Alaskan researchers cross North by snowmobile

Two researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks crossed the North installing permafrost monitors.

Two person team installing permafrost monitors

Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks have completed a five-week trip by snowmobile from Fairbanks to Iqaluit.

A Japanese researcher from Alaska said it was easier to take snowmobiles across the Arctic than to fly between communities for their work.

Kenji Yoshikawa and his assistant Ulli Neumann stopped in nine Nunavut communities to drill permafrost monitoring stations into the ground. They put the monitoring stations at local schools.

Yoshikawa hopes the project will get students interested in science.   "We wanted to set permafrost monitoring stations in each community, each school. So that simply we needed equipment.  We can still bring airplanes to each but snow machines are easy transportation," Yoshikawa said.

The trip was part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Permafrost Outreach program. Yoshikawa said the research will help track permafrost changes across the North.   "If the permafrost temperature change then we may have damage for the infrastructure, but no one measures permafrost temperature. You need the different temperature for design or future predictions," he said.

Neumann says it was meeting people that made the biggest impression on him. They won't be snowmobiling on the way back. They are flying to Alaska this week.