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Program / Module 1

Module 1 - Permafrost Dynamics in Natural and Engineered Environments

Module Leader: Michel Allard

Our work will determine the succession of thermo-dynamical processes in various geological and climatic settings that lead to permafrost thaw from climate forcing and terrain disturbance. We will address in the field and in the laboratory three aspects of permafrost degradation stimulated by water: 1- latent heat effects in warming permafrost, 2- conducto-convective heat transfers in the field and under man-made infrastructures, and 3- destructive thermo-erosion by streams. We will also pioneer new engineering approaches for built infrastructure by reevaluating the current methods to control the effects of snow and water accumulation in the vicinity of transportation and municipal infrastructures. These new engineering approaches shall give way to breakthroughs in permafrost engineering.

We will especially focus our research on the role of liquid water in permafrost terrain. Among other things, we will examine how soil apparent hydraulic conductivities increase at thawing boundaries and model the potential impacts of this process on rates and style of permafrost degradation.