Forces of Change
Flooding in Barrow, Alaska,1963
Photo © Grace Redding

Will Arctic Storms Change?

It is not clear. But even if storms do not become stronger or more frequent, their impacts could. Increasingly, Arctic coastal communities risk more flooding and erosion when a storm hits. The first line of defense against waves—sea ice and permafrost—has weakened as the Arctic’s climate has warmed.

Some of the greatest decreases in sea ice have occurred in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, increasing the impact of coastal storms.

Graphic © National Snow and Ice Data Center, F. Fetterer and K. Knowles