik04 / 17 / 2016 04 / 21 / 20161
2016Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)03 / 31 / 2016 04 / 29 / 20161
2016Alaska - Wainwright04 / 10 / 2016 04 / 14 / 20161

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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1523191", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1