We encourage submission of additional sessions. Look through the list below and follow the links for more information. If you identify a missing topic please contact Anna Liljedahl for permafrost research topics and Susan Wilson for engineering topics.

Submit new session ideas.

1. Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P)
2. Remote sensing and geophysical investigations of changing permafrost landscapes
3. New Remote Sensing Technology and Applications to Map Regional Permafrost Vulnerability
4. Permafrost Coastal Dynamics
5. Permafrost Dynamics, Biophysical and Socio-Economic Linkages: Connecting Science to Policy
6. Ground-ice distribution and its role in permafrost carbon dynamics
7. Feedbacks and interactions between snow, vegetation, and permafrost in the Arctic
8. Big imagery permafrost science today and tomorrow
9. Bridging Research Gaps in Snow and Permafrost
10. Water in Permafrost Systems – An interdisciplinary Consideration
11. Taking a look at the overlooked: Microorganisms and their processes in permafrost
12. Permafrost Dialogue: Using Storytelling and Multimedia to Communicate Arctic Change

30. Permafrost Engineering: State-of-the-Art and Climate Warming – Methods, Innovations, and Periglacial Associations
31. Highway Bridges in Cold Regions: Seismic Performance and Design Issues
32. Infrastructure engineering on permafrost
33. Transportation Engineering in Permafrost
34. Climate change impacts on infrastructure built on permafrost and societal challenges
35. Unique Aspects of Northern Soils

1. Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P)

Alexey Maslakov
Phone: +7 (985) 100-20-81
Lomonosov Moscow State University

The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) is the primary international programme concerned with long-term monitoring of permafrost. The core mission of GTN-P is to maintain a comprehensive and standardized long-term monitoring network to provide consistent, representative, and high quality long-term data on permafrost parameters. GTN-P ensures the distribution and availability of these data that can be used to assess the state of permafrost conditions and changes over time across Earth's high latitude and altitude regions. This session will focus on the latest developments in permafrost monitoring and results of long-term analyses on permafrost and active layer measurements. All members of GTN-P, National Correspondents, and potential new members are invited to contribute with presentations sharing findings on the thermal state of permafrost and active layer dynamics from local, regional, and global scales.

Keywords: active layer, permafrost temperature, climate change

Cosponsor 1: Sarah Marie Strand: The University Centre in Svalbard
Cosponsor 2: Dmitry Streletskiy: The George Washington University

2. Remote sensing and geophysical investigations of changing permafrost landscapes

Stephanie James
Phone: 9703027187
U.S. Geological Survey, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center, Denver, CO

Permafrost landscapes are experiencing unprecedented changes in ecosystem function and structure as the result of rapid permafrost thaw and climate warming. The temporal and spatial variations in land surface conditions (e.g. land cover, topography) and subsurface properties (e.g. liquid water content, ground ice, soil characteristics) in these environments have strong controls on permafrost vulnerability, hydrology, and carbon balances, but can be difficult to monitor over large areas and at high resolution. Geophysical and remote sensing observations are critical to studies of permafrost regions where changes occur both at the land surface and at depth, and through ongoing advancements in instrumentation, computing power, and new measurement and modeling strategies, geophysical remote sensing and imaging techniques are well positioned to address many open cryospheric research questions.

In this session, we seek submissions describing new insights from, and advancements in, remote sensing and geophysical observations of permafrost landscapes. We welcome submissions using ground or airborne geophysics and remote sensing techniques applied to characterization, detection, and/or monitoring of permafrost environments. Contributions exploring the combined application of remote sensing and applied geophysics, time series analysis, computer vision and machine learning techniques, and the vulnerability of the cryosphere to future changes are particularly encouraged.

Keywords: geophysics, remote sensing, machine learning

Cosponsor 1: Burke Minsley Cosponsor: U.S. Geological Survey, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center, Denver, CO
Cosponsor 2: Neal Pastick: KBR, contractor to the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, Sioux Falls, SD

