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TitleCompilation of ground temperature records in the Northwest Territories, Canada
AuthorKarunaratne, K; Kokelj, S; Morse, PORCID logo; Smith, SORCID logo; Wolfe, SORCID logo; Palmer, M; Gruber, S; Hoeve, E; Lantz, T
SourceXI. International Conference on Permafrost: exploring permafrost in a future Earth, book of asbtacts; by Günther, F (ed.); Morgenstern, A (ed.); 2016 p. 438-439,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20160068
PublisherAlfred Wegner Institute
PublisherCentre for Polar and Marine Research
PublisherInternational Permafrost Association
Meeting11th International Conference on Permafrost; Potsdam; DE; June 20-24, 2016
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf (Adobe® Reader®)
ProvinceNorthwest Territories
NTS65D; 65E; 65L; 65M; 66D; 75; 76A; 76B; 76C; 76D; 76E; 76F; 77F; 77G; 78B; 78C; 78F; 78G; 79B; 79C; 79F; 85; 86A; 86B; 86C; 86D; 86E; 86F; 86G; 86H; 86J; 86K; 86L; 86M; 86N; 87C; 87E; 87F; 87G; 87H; 88; 89; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 105I; 105O; 105P; 106A; 106B; 106C; 106F; 106G; 106H; 106I; 106J; 106K; 106M; 106N; 106O; 106P; 107; 116P; 117A; 117D
Lat/Long WENS-136.5000 -102.0000 90.0000 60.0000
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; permafrost; ground ice; ground temperatures; thermal regimes; climate; data collections; Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost (GTN-P); Climate change; Databases; Standards; Metadata; Templates; Information management; Accessibility
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience Land-based Infrastructure
Released2016 06 01
AbstractKnowledge of the ground thermal regime is an essential component of permafrost research, environmental monitoring, resource development projects, and infrastructure design and performance monitoring. In the Canadian North, these various needs drive the collection of ground temperature data including government and academic monitoring and research, regulatory monitoring, and industry-supported infrastructure related projects. Research and monitoring programs typically summarize the ground thermal regime in academic publications. Ground temperatures collected for infrastructure purposes are often summarized in design or maintenance reports. Regulatory monitoring data typically accompanies obligatory reporting to regulatory authorities. However, the actual temperature data used in research and monitoring, and contract reports usually reside with the research institute, government agency or private industry consultant that collected the data, and are typically not retained by institutions that are best suited to manage and archive temperature data and records, such as the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, or Geological Survey of Canada. As ground temperature data are expensive to collect, especially in remote areas, and because access to historical ground temperature data is of great value to the research community, project proponents and government, it is beneficial to organize and host these data so that it can be efficiently accessed for use in future projects for the Government of the Northwest Territories, the wider research community, industry and other users. This presentation describes our initiative to standardize and compile the metadata for the Northwest Territories' ground temperature records, so that this information can be made accessible to meet the diverse needs of potential users.
The first step towards compiling and housing ground temperature records in a database has been to establish a metadata reporting template so that information is described in a common format. Although the majority of ground temperature records are accompanied by some form of metadata, the nature of the documented supporting information varies widely depending on the purpose of data collection. Engineers and environmental scientists collecting permafrost ground temperature information may be interested in different metadata, and they may have different reporting standards and varying terminology because the information is collected for different purposes. For example, site vegetation descriptions can range from a few sentences for geotechnical investigations to detailed species inventories for research on climate-permafrost relations. The metadata standard that has been developed for the Northwest Territories builds on other initiatives such as the Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost - GTN-P database (Biskaborn et al. 2015), and was revised based on feedback received from: permafrost researchers, thermal modellers, geotechnical engineers; public and private sector geologists; and civil servants (federal, territorial and municipal) involved with infrastructure performance monitoring. Our team has produced a metadata template that is divided into seven sections: (1) Project details; (2) Location of ground temperature measurements; (3) Installation of ground temperature cable; (4) Ground temperature record; (5) Site conditions; (6) Permafrost conditions; and (7) Related publications and data (Karunaratne et al. 2015).
Now that the metadata template is finalized, several tasks will be undertaken. First, a data management plan will be developed. Second, existing ground temperature datasets collected by the Northwest Territories Geological Survey and their collaborators will be published as NWT Open Reports so that this information can be readily accessed. Third, we will identify all historical and ongoing ground temperature data collections and archive the metadata for these records. Fourth, we will work with other departments in the Government of the Northwest Territories and northern agencies to develop strategies that leverage ground temperature data and make it accessible through this data management system. Finally, we will work with our research partners to produce an empirically-based map of ground temperatures for the Northwest Territories and synthesize patterns across a range of spatial and temporal scales.
The compilation of ground temperature records in the Northwest Territories will have multiple benefits. Evidence-based decision-making in the territory will be better supported because ground temperature data will be readily available to those involved with land use planning and infrastructure development. Future permafrost monitoring initiatives will benefit from readily accessible information on where ground temperatures have been measured, the nature of the data (sensor depth, measurement frequency, and record duration) and its availability. International permafrost research will be enhanced as scientists will have access to NWT ground temperature data that will be made available to GTN-P. Finally, other jurisdictions, such as Nunavut, who are interested in organizing, managing and disseminating ground temperature data can modify this approach to meet their needs and circumstances.
Biskaborn, B.K., Lanckman, J.P., Lantuit, H., Elger, K., Dmitry, S., William, C. and Vladimir, R. (2015) The new database of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) , Earth System Science Data, 7 , pp. 245-259 . doi: 10.5194/essd-7-245-2015.
Karunaratne, K.C., Kokelj, S.V., Palmer, M.J., Wolfe, S.A., Gruber, S. (2015). Metadata template for ground temperature records in the Northwest Territories. In GEOQuébec 2015: Challenges from North to South / 7th Canadian Conference on Permafrost, 20-23 September 2015, Quebec City, QC.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Ground temperature data is essential to permafrost research, environmental monitoring, resource development projects, infrastructure design, and performance monitoring. However, much of the data from the Canadian North usually reside with the research institutes, government agencies or private industry consultants, and such data are not retained by the Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS), or Geological Survey of Canada (GSC). As these data are important and expensive to collect, it is beneficial to organize and host these data for future use. Compiling attribute information about the data collected from these multiple sources can be problematic as standardized protocols for metadata do not exist. Building on a developed metadata template, a data management plan will be developed, existing NTGS and GSC ground temperature datasets collected and published, their metadata described and archived, and these activities will be used to leverage data from external sources.

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