Permafrost research on Ross River infrastructure

The Northern Climate ExChange (NCE) of the Yukon Research Centre has just received $186,499 from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to conduct research on permafrost and infrastructure in Ross River, Yukon.

Permafrost thaw has damaged Ross River infrastructure and this research aims to better understand which buildings are vulnerable to permafrost and how to manage existing buildings and future construction in a changing climate.

“The role of NCE is to provide decision-makers with research and information that will help them to make informed decisions about climate change adaptation options for Yukon communities”, said Lacia Kinnear, Manager, Northern Climate ExChange.

In partnership with Yukon Highways and Public Works, NCE will undergo a preliminary permafrost assessment, conduct detailed permafrost characterizations, develop risk assessments for buildings, and provide guidelines and best practices for Ross River and other northern jurisdictions. An advisory committee for this project has already been established and is made up of experts from across Canada.

“Property Management Division is monitoring and managing the effects of permafrost changes in Ross River and is pleased to partner with NCE and NRCan to proactively safeguard enduring infrastructure in the community” said Cynthia Tucker, Assistant Deputy Minister for Highways and Public Works, Government of Yukon.

This project will assess infrastructure that is the managed building stock of the Property Management Division of Yukon Government, with a focus on infrastructure in the village core.

The field season will begin this July with researchers establishing temperature sensors in boreholes that will be monitored by YG for years to come. The project will be completed in December 2015 with a publication of the results.

The Northern Climate ExChange is one of seven key programs at the Yukon Research Centre (YRC). The other six include: Biodiversity Monitoring, Cold Climate Innovation, NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Mine Life Cycle, Technology Innovation, Science Adventures, and Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic. Core funding for the Yukon Research Centre is provided by Yukon Education and Yukon Economic Development.