3. New Remote Sensing Technology and Applications to Map Regional Permafrost Vulnerability

Session Chair: Yonghong Yi
Phone: 8183543003
Jet Propulsion Lab

Regional climate warming has induced widespread permafrost degradation in both high latitude and altitudinal regions. Sparse and sporadic in situ observations in these remote regions greatly limit our ability of mapping regional permafrost vulnerability and characterizing system-level changes associated with permafrost degradation. With a wide range of satellite and airborne observations available from current and future satellite missions, such as SMAP, SMOS, Sentinel-1, ICESat-2, NISAR and BIOMASS, remote sensing data is increasingly becoming an essential element to address this limitation. This session highlights researches that develop new remote sensing technology or applications to map regional permafrost vulnerability and describe the linkages between frozen ground, terrestrial ecology and hydrology. We particularly welcome studies that develop new approaches to integrate multi-sensor remote sensing such as Radar and Lidar as well as active and passive sensors that focus on better characterizing surface geomorphology, vegetation, soil moisture and freeze/thaw conditions in permafrost regions. We also welcome studies that develop new data-driven approaches or models that effectively use satellite/airborne remote sensing data in regional applications. Finally, we invite global and regional assessment studies to demonstrate what needs to be observed to ensure long-term permafrost changes at regional scales being adequately quantified.

Keywords: remote sensing, permafrost vulnerability, data-model integration, microwave

Cosponsor 1: Lin Liu: The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Cosponsor 2: Benjamin Jones: University of Alaska Fairbanks

4. Permafrost Coastal Dynamics

Session Chair: Jennifer Frederick
Phone: 505-313-3233
Sandia National Laboratories

Arctic permafrost coasts are increasingly vulnerable to anthropogenic and climate-driven changes that influence coastal erosion rates, storm-surge flooding events, and sea-level rise with potentially serious impacts on wildlife habitat, subsistence hunting grounds, coastal communities, and critical civilian and military infrastructure. These threats are likely to intensify in the future as temperatures warm and declining sea-ice extent exposes permafrost coastlines for longer periods of time. To understand, model, and project future vulnerability of Arctic coasts, accurate maps of bathymetry, topography, and geology are needed along with information on coastal behavior, geomorphology, and key processes driving coastal change. We invite a breadth of studies that cover topics related to Arctic coastal changes, the driving forces, geomorphological processes, and impacts on ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, infrastructure, and social systems. Contributions from studies that improve understanding of Arctic coastal dynamics through remote sensing, time-series analysis, field surveys, and modelling are welcome. This includes studies that inform our baseline understanding of Arctic coastal systems or focus on new technologies and method development, and collaborative approaches from communities, researchers and agencies to develop monitoring programs to support hazard forecasting.

Keywords: coastal erosion, infrastructure, permafrost coastlines

Cosponsor 1: Benjamin Jones: University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Cosponsor 2: Louise Farquharson: University of Alaska, Fairbanks

5. Permafrost Dynamics, Biophysical and Socio-Economic Linkages: Connecting Science to Policy

Session Chair: Torben Windirsch
Phone: +493312882126
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Permafrost Research, Potsdam, Germany

Permafrost dynamics are a focal point in pan-Arctic research due to their potential impacts and feedbacks on the Earth system. Permafrost landscape dynamics also play a crucial role in contemporary subsistence practices, infrastructure, and resource development in many areas. Thus, there is an urgent need to (1) refine the understanding of permafrost thawing and aggradation processes, (2) combine biogeophysical and socio-economic sciences in permafrost research, and (3) connect scientific findings to policy.

This session highlights the role of permafrost dynamics and the impact of permafrost changes on the environment and society. We welcome studies about the implications of permafrost degradation for communities, infrastructure, wildlife, hydrology, and the storage and release of carbon, nutrients and pollutants. Studies can be short-term field-based efforts, long-term programs, remote sensing and modelling approaches, as well as interdisciplinary efforts including interviews. We particularly invite research aimed at connecting permafrost science to policy and stakeholders.

Keywords: policy, stakeholder, socio-economic, permafrost biogeochemistry

Cosponsor 1: Erin Trochim: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Cosponsor 2: Gerald Frost: ABR, Inc. - Environmental Research & Services, Fairbanks, Alaska

6. Ground-ice distribution and its role in permafrost carbon dynamics

Session Chair: Christina Schaedel
Phone: 9285239588
Northern Arizona University

Melting ground ice in response to increasing air temperatures causes differential ground subsidence above ice-rich permafrost. The altered topography changes the storage and flow of water, which in turn affect biological components of Arctic ecosystems, including fluxes and storage of carbon. Accordingly, the consequences of thawing ice-rich permafrost extend beyond the Arctic region, yet we lack detailed characterization of ground-ice coverage. The melting of ground-ice can lead to drier or wetter soil conditions and colder or warmer winter soils, respectively, both of which control the fate of soil carbon. This session aims to link studies of ground-ice distribution and permafrost carbon dynamics, from the sub-meter to pan-Arctic scales, and welcomes the broad range of approaches and disciplines that can refine our understanding of permafrost carbon emissions during ice-rich permafrost thaw.

