Warming of the arctic climate is having a substantial impact on the Alaskan North Slope coastal region. The warming is associated with increasing amounts of open water in the arctic seas, rising sea level, and thawing permafrost. Coastal geography and increasing development along the coastline are contributing to increased vulnerability of infrastructure, utilities, and supplies of food and gasoline to storms, flooding, and coastal erosion. Secondary impacts of coastal flooding may include harm to animals and their land or sea habitats, if pollutants are released. Further, Inupiat subsistence harvesting of marine sources of food, offshore resource extraction, and marine transportation may be affected. This paper describes a project to understand, support, and enhance the local decision-making process on the North Slope of Alaska on socioeconomic issues that are influenced by warming, climate variability, and extreme weather events.

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Footnotes

Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

Center for Public Policy Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences and Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado