Permafrost And Infrastructure - Building Blocks

Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

How is permafrost degradation affecting infrastructure?

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8
Year Authors Type Title
2017 Mohammed, A A; Schincariol, R A; Quinton, W L; Nagare, R M; Flerchinger, G N Journal Article On the use of mulching to mitigate permafrost thaw due to linear disturbances in sub-arctic peatlands

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: On the use of mulching to mitigate permafrost thaw due to linear disturbances in sub-arctic peatlands

Authors: Mohammed, A A; Schincariol, R A; Quinton, W L; Nagare, R M; Flerchinger, G N

Year: 2017

Periodical: Ecological Engineering

Volume: 102

Pages: 207-223

Abstract: The presence or absence of permafrost strongly influences the hydrology and ecology of northern watersheds. Resource exploration activities are currently having profound effects on hydrological and ecological processes in sub-arctic peatlands. In wetland-dominated zones of discontinuous permafrost, permafrost occurs below tree-covered peat plateaus where the tree-canopy and vadose zone act to insulate and preserve permafrost below. Linear disturbances such as seismic lines result in removal of the canopy, and cause permafrost thaw, which results in increased soil moisture, land subsidence, and deforestation. This contributes to land-cover transformation, habitat and vegetation loss, and changes to basin hydrologic cycles. The resultant permafrost-degraded corridors comprise large portions of the drainage density of sub-arctic basins, and alter the region's water and energy balances. Mulching over disturbances, with the removed tree canopy, has been proposed as a best management practice to help reduce this environmental impact. Here we present climate chamber and numerical modeling results which quantify the effects of mulching and its ability to limit permafrost thaw and alterations to the ground thermal regime. Overall, the thermal buffering ability of the mulch had beneficial effects on slowing thaw, due to its low thermal conductivity, which decouples the subsurface from meteorological forcing and impedes heat conduction. Results indicate that mulching is an effective technique to reduce permafrost thaw and provides a scientific basis to assess the mitigation measure on its ability to slow permafrost degradation. This study will provide guidance as to how northern exploration may be performed in a more environmentally sustainable manner. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

URL: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85013774482&doi=10.1016/j.ec...

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.02.020


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

2016 Trochim, E.D.; Schnabel, W.E.; Kanevskiy, M.; Munk, J.; Shur, Y. Journal Article Geophysical and cryostratigraphic investigations for road design in northern Alaska

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: Geophysical and cryostratigraphic investigations for road design in northern Alaska

Authors: Trochim, E.D.; Schnabel, W.E.; Kanevskiy, M.; Munk, J.; Shur, Y.

Year: 2016

Periodical: Cold Regions Science and Technology

Volume: 131

Issue: November

Pages: 24-38

Abstract: This study used combined geophysical and cryostratigraphic methods for permafrost characterization in Arctic road design and engineering. Two major study areas located in the continuous permafrost zone represented a range of terrain conditions including yedoma (syngenetically frozen ice-rich silts with large ice wedges) plateaus and hills, thaw-lake basins, river terraces, and modern floodplains. Direct-current resistivity - electrical resistivity tomography (DCR-ERT) using a Wenner array was applied over transects. Complementary site data including the results of drilling and active layer depths measurements were also obtained. The boreholes provided cryostratigraphic information on soil texture, cryostructures, ground ice, and gravimetric moisture content of frozen soils. The resistivity data supported evaluation of the presence/absence of permafrost; location and depth of the active and intermediate layers; and in some conditions changes in ice content. In contrast, the cryostratigraphic interpretation generally offered more nuanced analysis of the subsurface, but was limited in its ability to detect unconformities and the depth of drilling. Both techniques were enhanced by the availability of high-resolution geospatial information and can be used to optimize the location and density of the boreholes for road construction.

URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165232X16301665?via%3Dihub

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2016.08.004


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

2016 Darrow, Margaret M.; Gyswyt, Nora L.; Simpson, Jocelyn M.; Daanen, Ronald P.; Hubbard, Trent D. Journal Article Frozen debris lobe morphology and movement: An overview of eight dynamic features, southern Brooks Range, Alaska

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: Frozen debris lobe morphology and movement: An overview of eight dynamic features, southern Brooks Range, Alaska

Authors: Darrow, Margaret M.; Gyswyt, Nora L.; Simpson, Jocelyn M.; Daanen, Ronald P.; Hubbard, Trent D.

