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Environmental Change Risk Index for Arctic Facilities and Infrastructure in Coastal Alaska

Dr. Craig Tweedie, University of Texas El Paso, Dr. Matthew Calhoun, University of Alaska Anchorage, and a number of collaborating partners were recently awarded a new grant from the US Coast Guard in conjunction with the UAA Arctic Domain Awareness Center for the development of an Arctic Facilities and Infrastructure Environmental Change Risk Index for permafrost coastal and riverine landscapes of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in Alaska. This research will focus on conducting a coastal facilities and infrastructure engineering risk analysis along western and northern Alaska. The study will draw experts from a range of disciplines and utilize a collaborative set of workshops and smaller standing working groups to solicit expert opinion that will be used to derive data to apply to models, and test, and deliver an “Arctic facilities and infrastructure environmental change” risk index.

The project team will actively seek to coordinate with relevant international Arctic scientists, engineers, and other stakeholders to share and co-develop approaches that are mutually beneficial to those similarly challenged by Arctic environmental change. Analysis will use appropriate qualitative and quantitative approaches for the data being used and questions posed with attention to uncertainty. Products will inform responders and inspectors of the current and predicted future structural integrity of those facilities, and the bearing capacity, stability, and susceptibility to erosion of the surrounding landscape. The research effort will produce three products – a comprehensive Arctic facilities and infrastructure environmental change knowledge product, an operationally relevant Arctic facilities and infrastructure environmental change risk index, and an Arctic inspector and responder structural environmental impacts training guide. This effort will leverage PerCS-Net to coordinate with relevant international Arctic scientists, engineers, and other stakeholders to share and co-develop technologies that are mutually beneficial to all those similarly challenged by Arctic environmental change.

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