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TitleChapter 7. The impact of climate change on infrastructure in the western and central Canadian Arctic
AuthorLamoureux, S; Forbes, D L; Bell, T; Manson, G K; Rudy, A; Lalonde, J; Brown, M; Smith, I R; James, T S; Couture, N J; Whalen, D J R; Fraser, P R
SourceFrom science to policy in the Western and Central Canadian Arctic: an Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of Climate Change and Modernization; by Stern, G; Gaden, A; 2015 p. 301-341
LinksOnline - En ligne
Year2015
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140541
PublisherUniversity of Manitoba & ArcticNet (Winnipeg/Quebec)
Documentbook
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNunavut; Northwest Territories; Yukon
NTS117; 107; 97; 87; 77; 67; 98; 88; 78
Lat/Long WENS-142.0000 -96.0000 78.0000 66.0000
Subjectsclimate effects; climate, arctic; permafrost; coastal erosion; coastal environment; subsidence; sea ice; erosional features; soil properties; soil moisture; sea level fluctuations; health hazards; Inuvialuit Settlement Region; infrastructure safety; hydrology
Illustrationsphotographs; graphs; location maps; diagrams
ProgramCoastal Infrastructure, Climate Change Geoscience
AbstractThe stability and safety of infrastructure in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Yukon North Slope and Northwest Territories) and the Kitikmeot region (Nunavut) are of central concern to residents, governments, and industry. Infrastructure sensitivity occurs through climate-induced change in three key areas: permafrost, hydrology and coastal conditions. Permafrost (ground at or below 0°C for two years or more) is especially susceptible to changing climate, particularly where near-surface excess ice occurs. Melting of ice and associated thaw subsidence may induce instability of various infrastructure components. Additionally, land-use changes may alter drainage patterns, with effects on infrastructure that can range from expensive repairs to failure. Hydrological changes will alter seasonal flow peaks and stress drainage infrastructure. In the coastal sector, decreased sea ice has already resulted in increased wave activity. Rising temperatures and storm waves influence coastal retreat, particularly where erosion exposes massive ground ice and the combined effects of thermal and mechanical erosion occur. Projected changes in relative sea level (RSL) in the western part of the region may increase the impact of wave erosion and thermal abrasion on coastal retreat and infrastructure. Sea level is already rising in most Inuvialuit communities and a switch from falling to rising RSL in the Kitikmeot region may increase coastal hazards there. Rising sea levels lead to higher storm-surge flooding, more frequent exceedance of historical flood levels, inundation of low-lying land, and higher wave action on eroding shores. Accelerated coastal retreat has been documented on parts of the Alaska North Slope but the evidence in our region remains unclear. Knowledge about the presence of ground ice and thaw-sensitive terrain, hydrological trends, sea-level rise, and coastal processes and hazards will provide the means to design appropriate infrastructure and minimize potential risk. New planning and design standards are emerging to help local decision makers improve the resilience of infrastructure, and educational initiatives are seeking to improve community knowledge of risks to infrastructure and other community assets.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The stability and safety of infrastructure in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (YK and NT) and the Kitikmeot region (NU) are of central concern to residents, governments, and industry. Permafrost is susceptible to changing climate, particularly where near-surface excess ice occurs, leading to thaw subsidence and instability of infrastructure foundations. Hydrological changes alter the timing and magnitude of flow and stress drainage infrastructure. In the coastal sector, decreased sea ice has already resulted in increased wave activity. Rising temperatures and storm waves influence coastal retreat. Projected changes in relative sea level (RSL) in the western part of the region may increase the impact of wave erosion and thermal abrasion on coastal retreat and infrastructure. There is emerging evidence for accelerated coastal retreat in the Canadian Beaufort Sea.
GEOSCAN ID296170