Active Layer Monitoring Network in the Mackenzie Valley

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region

Tags: physical sciences, active layer, ground temperature, permafrost, soil, climate change, environmental change

Principal Investigator: Nixon, Mark (15)
Licence Number: 13589
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990
Issued: Apr 21, 2004
Project Team: Caroline D

Objective(s): One feature of permafrost that has responded significantly to past climate change is thickness of the active layer. The active layer, overlying permafrost, is earth material that thaws from the surface and refreezes each year. It forms the interface between permafrost and the atmosphere and biosphere, including many human activities. Active layer thickness influences vegetation and soil conditions, thereby influencing hunting, gathering, forestry and agriculture. Thickness, texture and moisture content of the active layer affects foundation conditions for transportation and construction. Changes in the active layer and thaw penetration can contribute to slope instability with impacts on transportation facilities and other structures. It is important to understand how the active layer varies locally and regionally and how it will respond to environmental change, including but not restricted to climate change. This year will be the fourteenth annual survey of maximum annual thaw depth and temperature from sites along a transect extending from Fort Simpson to Tuktoyaktuk.