Warming temperatures affect permafrost and have an impact on infrastructure. The NWT has been seeing evidence of these affects over the years, causing the ground to heave and slump in some areas, such as the Inuvik Airport Runway; damaging roads, bridges, and buildings. There are 2,200 km of all-weather roads and over 1,400 km of winter roads that connect 33 NWT communities and essential supply routes linking them to the rest of Canada.
Decision-makers from all three territories met in Yellowknife with permafrost researchers and other experts in November to share knowledge, network and explore ways to deal with climate change impacts on permafrost in Canada’s North. Attendees discussed what is being done and what can be done in the future.
The government is focusing on research and development to support new technologies and engineering solutions such as developing a project focused on the effects of permafrost on the new Dempster Inuvik-Tuktoyuktuk Highway corridor. An Online Mapping tool from the GNWT Spatial Data Warehouse maps disturbances and their densities. The Capital Asset Retrofit Fund is helping to reduce green house gas emissions, lessen the North’s environ mental footprint and reduce the cost of utilities. Ventilation and heating programs are using thermosters, thermo models and insulation to protect the infrastructure.
The workshop provided an opportunity to inform future infra structure planners and target appropriate mitigation measures. The event was co-sponsored by the governments of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut. The Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada Climate Change Adaptation Program and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency provided financial support.
For more information about climate change adaptation, permafrost and impacts on Northern communities, consult the Pan-Territorial Adaptation Strategy at www.anorthernvision.ca.