Year: 2016

Periodical: Cryosphere

Volume: 10

Issue: 3

Pages: 977-993

Abstract: Frozen debris lobes (FDLs) are elongated, lobate permafrost features, many of which are present within the Brooks Range of Alaska. We present a comprehensive overview of eight FDLs within the Dalton Highway corridor, including their catchment geology and rock strengths, lobe soil characteristics, surface movement measurements collected between 2012 and 2015, and analysis of hist oric and modern imagery from 1955 to 2014. Field mapping and rock strength data indicate that the metasedimentary and metavolcanic bedrock forming the majority of the lobe catchments has very low to medium strength and is heavily fractured, thus easily contributing to FDL formation. The eight investigated FDLs consist of platy rocks typical of their catchments, organic debr is, and an ice-poor soil matrix; massive ice, however, is present within FDLs as infiltration ice, concentrated within cracks open to the surface. Exposure of infiltration ice in retrogressive thaw slumps (RTSs) and associated debris flows lead to increased movement and various stages of destabilization, resulting in morphological differences among the lobes. Analysis of historic imagery indicates that movement of the eight investigated FDLs has been asynchronous over the study period. Since 1955, six of the eight investigated lobes demonstrated an increase in movement rates. The formation of surface features, such as cracks, scarps, and RTSs, suggest that the increased movement rates correlate to general instability, and even at their current distances, FDLs are impacting infrastructure through increased sediment mobilization. FDL-A is the largest of the investigated FDLs. As of August 2015, FDL-A was 39.2 m from the toe of the Dalton Highway embankment. Based on its current distance and rate of movement, we predict that FDL-A will reach the current Dalton Highway alignment by 2023.

URL: http://www.the-cryosphere.net/10/977/2016/

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-977-2016


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

2016 Perreault, P; Shur, Y Journal Article Seasonal thermal insulation to mitigate climate change impacts on foundations in permafrost regions

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: Seasonal thermal insulation to mitigate climate change impacts on foundations in permafrost regions

Authors: Perreault, P; Shur, Y

Year: 2016

Periodical: Cold Regions Science and Technology

Volume: 132

Pages: 7-18

Abstract: Climate change impact on existing infrastructure built on permafrost is of concern to many engineers and scientists. Some studies predict widespread collapse of the existing infrastructure. Adapting structures in the permafrost region to climate change is an important contemporary issue. In this paper, we analyze impacts of permanent and seasonal thermal insulation on permafrost temperature. An analysis of the available data shows that permanent thermal insulation increases the permafrost temperature when the soil surface is exposed to seasonal air temperature variations and when the mean annual soil surface temperature is below 0 °C (32 °F). We study the thermal impact of seasonal insulation applied in the spring and removed in the autumn to restrict summer heat flow into the ground. The absence of thermal insulation in winter permits soil cooling. We present the results from two-dimensional thermal analyses of a building in the discontinuous permafrost zone. These results show the effectiveness of seasonal thermal insulation. Summer seasonal thermal insulation on the soil surface in a ventilated crawl space decreases permafrost temperature and can be valuable for increasing foundation integrity in a warming climate. The impact of seasonally installed thermal insulation on permafrost increases as the thawing index increases. Seasonal thermal insulation is especially valuable in the discontinuous permafrost zone, where bearing capacity of shallow foundations and adfreeze strength of frozen soil with piles are sensitive to minor soil temperature changes. The method is adaptive and flexible, and the initial cost is low, all of which are important considerations given the uncertainties of climate warming. Using seasonal insulation permits an incremental response to future climate warming conditions as they occur. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

URL: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84987950644&doi=10.1016/j.co...

