Five-year, $400,000 commitment will promote critical research and innovative solutions to address climate change challenges in Canada’s North
WHITEHORSE, YT, June 7, 2021— Yukon University has received a $400,000 donation from BMO Financial Group to support the establishment of a permafrost institute at the YukonU Research Centre (YRC). This five-year commitment enables continued innovation in YukonU’s permafrost research and contributes to the development of forward-thinking solutions to address the challenges permafrost thaw is bringing to Canada’s North.
Photo cred: nunataryuk.org The team starting their field work. From left to right: Andreas Richter, Peter Charlie, George Tanski, Louis-Philippe Roy, Jöelle Voglimacci-Stéphanopoli and Vincent Sasseville
Louis-Philippe Roy stands at the edge of the Arctic Ocean on the northernmost edge of Yukon, Canada. The untrained eye may see only an expanse of ice and snow, broken by a few muskoxen. Yet, Louis-Philippe knows the ground below him is unstable—thawing at an alarming rate. Where he stands, the coastline of Qikiqtaruk or Herschel Island, is falling into the sea. Permafrost, the frozen ground that has served as the island’s foundation for millennia is thawing, taking cultural history with it.
WHITEHORSE--Climate change affects the North more than any other part of Canada and threatens the efficiency, safety and reliability of northern transportation. Making our northern transportation system more resilient to the effects of climate is important given the key role transportation plays in the region’s social and economic development.
That is why the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon are investing in two important climate change adaptation research projects under the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative.
WHITEHORSE—Two permafrost core samples taken from alongside the Alaska Highway in Yukon will be part of a new Arctic gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
While permafrost cores have travelled south for research purposes many times, this will be the first time in Canada that permafrost cores will be publicly displayed in a museum.
“We wanted visitors to the Arctic gallery to learn about ways in which the changing climate is affecting Canada’s North and the risk to highways and buildings from thawing permafrost,” said Caroline Lanthier, Senior Content Developer for the Arctic gallery, Canadian Museum of Nature.
“The timing of the museum’s request was fortuitous as my colleague and I had been devising a way to display permafrost cores, both for research purposes and public viewing,” said Dr. Fabrice Calmels, permafrost researcher.
Permafrost researchers at the Northern Climate ExChange, of the Yukon Research Centre, have completed a study on the state of the permafrost under the North Alaska Highway. They have found that over eighty percent of the permafrost that lies beneath the highway between Burwash Landing and Beaver Creek is moderately or highly vulnerable to thaw in a changing climate. This research, conducted in partnership with Government of Yukon’s Highways and Public Works (HPW), will support highway maintenance and planning.
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.
WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Research Centre (YRC) is leading the Yukon in climate change hazards planning. Three more Yukon communities have partnered with the YRC to study the effects of climate change on their future planning and development.
The Ross River Dena Council, the Town of Faro, the City of Dawson and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in are partnering with the Northern Climate ExChange at the Yukon Research Centre, the Yukon Geological Survey and the universities of Ottawa and Montreal, to undertake a two-year landscape hazards mapping project in their communities.
“Climate change has the potential to impact our infrastructure and our economy and with limited information on landscape hazards, we are very keen to work with the YRC and create a tool for future planning,” said the Honourable Heather Campbell, Mayor, Town of Faro.