Defense Radar, Barter Island

See more pictures of Barter Island here:

Barter Island is on coast of the Beaufort Sea, between Arey and Kaktovik Lagoons, and 62 miles (100 km) northwest of Demarcation Point, on the Arctic Plain of Alaska. On August 4, 1826, Sir John Franklin, assuming it part of the mainland, applied the name "Point Manning" to the eastern point of this island. John Simpson's native map, dated 1855, shows "Tungak Island" and on what appears to be present-day Manning Point the native name "Nu-wu-ak Point" is shown with the note "the place of barter." This is probably the source of the name Barter Island.

A runway was built here by the U.S. military in 1947, and 1951 the U.S. Air Force assumed control of Barter Island to support a Distant Early Warning Line Radar station. The Barter Island station was operated by civilian contract workers until 1990 when the radar station was upgraded with long range surveillance radar. The station was re-designated as part of the North Warning System operated by the Pacific Air Forces 611th Air Support Group based at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

There are 4 active long range radar stations on the Alaska Arctic coast out of 21 Distant Early Warning (DEW) stations that were built during the Cold War. Several of the remaining stations are being threatened by shoreline erosion. Erosion is mostly caused by wind-generated waves during ice-free conditions in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Longer periods of an ice-free ocean will cause more frequent wave attack on shoreline permafrost. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Barter Island and the Beaufort Sea coast.


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