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Permafrost and the Built Environment
CBC News, May 31, 2011. Winter roads that provide an important link to Arctic communities and mines will become increasingly inaccessible as the climate warms over the next 40 years, scientists predict.
Report prepared by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), University of Alaska Anchorage, June 2007. Warmer temperatures and more precipitation will affect both natural and man-made systems in Alaska, with widespread social and economic consequences. One effect will be to damage public infrastructure and shorten its useful life, although not all areas or all types of infrastructure will be equally affected. A report summary is available here. (PDF, 2.79 MB)
Yale Environment 360, June 2, 2011. A new study details the impact of sharply rising temperatures on Arctic land and sea transportation in the next 50 years, with access to crucial ice roads dropping significantly while three new shipping routes open up in an Arctic Ocean that will be largely ice free in summer.
Chapter 16 (pages 907-944) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. This chapter discusses the potential impacts of climate change on arctic infrastructure. Particular concerns are associated with permafrost warming and degradation, coastal erosion, the stability and maintenance of transportation routes, and industrial development. Adaptation, mitigation, and monitoring techniques will be necessary to minimize the potentially serious detrimental impacts. (PDF, 2.91 MB)
O. Anisimov, S. Reneva. Ambio (2006) 35(4):169-175. The permafrost regions occupy about 25% of the Northern Hemisphere's terrestrial surface, and more than 60% of that of Russia. Warming, thawing, and degradation of permafrost have been observed in many locations in recent decades and are likely to accelerate in the future as a result of climatic change.
Permafrost and infrastructure in the Usa Basin (Northeast European Russia): Possible impacts of global warming
G. Mazhitova et al. Ambio (2004) 33(6):289-294. About 75% of the Usa Basin is underlain by permafrost terrain with various degrees of continuity (isolated patches to continuous permafrost). The region has a high level of urban and industrial development. Most of the permafrost-affected terrain will likely start to thaw within a few decades to a century. This forecast poses serious challenges to permafrost engineering and calls for long-term investments in adequate infrastructure.
Permafrost and terrain conditions at northern drilling-mud sumps: Impacts of vegetation and climate change and the management implications
S.V. Kokelj et al. Cold Regions Science and Technology (2010) 64(1):46-56. Climate warming and increasing snow depths hasten thermal degradation. Modeling results indicating sump degradation due to deepening snow were corroborated by snow and ground temperature measurements, observations of collapsed shrub-covered sumps in the Mackenzie Delta region, and the local absence of permafrost where deep snow accumulates over mineral soils.
Fact sheet published by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program with support from the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP). (PDF, 992 KB)
CBC News, Alaska Dispatch, July 20, 2011. Landslides and low water levels in the Northwest Territories in the wake of record-breaking warmth have prompted calls for changes in infrastructure planning. The Yukon government is already spending millions fixing roads affected by landslides, erosion, and washouts caused by extreme weather such as heavy rainstorms. Such extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent as the weather gets warmer in the North.
Report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2009. This report casts a light on one of the most critical aspects of adaptation—ensuring that infrastructure is resilient over its lifespan in the face of climate change. The report shows how we can use existing risk management tools to reduce infrastructure vulnerabilities and adapt more effectively to climate change in Canada's North. (PDF, 6.13 MB)
CBC News, September 8, 2009. Seas rising from global warming and land sinking as permafrost thaws are threatening the Arctic community of Tuktoyaktuk.