Thermal state of permafrost in urban environment under changing climatic conditions

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Valery I Grebenets1, Aligyushad G. Kerimov2, Nikolay I Shiklomanov3, Dmitry A Streletskiy3, V S Shkoda4 and Fedor D Anduschenko1, (1)Lomonosov Mosocw State University, Moscow, Russia, (2)Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States, (3)George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States, (4)Sentr “Geodynamics, Norilsk, Russia
Large industrial centers on permafrost are characterized by a set of geocryological conditions different from natural environment. Thermal state of foundations on permafrost in areas of economic development depends on climate trends and upon technogenic impacts, such as type of impact, area of facility, permafrost temperature and duration of the technogenic pressure. Technogenic degradation of permafrost is evident in most urban centers on permafrost leading to deterioration of geotechnical environment and particularly foundations of buildings and structures. This situation is exacerbated by climate warming in such cities as Vorkuta, Chita, Nerungry, Salekhard and others where temperature rises at a rate of 0.4 – 1.2 oC/decade over the last 40 years. To evaluate impact of climate warming and technogenic factors on permafrost temperature regime and foundation bearing capacity we compared five facilities in Norilsk, the largest city on permafrost. The facilities were selected to represent different parts of the town, different ages of built-up environment and were located in different permafrost and lithological conditions. We found a leading role of technogenic factors relative to climatic ones in dynamics of thermal state of permafrost in urban environment. Climate warming in Norilsk (0.15 oC/decade) was a small contributor, but gave an additional input to deterioration of geotechnical environment on permafrost. At the same time, implementation of engineering solutions of permafrost temperature cooling (such as crawl spaces) result in lowering of permafrost temperature. Field surveys in Yamburg showed that under some facilities permafrost temperature decreased by 1-1.5 C oC over the last 15 years despite pronounced in the region climate warming of 0.5 oC/decade. This shows that despite deterioration of permafrost conditions in the most Arctic regions due to technogenic pressure and climate warming, implementation of adequate engineering solutions allows stabilization of permafrost thermal regime.