Keywords: ground ice, carbon, ice wedge, fluxes

Cosponsor 1: Anna Liljedahl: Woods Hole Research Center
Cosponsor 2: Charles Abolt: Los Alamos National Laboratory

7. Feedbacks and interactions between snow, vegetation, and permafrost in the Arctic

Session Chair: Katrina Bennett
Phone: 5056640698
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Snow, vegetation, and permafrost are intricately linked in the Arctic and subarctic regions of the world. Snow protects the ground during the winter and provides insulation for the permafrost, which guards against cold temperatures from penetrating deep into the soils. Vegetation changes, including an increase in shrubs has been noted to be changing in the Arctic and subarctic, which is linked to increases in snow as the shrubs tend to influence drifting and redistribution of moisture. However, the dynamic and changing nature of both snow and vegetation mean that these interactions could shift with climate impacts. We invite papers on snow, vegetation, and permafrost interactions, with particular emphasis on the impacts to the hydrologic cycle and climate change effects.

Keywords: snow, permafrost, vegetation, feedbacks, Arctic, climate

Cosponsor 1: Robert Bolton: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Cosponsor 2: Julian Dann Cosponsor 2: University of Alaska Fairbanks

8. Big imagery permafrost science today and tomorrow

Session Chair: Aiman Soliman
Phone: 217-300-1174
National Center for Supercomputing Applications

Permafrost scientists have access to more satellite data than the community currently knows how to handle. Geospatial mapping models that utilizes artificial intelligence (Geo-AI) are currently being developed at local scales, constantly pushing the limit of extractable information from a single image. Simultaneously, many pre- and post processing steps are similar for a remote sensing earth scientist studying coastline erosion as someone studying retrogressive thaw slumps. This session aims to highlight ongoing permafrost science using machine and deep learning techniques and to discuss opportunities and common bottlenecks in creating big imagery derived science.

Keywords: big imagery, artificial intelligence, remote sensing

Cosponsor 1: Chandi Witharana: Paul Morin
Cosponsor 2: Ingmar Nitze: AWI

9. Bridging Research Gaps in Snow and Permafrost

Session Chair: Christopher Hiemstra
E-mail: Christopher.A.Hiemstra@erdc.dren.mil

Snow has an immense influence on high latitude ecosystem water and energy budgets. Snow duration, depths, and interactions with canopies are also changing. Absent or late-arriving snow exposes the ground to a cold atmosphere in fall. When snow is present, it shields the ground from extremely low (<-20° C) winter air temperatures. The arrival and departure of snow has dramatic impacts on ground energy balance, as does snow metamorphism, structure, and thermal conductivity. While the interactions among snow-dominated landscapes and permafrost are obvious and abundant, research efforts linking these disparate fields are sparse. Part of the challenge is the paucity of accurate distributed snow measurements and model results. Other hurdles are demanding boreal and Arctic winter conditions for equipment and personnel.

The objective of this session is to identify what efforts are being made to link snow and permafrost processes and research. What research is occurring to improve our understanding of snow distributions and thermal interactions with permafrost in high-latitude environments? What can be done to address linkages among snow and permafrost? A secondary objective of this session entails linking ongoing and impending snow remote sensing and modeling efforts with the permafrost research community to mutual benefit.

Keywords: snow, permafrost, remote sensing, modeling, measurements, climate change

Cosponsor 1: Carrie M. Vuyovich: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Cosponsor 2: Taylor D. Sullivan: University of Wyoming; CRREL

10. Water in Permafrost Systems - An interdisciplinary Consideration

Session Chair: Eva Stephani
Phone: 1-907-350-7085
Alaska Science Center, USGS Session

The linkages and feedbacks between components in permafrost settings result in highly dynamic systems that are sustained by heat and mass transfer. The geosystem approach recognizes that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts", which is a key concept to understand permafrost dynamics and its coupling of thermal, mechanical, geomorphological, hydrological, and/or biogeochemical processes operating at variable temporal and/or spatial scales. Water is an intrinsic component of permafrost geosystems with potentials for strong feedbacks. The abundance of interactions between water and other components in permafrost geosystems results in a wide range of relevant topics in basic and applied sciences. Furthermore, as we assess the role of water with approaches distinctive of our own disciplines, gaps may form at the intersection of these disciplines, yet critical linkages and processes likely fall within those gaps. This session intends to bring together researchers and practitioners from various fields for an interdisciplinary session involving presentations and discussion on the role of water in permafrost geosystems and its potential effects on the resilience and vulnerability of these systems to changes, including potential systemic thresholds.

