Influence of Mackenzie Delta Channel Thermal Regime on Permafrost

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, permafrost, prediction models, seasonal variation, thermal regime

Principal Investigator: Ensom, Timothy P (3)
Licence Number: 14635
Organization: Carleton University Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Licenced Year(s): 2010 2009
Issued: Feb 04, 2010

Objective(s): The purpose of this research is to measure the seasonal temperatures of streambeds at several sites in the Mackenzie delta and adjacent tundra uplands, and predict the implications of these temperature patterns for local permafrost conditions.

Project Description: The purpose of this research is to measure the seasonal temperatures of streambeds at several sites in the Mackenzie delta and adjacent tundra uplands, and predict the implications of these temperature patterns for local permafrost conditions. This project will seek to determine whether channel size and depth affect the annual thermal regime of the streambed, and will also use collected temperature data to test existing theories about how surface water bodies affect permafrost. Mackenzie Delta channel sites have been selected last season and will be revisited.

Field Methods

2.1 Ground Temperature
Temperature readings will be taken approximately every two weeks at each site. These readings will be taken in February 2010 (mid-winter) and again in mid-May 2010.

2.2 Channel Thermal Regime
Stored temperature recordings will be downloaded during the February field visit, and again in May when the apparatus will be removed prior to channel ice breakup.

2.3 Analysis Methods
Average annual stream and channel bed temperature will be determined from measurements obtained at each site. These averages will be used to estimate the depth to permafrost beneath the channels. Ground temperature measurements will also be compared with estimates made of ground temperature using channel water temperature. The measured ground temperature will therefore help improve existing ground temperature models.

Research results will be shared with any interested community organizations’ members.

All interested parties will be provided with a report and/or copy of the researcher’s Master’s thesis. The researcher plans to communicate with community members while conducting research, and would be pleased to make presentations of results to interested groups during subsequent visits to the region.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted in February 2010 and from June 1 to July 10, 2010, at channel sites in the eastern Mackenzie delta and at stream sites on adjacent tundra uplands near Inuvik, NWT.