Permafrost Change and Impacts on Infrastructure and Resources in Alaska: A Synthesis of Past Work

Aug 2016 to Jul 2018

Permafrost, or ground that remains frozen for two or more consecutive years, is found across approximately 80% of Alaska. Rising temperatures and changes in the fire regime are already causing significant thawing of permafrost, leading to impacts such as erosion, landslides, changes in plant growth, and damage to roads and infrastructure. Over the course of the past six years, the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (AK CASC) and its partners at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) have developed an extensive suite of research related to the impacts of changing climate on permafrost within the Alaska region. This body of AK CASC sponsored research complements a variety of previous and ongoing efforts based at the UAF that are aimed at understanding linkages among temperature increase, permafrost degradation, and thermokarst formation and erosion. Given the mission of the AK CASC to inform resource management, adaptation and planning, there is a critical need to translate these scientific findings into products, resources and services that can be useful to decision makers.  As a result, the AK CASC is partnering with UAF to hire a new post-doctoral Fellow that will be tasked with the development and dissemination of synthesis products related to permafrost research in recent years.