A new quantitative coastal land gained-and-lost method uses image analysis of topographic maps and Landsat thematic mapper short-wave infrared data to document accelerated coastal land loss and thermokarst lake expansion and drainage. The data span 1955–2005 along the Beaufort Sea coast north of Teshekpuk Lake in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. Some areas have undergone as much as 0.9 km of coastal erosion in the past 50 yr. Land loss attributed to coastal erosion more than doubled, from 0.48 km2 yr−1 during 1955–1985 to 1.08 km2 yr−1 during 1985–2005. Coastal erosion has breached thermokarst lakes, causing initial draining of the lakes followed by marine flooding. Although inland thermokarst lakes show some uniform expansion, lakes breached by coastal erosion display lake expansion several orders of magnitude greater than inland lakes.

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