Active Layer Monitoring Network in the Mackenzie Valley

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region

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

Principal Investigator: Nixon, Frederick M (3)
Licence Number: 13782
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada, NRCan
Licensed Year(s): 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990
Issued: May 31, 2005

Project Description: This ongoing survey examines permafrost so as to better understand how the active layer varies locally and regionally and how it will respond to environmental change, including but not restricted to climate change. The research team will survey from Fort Simpson to the Arctic Coast in July and August. Commercial contractors may take measurements in August or September near Inuvik and Norman Wells as part of an international program.

The researchers will be based in Inuvik, Norman Wells, and Fort Simpson. Travel will be by road, and small boat on the river, and helicopter from Inuvik. Access to the sites is always on foot from road or river. This year is the fifteenth annual survey of a network of thaw depth measuring devices (thaw tubes) and temperature data loggers along a transect extending from Fort Simpson to Tuktoyaktuk. The tubes consist of small diameter (2.5 cm) water-filled pipes anchored at 4 m depth and protruding about 30 cm above the surface that record the maximum annual thaw depth at a site. Temperature loggers are installed in small screens above ground and buried just below the surface. 10 m ground temperature cables have been installed at a few sites to supplement the above instrumentation. A series of annual readings over a number of years will show whether there is a change in thaw depth at a site and its relation to temperature conditions. The researcher hires local guides, students and contractors, and makes use of services and equipment available in the communities. Reports and published results are provided to the communities.
The study will be conducted at 60 sites from Fort Simpson to Tuktoyaktuk (coordinates are on file).