Studies of greenhouse gas release and environmental processes associated with thawing permafrost in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: mercury, permafrost, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, lake chemistry

Principal Investigator: Dallimore, Scott R (20)
Licence Number: 17074
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada
Licensed Year(s): 2022 2021
Issued: Jun 28, 2022
Project Team: Jenn Parrott, Peter Morse, Roger MacLeod, Jacqueline Goordial, Laura Lapham

Objective(s): To assess greenhouse gas (methane and carbon dioxide) release from warming permafrost and tundra lakes in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and to study associated carbon dynamics and microbiological processes, including the release of mercury to the environment.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5314.

The goals of this multi-year-long project are to assess greenhouse gas (methane and carbon dioxide) release from warming permafrost and tundra lakes in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) and to study associated carbon dynamics and microbiological processes, including the release of mercury to the environment.

The first year of field activities are planned for August 8-22, 2021 and will be based out of Inuvik with day trips to the study sites. All sites are on Crown Land in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Instruments that will be retrieved were deployed under GNWT Science License 16066.

Inuvik Lakes (situated on Mackenzie R. delta plain): Access to study site will be by boat supplied by the Aurora Research Institute. The team will retrieve a water sampler deployed in summer 2018. Water sampling (~20 L) is for measurements of lake chemistry. Approximately 3 shallow (2 m length, 10 cm diameter) permafrost cores will be taken at selected locations.

Unnamed Lake (situated in outer Mackenzie R. delta plain): Access to study sites will be by helicopter (with support from the Polar Continental Shelf Project). The team will retrieve a water sampler deployed in summer 2018. Water sampling (~20 L) is for measurement of lake chemistry. Redeployment of the new water sampler will be done. Collections of air samples in area for methane analyses will also be taken.

Niglintgak Slump (situated on glacial till): Access to study sites will be by helicopter (with support from the Polar Continental Shelf Project). Collection of small permafrost samples with a small portable hand drill or by excavating samples from naturally eroding permafrost sections. This site is within the Kendall Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary (KIBS) and a KIBS permit will be obtained. Collections of air samples in area for methane analyses will be taken. Approximately 3 shallow (2 m length, 10 cm diameter) permafrost cores at selected locations.

North Head Lake (lacustrine plain): Access to study sites will be by helicopter (with support from the Polar Continental Shelf Project). Water sampling (~20 L) is for measurement of lake chemistry. The team will deploy a new water sampler. Collections of air samples in area for methane analyses will be taken; Approximately 3 shallow (2 m length, 10 cm diameter) permafrost cores at selected locations

Communications with the Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk Hunters and Trappers Committees (HTCs) are ongoing. A field report and copies of all scientific contributions (scientific papers, maps, and databases) will be provided to the communities in the ISR through their HTC and through the Aurora Research Institute (ARI). As this research will be co-led by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the hope is that the team will be able to disseminate the findings more directly to communities using their established networks and outreach strategies.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 18, 2022 to August 31, 2022