High-resolution Permafrost Distribution Modelling for the Central and Southern Yukon, and Northwestern British Columbia, Canada

High-resolution Permafrost Distribution Modelling for the Central and Southern Yukon, and Northwestern British Columbia, Canada

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Title: High-resolution Permafrost Distribution Modelling for the Central and Southern Yukon, and Northwestern British Columbia, Canada
Author: Bonnaventure, Philip P.
Abstract: Basal Temperature of Snow (BTS) measurements were used as the primary inputs to a high resolution (30 x 30 m grid cells) empirical-statistical regional permafrost probability model for the southern and central Yukon, and northernmost British Columbia (59° - 65°N). Data from seven individual study areas distributed across the region were combined using a blended distance decay technique, with an eighth area used for validation. The model predictions are reasonably consistent with previous permafrost maps for the area with some notable differences and a much higher level of detail. The modelling gives an overall permafrost probability of 52%. North of 62°N, permafrost becomes more extensive in the lowland areas whereas farther south permafrost is typically common only above treeline. Significant differences exist between the mountain environments of the Yukon and the Swiss Alps where the BTS method originated and as a result different modelling approaches had to be developed. This work therefore: (1) develops additional explanatory variables for permafrost probability modelling, the most notable of which is equivalent elevation, (2) confirms the use of ground truthing as a requirement for empirical-statistical modelling in the Yukon and (3) uses a combination of models for the region in order to spatially predict between study areas. The results of this thesis will be of use to linear infrastructure route-planning, geohazard assessment and climate change adaptation strategies. Future work employing the model will allow the effects of scenario-based climate warming to be examined.
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/19899
Supervisor: Lewkowicz, Antoni
Faculty: arts
Degree: phd

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