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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
  • Christopher V Maio
  • (907) 474-5651
  • Vladimir A Alexeev
Award Date:04/29/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 769,965
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 126,809
  • FY 2021=$126,809
Start Date:05/01/2021
End Date:04/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.078
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: Developing high-resolution records of storminess from the southern Bering Sea
Federal Award ID Number:2040240
DUNS ID:615245164
Parent DUNS ID:048679567
Program:ANS-Arctic Natural Sciences
Program Officer:
  • Marc Stieglitz
  • (703) 292-4354

Awardee Location

Street:West Ridge Research Bldg 008
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Recent storminess combined with decreasing extent and duration of sea ice in the Bering Sea has significantly affected Alaska’s Arctic coastline, substantially disrupting communities, threatening commerce including commercial fishing, and posing new challenges to our military and vital marine transportation systems. Unfortunately, our knowledge of past storminess is limited to the last few decades, so we know little about past variability in extreme storms. This hinders our ability to diagnose the causes of changes in storminess and to plan for and address future storm impacts. With this project we will provide comprehensive storm data sets for the central Aleutian Islands that span the last two millennia, providing important context to current and future storm climates. A research cruise along Alaska’s Aleutian Islands will allow us to access remote fjords and collect a series of sediment cores and environmental measurements that have the potential to decipher the history of ancient storm events impacting the area. These storm reconstructions will improve our understanding of how intense storminess has changed in the Bering Sea and allow examination of the regional environmental factors that enhance or inhibit storm activity. The lessons learned from this research will be useful to the scientific community, planners, and local decision makers and will improve preparedness and resilience to future storm activity and coastal hazards. Because the modern instrumental record of storminess in the Bering Sea is limited, we know little about the variability of intense storminess prior to the last few decades. To address this gap in knowledge we will develop reconstructions of extreme storms over the last few millennia from coarse-grained event beds in deep coastal basins along the north coast of the Aleutians. Using sedimentological, geophysical and numerical modeling techniques, coupled with local instrumentation (wave, current, pressure sensors), and the collection of local oral and written storm narratives we will; 1) develop reconstructions of coarse-grained event beds over several millennia, 2) measure real-time storm-related coastal processes to determine thresholds for event bed deposition and provide National Weather Service data for real-time storm and flood impact forecasting, 3) engage with local communities to develop a chronology of historical storm affects, and 4) differentiate other mechanisms of event bed deposition and develop a record of relative sea-level change and potentially great earthquakes and tsunamis. This research is tightly coupled with a field- and lab-based education plan focused on building coastal science literacy to support informed decision-making. Extreme storms endanger Alaskan Native coastal communities already at risk from increased flooding and erosion and threaten critical infrastructure and access to subsistence resources. A collaboration with the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska will serve to build synergy between scientists, local stakeholders, and community residents. Tribal participation in the planning and carrying out of research activities, the production of a professional outreach video/photo blog, and design of a portable educational exhibit and accompanying curriculum materials will provide many opportunities for meaningful engagement and the promotion of STEM fields to under-represented groups. The research will also incorporate undergraduate and graduate students with targeted efforts to increase the representation of Alaska Natives, women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM fields. We will widely present to the public and scientific audiences through multiple media and at professional conferences and publications. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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