Determination of near-surface permafrost extent in the Mackenzie Delta

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, permafrost, remote sensing, permafrost mapping

Principal Investigator: Nguyen, Thai-Nguyen (2)
Licence Number: 13992
Organization: Carleton University
Licensed Year(s): 2006 2005
Issued: Jun 05, 2006
Project Team: Julian Kanigan (Assistant, Carleton University), Douglas Esagok (Assistant, Inuvik HTC), Les Kutny (Assistant, Inuvik), Willy Simon (Assistant, Inuvik HTC)

Project Description: The climate and numerous field reports indicate that permafrost should be continuous in the Mackenzie Delta. However, the most recent permafrost map in the Atlas of Canada classifies the delta as having discontinuous permafrost. Yet, no extensive fieldwork covering the entire delta has ever been realized. Unfrozen conditions beneath the ground, near shifting channels, have been recognized by various authors, and the absence of permafrost seems to occur because of the slow thermal recovery of these new land surfaces combined with the insulating effects of deep snow blown by wind off the channels and trapped in vegetation.

The objectives of this research are to determine the proportion of the delta underlain by near-surface permafrost and to establish the applicability of remote-sensing in permafrost mapping in the Mackenzie Delta. In the summer, fieldwork will concentrate on probing for the presence of permafrost at sites representing different terrain types identified previously through satellite imagery. Instrumentation will consist of a metal rod or water-jet drilling with temperature probes. Field sites will be reached by boat, aircraft, or foot.

The findings of the research will be shared with the community organizations through presentations, reports and publications.
The study will be conducted from June 15 to August 31 at the following locations: Taglu (69° 22´ 134° 57´), Reindeer Station (68 °41´ 134° 11´), and Rengleng River (67° 52’ N 134° 45’ W).