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2016.09.008


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

2016 Instanes, Arne Journal Article Incorporating climate warming scenarios in coastal permafrost engineering design – Case studies from Svalbard and northwest Russia

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: Incorporating climate warming scenarios in coastal permafrost engineering design – Case studies from Svalbard and northwest Russia

Authors: Instanes, Arne

Year: 2016

Periodical: Cold Regions Science and Technology

Volume: 131

Pages: 76-87

Abstract: Climate change is predicted to strongly affect the evolution of the Arctic coast over the coming decades. The continuous warming trend observed in Svalbard and northwest Russia since the 1980s are creating concerns related to the stability and durability of existing infrastructure on permafrost and uncertainties related to the design of new structures and infrastructure in the region. An increase in ground temperatures may reduce the bearing capacity and increase settlement rates and subsidence of foundations, and stability of natural and engineered slopes. The effect of climate warming in permafrost regions may cause unacceptable risks according to existing engineering design criteria. A methodology is suggested where the output from climate models can be used as input to engineering models assessing change in the ground thermal regime at site specific locations in permafrost regions. The main objective has been to determine the computed warmest ground temperature occurring during the service life time of the structure, taking climate warming scenarios into consideration. This type of information can be used in coupled thermo-dynamic and mechanical models of the local geotechnical site conditions including structural elements such as foundations, port structures, transportation systems and pipelines. Site specific data from statistical downscaling of General Circulation Models (GCMs), and soil and permafrost data from research sites in Svalbard and northwest Russia has been used in a transient geothermal model to compute possible future ground temperatures in the areas. The results show that depending on the soil conditions and current permafrost temperatures, the sensitivity to climate warming vary from small or negligible to considerable. Further development of the methodology advocates a probabilistic approach.

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165232X1630180X

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2016.09.004


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

2014 Raynolds, M K; Walker, D A; Ambrosius, K J; Brown, J; Everett, K R; Kanevskiy, M; Kofinas, G P; Romanovsky, V E; Shur, Y; Webber, P J Journal Article Cumulative geoecological effects of 62 years of infrastructure and climate change in ice-rich permafrost landscapes, Prudhoe Bay Oilfield, Alaska

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: Cumulative geoecological effects of 62 years of infrastructure and climate change in ice-rich permafrost landscapes, Prudhoe Bay Oilfield, Alaska

Authors: Raynolds, M K; Walker, D A; Ambrosius, K J; Brown, J; Everett, K R; Kanevskiy, M; Kofinas, G P; Romanovsky, V E; Shur, Y; Webber, P J

Year: 2014

Periodical: Global Change Biology

Volume: 20

Issue: 4

Pages: 1211-1224

Abstract: Many areas of the Arctic are simultaneously affected by rapid climate change and rapid industrial development. These areas are likely to increase in number and size as sea ice melts and abundant Arctic natural resources become more accessible. Documenting the changes that have already occurred is essential to inform management approaches to minimize the impacts of future activities. Here, we determine the cumulative geoecological effects of 62 years (1949-2011) of infrastructure- and climate-related changes in the Prudhoe Bay Oilfield, the oldest and most extensive industrial complex in the Arctic, and an area with extensive ice-rich permafrost that is extraordinarily sensitive to climate change. We demonstrate that thermokarst has recently affected broad areas of the entire region, and that a sudden increase in the area affected began shortly after 1990 corresponding to a rapid rise in regional summer air temperatures and related permafrost temperatures. We also present a conceptual model that describes how infrastructure-related factors, including road dust and roadside flooding are contributing to more extensive thermokarst in areas adjacent to roads and gravel pads. We mapped the historical infrastructure changes for the Alaska North Slope oilfields for 10 dates from the initial oil discovery in 1968-2011. By 2010, over 34% of the intensively mapped area was affected by oil development. In addition, between 1990 and 2001, coincident with strong atmospheric warming during the 1990s, 19% of the remaining natural landscapes (excluding areas covered by infrastructure, lakes and river floodplains) exhibited expansion of thermokarst features resulting in more abundant small ponds, greater microrelief, more active lakeshore erosion and increased landscape and habitat heterogeneity. This transition to a new geoecological regime will have impacts to wildlife habitat, local residents and industry. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

URL: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84896718661&doi=10.1111/gcb....

