Research Topic

Observations, Interactions, and Implications of Increasingly Dynamic Permafrost Coastal Systems

About this Research Topic

Permafrost-affected coastlines represent one of the most dynamic systems in the Cryosphere and comprise approximately 30% of the Earth’s land-ocean interface. Climate change is expected to impact permafrost-affecting coastlines as ground temperature continues to increase and sea-ice decline extends the ...

Permafrost-affected coastlines represent one of the most dynamic systems in the Cryosphere and comprise approximately 30% of the Earth’s land-ocean interface. Climate change is expected to impact permafrost-affecting coastlines as ground temperature continues to increase and sea-ice decline extends the open-water season. Despite the prevalence of permafrost coasts in the circumpolar north and their vulnerability to climate change, there remains a paucity of information regarding their dynamics. Localized observations since the early-2000s indicate an increase in coastal erosion and sediment deposition, permafrost thaw and subsidence, and storm surge flooding. Yet the spatiotemporal variability of changes being observed, and the role of environmental forcing mechanisms causing change, including climate change related factors, remain uncertain. The implications of increasingly dynamic permafrost coastal systems are immense and include impacts on infrastructure, ecosystems, and nutrient cycling.

This Research Topic solicitation aims to highlight new and emerging research focused on permafrost coastal systems by providing a platform to link field-based research and monitoring with observations and data products from remote sensing and modeling. We are seeking studies that focus on the terrestrial/marine interface and how permafrost both responds to and influences dynamics in the arctic coastal zone. Contributions that demonstrate the development of new techniques, data integration, and/or highlight the challenges of better understanding permafrost coastal systems in transition are strongly encouraged.

We welcome studies that address permafrost coastal system dynamics in the Arctic that focus on:
• Field-based studies of geomorphological processes;
• Sediment budgeting and nearshore sediment dynamics;
• Influence of sea-ice and landfast-ice on permafrost coasts;
• Near-shore terrestrial and subsea permafrost;
• The role of ground-ice in arctic coastal dynamics;
• Organic carbon mobilization, cycling, and burial;
• Multidimensional remote sensing analyses;
• Empirical and physical-based modeling;
• Sea level rise and storm surge flooding;
• Near-surface geophysical measurements;
• Permafrost thaw subsidence in low-lying coastal regions; and
• Influence of climate change on coastal processes.

We encourage contributing authors to incorporate perspectives on how the study is helping to push frontiers in research related to transforming permafrost coastal systems. We also encourage participants in this Research Topic to reflect on the broader impacts and applicability of the findings of a study and how information can be utilized by the broad suite of stakeholders charged with responding to increasingly dynamic permafrost coastal systems across the Arctic.

Cover Image was taken by Topic Editor Benjamin Jones.


Keywords: permafrost, coastlines, remote sensing, modeling, cryosphere


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

13 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

13 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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