OCGC Seminar - Permafrost and the northern ways of life: fundamental approaches to practical issues


Dr. Fabrice Calmels 
Yukon Research Center/Northern Climate ExChange


Thursday, April 7th
11:30 a.m.  

Gamble Hall
Geological Survey of Canada
615 Booth Street  



The increasing awareness of climate change has created new interest in the study of permafrost. Many researches are motivated to better understand the impact of climate change on permafrost as well as the climate feedback processes; others have focused their efforts on studies to understand the impact of thawing permafrost on northern society and to develop adaptation strategies. The impacts of permafrost thaw are multi-faceted and potentially far-reaching.  A changing landscape will affect transportation infrastructure, buildings, industrial activities, health, food security, and traditional activities, to name a few.

This presentation will show how multi-disciplinary scientific approaches that integrate classical methodologies such as borehole investigation, cryostratigraphy, ground temperature monitoring, and air-photo analysis, with more innovative techniques such as tomodensitometry and electrical resistivity tomography can be used in order to map hazards and assess vulnerabilities at a variety of spatial scales. Examples will be shown for linear infrastructure, small building clusters, communities, and for the traditional territory for a First Nation. From the vulnerability assessments of the northern Alaska Highway, to various communities in Yukon and Nunavik, Northern Quebec, to the impacts on food security and mercury contamination in Jean Marie River First Nation, NWT, examples are presented to illustrate the variety of approaches, as well as the variety of problematics that can be explored using cross disciplinary approaches.