Permafrost Information Hub

Main Project Contact:

Alice Wilson

Project Start Date:

May 2019

Project End Date:


Project Name:

Permafrost Information Hub

ARI Team:

Joel McAlister

Edwin Amos

Ryan McLeod

Greg Elias

Kathryn Barr

Celtie Ferguson


Permafrost provides a foundation for northern ecosystems, infrastructure and communities. Permafrost conditions are inextricably linked to climate, so information on permafrost is now increasingly critical for environmental monitoring and research, assessing effects of climate change and for planning and managing resilient infrastructure and communities. The overall goal of the Permafrost Information Hub is to improve collaboration and information sharing between permafrost researchers and northern stakeholders, conduct northern relevant research projects, and increase capacity for permafrost research.


The permafrost data consolidation will be along Dempster- Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH) corridor. Field work and research sites are located near the Dempster and ITH from the border to Tuktoyaktuk. Snow manipulation locations are paired with established permafrost monitoring sites located along the ITH.


  • To improve collaboration, knowledge transfer and communication we will work with local organization to increase community-based permafrost research and monitoring. This includes working with the Inuvialuit Land Administration (ILA) environmental monitors in the creation of standard monitoring protocols. We will also conduct community presentations and discussions throughout the Mackenzie Delta region on ongoing projects.
  • To create a permafrost information hub we will create a set of long-term permafrost monitoring sites along the Dempster- ITH corridor that will be maintained and downloaded yearly. In collaboration with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey a standardized ground temperature reporting template will be created and tested and Dempster-ITH ground temperature data sets will be compiled for input into the standardized ground temperature database.
  • To design and test new tools for monitoring and mitigating we are testing out different drilling systems, working with various ground temperature sensors, and exploring the use of UAV surveys. We are supplying in-kind service to support community-driven research at the Igloo Church to better mitigate and adapt to permafrost degradation.
  • To determine whether manipulating can preserve permafrost we have established 6 snow manipulation sites along the ITH. These locations are paired with established permafrost monitoring sites and have been instrumented with ground temperature sensors. Working with local industry snow compactions will be conducted several times throughout two winters.


  • A permafrost monitoring workshop was held with ILA environmental monitors from Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, and Aklavik in September 2019 and a workshop with monitors from all of the ISR communities will be held in January 2020 to discuss creating a standard permafrost monitoring template. Presentations to the local hunter and trapper committees and renewable resource boards will be done yearly. Currently exploring collaboration on a national platform with the Canadian Permafrost Association and PermafrostNet.
  • The ground temperature database is currently being built, with a meeting to be held in Inuvik in January 2020 to discuss specific needs with stakeholders.
  • A new drilling system was purchased in the summer of 2019 and used to install ground sensors and will be tested for permafrost core extraction. Two forms of ground temperature loggers were installed in August and September 2019 and will be downloaded every year. Temperature loggers were installed in the Igloo church in August 2019 and will be downloaded every few months. The church basement will be surveyed monthly to investigate any heave and/or subsidence of the permafrost.
  • Ground temperature sensors were installed in the summer of 2019 at the snow manipulation sites. Vegetation surveys of the sites were done in August 2019 and will be repeated each year. Snow compactions will be conducted in the winters of 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.

External Partners:

Steve Kokelj, NTGS - ARI Research Associate

Ashley Rudy, NTGS

Tim Ensom, Wilfrid Laurier University

Chris Burn, Carleton University - ARI Research Associate

Charles Klengenberg and environmental monitors, ILA


We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Start Date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019