Dawson City spent more than $600,000 last year dealing with damage to roads and pipes caused by melting permafrost.

A recently-published report says the shifting ground, a result of climate change, can do a lot of damage to infrastructure such as water and sewer systems.

Evidence of melting permafrost in the central Yukon comes from Ottawa's Carleton University. The school's geography department has been studying the issue for 20 years.

Its research shows the ground temperature in and around Dawson is increasing dramatically. That melts the permafrost and destabilizes the ground supporting the critical infrastructure.

Northern Climate Exchange co-ordinator John Streiker says things will probably get worse for Dawson before they get better.

"All of your infrastructure, anything that's buried – foundations of buildings, even road beds, things like that – they all push up and down," says Streiker.

"If you get some areas freezing and some areas not then you get a differential, and you start to break things up, so it could be a big big issue for the municipality of Dawson."

Streiker says climate change requires a two-pronged approach.

"We have to stop putting out so many greenhouse gas emissions and that will help things in the long term," he says.

"In the immediate term we have to start looking at how to deal with the problems that are already here."

The Yukon government says it is working on a climate change strategy to deal with the effects of global warming.