ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Tripod-mounted sensors have been planted at three eroding villages in northwest Alaska to collect new data about winter storms through a pilot project launched by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers.

The storm-surge sensors were recently installed near the water line at Kivalina, Shishmaref and Shaktoolik. UAF officials say much of the threat to those villages comes from powerful waves pushed to shore by storms.

Shrinking sea ice and climate change have been blamed as factors behind the storm frequency. Officials say specific data is limited, but the pilot project could help researchers gain a better understanding about the impact of surging water.

Research engineer Nick Konefal with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power says researchers would like to add more sensors in coastal lagoons if the effort proves useful.

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