New website tracks 'unstable' permafrost conditions in Nunavut
Data shows depth, temperature, and geological formations of permafrost in communities across the territory
The Government of Nunavut has launched a new online data bank to help communities across the territory track and adapt to changing permafrost conditions.
"Some areas where the permafrost was frozen are becoming warmer," said Colleen Healey, the government's climate change program manager .
"The ground near the surface, especially the active layer, is becoming more unstable, we are seeing our roads dip in. We are seeing some buildings starting to move slightly and become slightly less stable, and we are going to see more and more of this."
Unlike the Northwest Territories and Yukon, Nunavut is in a "continuous permafrost zone", meaning the entire territory has permafrost.
Healey says in the past, all the roads and buildings built in the territory were constructed with the assumption that the ground beneath them would remain solid. But thanks to climate change, that's no longer the case.
The new data bank is a collection of all the data on permafrost in the territory from a variety of sources.
"There is information about permafrost, its depth, its temperature, and geological formations," said Healey. "It's been collected by researchers, universities, communities and consultants, and the more information we come across we will make it available to Nunavummiut."
Healey said she has also gathered Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit traditional knowledge) on climate change and permafrost from elders to share on the new website.
"This information can be used by community decision-makers, planners, and governments to make sure any future developments are sustainable and adaptive to the future climate of Nunavut." she said.