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TitleGround temperatures and spatial permafrost conditions in Iqaluit, Baffin Island, Nunavut
AuthorLeBlanc, A M; Oldenborger, G A; Short, N; Sladen, W E; Allard, M; Mathon,
SourceSummary of Activities 2015; Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office, Summary of Activities 2016 p. 161-170
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20150333
File formatpdf
NTS25N/09; 25N/10; 25N/15; 25N/16
AreaBaffin Island
Lat/Long WENS -69.0000 -68.0000 64.0000 63.5000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; hydrogeology; soils science; regional geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; permafrost; soils; groundwater; ground temperatures; geothermal temperatures; groundwater temperatures; economics
Illustrationslocation map; temperature graphs; photographs
ProgramLand-based Infrastructure, Climate Change Geoscience
AbstractIqaluit is an important city for the economic development of the territory. However, until recently, only sparse data and knowledge on the permafrost conditions in Iqaluit were publicly available. To support informed decision-making and the development of adaptation strategies to cope with the impacts of climate change, a joint study between the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office, Natural Resources Canada and Université Laval/Centre d'études nordiques on the permafrost conditions in Iqaluit was launched in 2010. Results from the multidisciplinary study indicate that the permafrost conditions in Iqaluit, such as ice-rich soils, are highly variable spatially and in depth. Ground temperatures at three current monitoring sites (2010-2015) and one old site (1988-2004) show that permafrost at depths has warmed with likely a thickening of the active layer since the first monitoring in Iqaluit was established in 1988. The warming is about 3.7°C at 5 m depth whereas the active layer is likely thicker by about 30 cm. Thick snow cover has also a major influence on the thermal regime of permafrost; increasing the ground temperature at 10 m depth by at least 2°C.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Between 2010 and 2015, a multidisciplinary study on permafrost conditions in Iqaluit was conducted in order to support informed decision-making and the development of adaptation strategies to cope with the impacts of climate change. This paper summarizes the more important publications that resulted from the study, and discusses the thermal regime of permafrost at three monitoring sites in Iqaluit, data which had not been previously published. The results point to the fact that permafrost conditions in Iqaluit are highly variable spatially. Our findings can be used to identify areas of ice-rich permafrost and other ground that might be problematic for development. Our investigations also showed that permafrost has warmed at depth and that the thickness of the active layer has likely increased since monitoring was first established in Iqaluit in 1988. Urban development of Iqaluit, homeowner's practices for houses in Nunavut, and the rehabilitation of the Iqaluit International Airport are known examples where our results have played a role in decision-making.