Physical Modelling of Arctic Coastlines - Progress and Limitations
Permafrost coastlines represent a large portion of the world’s coastal area and these areas have become increasingly vulnerable in the face of climate change. The predominant mechanism of coastal erosion in these areas has been identified through several observational studies as thermomechanical erosion—a joint removal of sediment through the melting of interstitial ice (thermal energy) and abrasion from incoming waves (mechanical energy). However, further developments are needed looking how common design parameters in coastal engineering (such as wave height, period, sediment size, etc.) contribute to the process. This paper presents the current state of the art with the objective of establishing the necessary research background to develop a process-based approach to predicting permafrost erosion. To that end, an overarching framework is presented that includes all major, erosion-relevant processes, while delineating means to accomplish permafrost modelling in experimental studies. Preliminary modelling of generations zero and one models, within this novel framework, was also performed to allow for early conclusions as to how well permafrost erosion can currently be modelled without more sophisticated setups.