Importance of cross-border team science in permafrost research for risk mitigation

guido.grosse [ at ]


Permafrost degradation has already begun to cause damage to infrastructure across the Pan-Arctic and is increasing the potential for climate change related disasters for numerous Arctic nations. Permafrost degradation can pose a risk to the stability and function of Arctic infrastructure in three key ways: 1) where ground-ice is present, permafrost degradation will initiate thermokarst development causing the ground surface to subside, 2) in coastal regions permafrost degradation can increase the rate of coastal erosion and lead to more impactful storm surges, and 3) an increase in ground temperature can change the structural integrity and cohesiveness of the underlying ground surface leading to lateral and vertical ground movement, and a decrease in infrastructure foundation bearing capacity. In addition, recent infrastructure development and associated construction in northern regions has caused disturbance to the ground thermal regime. The combined effects of permafrost degradation from climate warming across the Arctic is likely to cause damage to and the loss of infrastructure critical to the function of Arctic industry and communities. As such, permafrost degradation-related disaster poses a major threat to national and international security across the Pan-Arctic. Successful preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation from permafrost-related disasters will require coordinated cross-border disaster diplomacy efforts and effective dissemination of findings. Critical to these efforts is the co-production of knowledge with indigenous communities and the development of cross-border research and monitoring networks that involve collaborators from a wide-range of backgrounds. We present several examples of such collaborative efforts including: an emerging international network of networks focused on better understanding permafrost affected coastal change across the pan-Arctic; the formation of transdisciplinary research teams involving scientists, stakeholders, community members, and policy makers, to prevent and mitigate permafrost-related disasters in northern communities; the development of a pan-Arctic long-term permafrost monitoring network; and the effective distribution of urgent permafrost research tasks across international multi-institutional teams.

Item Type
Conference (Invited talk)
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Primary Topic
Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
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Event Details
AGU Fall Meeting 2019, 09 Dec 2019 - 13 Dec 2019, San Francisco, USA.
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Cite as
Farquharson, L. M. , Romanovsky, V. E. , Jones, B. M. , Grosse, G. , Sergeev, D. and Xiao, M. (2019): Importance of cross-border team science in permafrost research for risk mitigation , AGU Fall Meeting 2019, San Francisco, USA, 9 December 2019 - 13 December 2019 .


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