Biological feedbacks to permafrost thaw

Name of project lead: W. Quinton

Project team/partners: For each collaborator please specify: Team member name, role, organization and contact information 
J. Baltzer, J. Pomeroy.

Status: In Progress

Location: Scotty Creek

Year and month project started: 2013

Anticipated completion year of project? 2015

Executive year of project (example, year 1 or 2 or 3…) 1

Brief project description: (objectives and rationale)

The role that trees and their root networks play in permafrost thaw will be the focus of this research project. Preliminary field measurements indicate that solar heating of stems can raise canopy temperatures more than 30 deg. C above ambient air temperature. Since there is an established relationship between root and soil energy transfer, the energy balance from trees to the ground is a new area of study that could change how the overall energy budget over permafrost plateaus is represented and simulated, and help to gain better understanding of the factors controlling the rate and pattern of permafrost thaw. This study will examine the effect thermal energy transfer from black spruce has on the active layer and permafrost.


Significance of the results (rationale): / project linkages

What are the key contributions to science/our knowledge base of northern environments This research is needed to improve the understanding of ground thaw processes so that they can be numerically described with greater certainty.

What are the key contributions to cumulative effects monitoring in the NWT?

What is the relevance to decision-makers?

Which decision-makers will likely be impacted by / interested in results?

What is the relevance to communities?

What are the project milestones? (including beginning date and anticipated end-date)

Key deliverables and reporting: Link to needs of NWT

Describe how results of the project were reported or will be reported to communities and other stakeholder groups.

For each key output identified, please specify the specific intended user(s)

For each key output, please identify the significance

For each key output, please explain where the output is available; please provide links where available.

Needed for development of improved predictive tools needed for water resources management

Engagement, training and capacity building

Please describe how stakeholders have been engaged (who, how and when)

Please specify any opportunities for training and/or employment that the project has incorporated to date

Please describe any specific knowledge / skills / capacity that has been developed in communities or organizations

Describe how Traditional Knowledge was or will be involved, if applicable

This project examines permafrost thaw-induced changes to ecosystems and how they feedback to influence the flow and storage of water. We have benefitted from community inputs indirectly through the ENR (e.g. S. Carrier’s research/monitoring/community activities), and directly through consultation with LKFN, Jean-Marie FN and Trout Lake FN. Meetings with communities are held informally at the band offices, and in more formal settings (e.g. AAROM Meeting, Kakisa, August, 2013)

Links to WSIPlan and NWT Science Agenda

Key to Success 2.1 H (Water Stewardship Strategy)
Enhance, where needed, the existing water quality and quantity monitoring network (surface and groundwater) in the NWT.
Key to Success 2.1 I (Water Stewardship Strategy)
Develop and implement collaborative research and monitoring programs for environmental stressors that can contribute to cumulative effects on NWT watersheds.

Key project tasks for next year (work plan pieces – research)

Key project tasks for next year (work plan pieces – engagement, training and capacity building)

Published Papers