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12500


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

2014 Stephani, Eva; Fortier, Daniel; Shur, Yuri; Fortier, Richard; Doré, Guy Journal Article A geosystems approach to permafrost investigations for engineering applications, an example from a road stabilization experiment, Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: A geosystems approach to permafrost investigations for engineering applications, an example from a road stabilization experiment, Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada

Authors: Stephani, Eva; Fortier, Daniel; Shur, Yuri; Fortier, Richard; Doré, Guy

Year: 2014

Periodical: Cold Regions Science and Technology

Volume: 100

Pages: 20-35

Abstract: The Alaska Highway crosses numerous terrain units underlined by warm and ice-rich discontinuous permafrost highly susceptible to thermal degradation. For years, this infrastructure, which is essential to transportation in northwestern Canada and Alaska, has been showing signs of road damage induced by permafrost degradation. In 2008, Yukon Highways and Public Works, and its international collaborators, implemented a road experimental site near Beaver Creek (Yukon) to test mitigation techniques aiming to control permafrost degradation. Permafrost investigations were done accordingly to a geosystem approach based on the hypothesis that permafrost has a distinctive sensitivity to climate and terrain conditions at a local scale and that changes (dynamics) in the system must be integrated in the analysis to obtain a holistic understanding of permafrost conditions and consequences of potential changes through time. Therefore, permafrost assessment at BC-RES came along with other components assessment such as local climate, natural terrain and embankment conditions. Four main units identified were typically ice-rich, with the exception of one shallow sub-unit (2B) that was ice-poor, but which contained the top of inactive ice-wedges, and Unit 3 at depth. The extent of the syngenetic ice wedges was not encountered, but reached at least a depth of 10.7 m. Units 1 and 2 (likely eolian periglacial deposits) were fine-grained soils characterized by a potential to liquefy, if soils thaw and maintain their natural moisture content, and to differential thaw-settlement. Unit 3 (likely interglacial deposit) was mainly made of peat, while Unit 4 (likely glacial deposit) was a diamicton with a fine-grained matrix containing abundant excess ice. Impact from road embankment was measured at many locations in permafrost below the infrastructure. Isothermal profile under the road and embankment subsidence, assessed from core-drilling combination with GPR and ground temperatures, reflected the thermal impact of embankment and its interaction with other geosystem components (e.g. snow, groundwater) on the underlying ice-rich cryostratigraphic units. Thaw depth below embankment sideslopes had mostly reached sub-unit 2B, exposing now excess ground ice from the underlying very ice-rich sub-unit 2C and ice wedge to melting. In this context, an increase in permafrost degradation is expected in the near future, regardless of the mitigation technique performance. Application of the geosystem approach for road infrastructure in permafrost regions was beneficial at the BC-RES to identify the comprehensive critical engineering conditions that should be considered at the infrastructure spatial scale for road sustainability through timescale of its life. This approach emphasized the importance of changes in properties and processes, including their variability and dynamic related to interactions within the system. Overall, engineering studies in permafrost regions, which are typically sensitive to changes in conditions, would clearly benefit from applications of the geosystem approach, which can be adapted to spatial and time scales of these studies.

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165232X1300205X

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2013.12.006


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

2013 Regehr, J D; Milligan, C A; Montufar, J; Alfaro, M Journal Article Review of effectiveness and costs of strategies to improve roadbed stability in permafrost regions

Resource


Type: Journal Article

Title: Review of effectiveness and costs of strategies to improve roadbed stability in permafrost regions

Authors: Regehr, J D; Milligan, C A; Montufar, J; Alfaro, M

Year: 2013

Periodical: Journal of Cold Regions Engineering

Volume: 27

Issue: 3

Pages: 109-131

Abstract: This paper reviews the effectiveness and costs of strategies to improve roadbed stability in permafrost regions, based on a synthesis of literature findings. Roadbeds in permafrost regions experience instability when the embankment loading and its heat absorption properties degrade the permafrost foundation. A variety of engineering strategies are used to mitigate this effect. The review summarizes the rationale, effectiveness, and costs of four types of strategies, namely those that control roadbed thawing, cool the roadbed, insulate the roadbed, and reduce roadbed fill weight. The literature reveals that strategies to control roadbed thawing, insulate the roadbed, or reduce roadbed fill weight do not reverse the long-term degradation of permafrost foundations. Strategies that cool the roadbed by implementing air convection embankments, ventilation ducts, thermosiphons, heat drains, or combinations of these are effective in reducing embankment temperatures and stabilizing the roadbed. Costs vary by geographic and climatic conditions and the proximity of materials to the construction site. Reported data suggest that conducting normal maintenance is less expensive than implementing roadbed cooling strategies, but maintaining serviceability may not be feasible. © 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.

URL: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84883266529&doi=10.1061/%28A...

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CR.1943-5495.0000054


Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts

Building Blocks - Technical studies that offer in-depth and foundational information about individual concepts