Keywords: permafrost dynamics, water, geosystem, feedbacks

Cosponsor 1: Josh Koch / William Quinton Cosponsor 1: J.Koch: Alaska Science Center, USGS / W.Quinton: Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada) Cosponsor 2: Ylva Sjöberg / Ronald Daanen Cosponsor 2: Y.Sjoberg: University of Copenhagen (Danmark) / R.Daanen: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys

11. Taking a look at the overlooked: Microorganisms and their processes in permafrost

Session Chair: Robyn Barbato
Phone: 603-646-4388

Intact permafrost harbors a diverse group of both active and dormant microorganisms. As permafrost thaws, these microbial populations face dramatic changes in both their physical and chemical environments. Unknowns remain regarding many microbial-mediated processes that have the potential to alter feedbacks between permafrost regions and the global climate system, including the rate and fate of transformation of the large stock of permafrost organic matter and changes in aboveground vegetation communities and growth rates. This session invites contributions that cover diverse aspects of permafrost microbiology. We highly encourage submissions that explore the diversity and activity of microbial communities in intact and thawing permafrost soils using a wide range of techniques including 'omics, culturing, modelling of microbial processes, and laboratory and field studies.

Keywords: Microbiome, permafrost, thaw, biochemical processes

Cosponsor 1: Mary-Cathrine Leewis USGS
Cosponsor 2: Stacey Doherty: University of New Hampshire

12. Permafrost Dialogue: Using Storytelling and Multimedia to Communicate Arctic Change

Session Chair: Brendan Rogers
Phone: 5084441507
Woods Hole Research Center

Communicating the nature and implications of arctic change to policy makers and the general public can be challenging. Many people do not have a personal connection with the Arctic. Still, the changes occurring across permafrost landscapes impact the global community too. This session asks, "how can scientists more effectively share the story of arctic change and/or make information more accessible to enable discovery and knowledge-generation by the public?" This session seeks to foster conversations that can help identify opportunities for the impactful use of multimedia and storytelling to promote dialog, public engagement, and advances in climate policy. This session welcomes contributions that include or go beyond the common style of academic science outreach efforts and will feature a panel discussion in addition to poster and oral presentations.

Keywords: permafrost; communication; arctic change; climate policy; outreach; storytelling; multimedia

Cosponsor 1: Anna Liljedahl: University of Alaska Fairbanks; Woods Hole Research Center
Cosponsor 2: Jennifer Watts: Woods Hole Research Center

30. Permafrost Engineering: State-of-the-Art and Climate Warming - Methods, Innovations, and Periglacial Associations

Session Chair: Kevin Bjella
Phone: 9073787360
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory Session

In the last few decades permafrost engineering has reached a technological plateau mostly in the realm of innovations to maintain the frozen condition, but also in assessing the risk of permafrost thaw and associated costs in light of the changing climate. Warming permafrost will weaken foundation soils, prompting adjustment of established methodolgies to ensure robust designs, and this will challenge engineers to make estimates of future climate impacts, and what degree adjustments for the future are economically and liability acceptable. As a consequence, it is increasingly clear that permafrost response to warming and the consequences on infrastructure are not fully understood both for warming permafrost temperatures and the transition to seasonal freezing conditions. Recent advancements in the use of surface based geophysics for geotechnical characterization are demonstrating that the heterogeneity of the permafrost ground-ice condition can often be exploited to the benefit of infrastructure projects. Additionally, thermal modeling techniques are becoming standard engineering tools for determining the results of innovative designs, and for projecting to the future warmed condition. Presentations are invited that provide insight into the current methods for engineering on warming permafrost, and also illustrate consequences of miss-adjusted or altered design parameters. We encourage demonstrations of innovation for maintaining or modifying founding soil conditions (mechanically or thermally), innovation on the methods for characterizing the geotechnical condition, incorporation of permafrost cryostructure and geo-cryomorphology into the applied realm, and improved techniques for assessing, designing and constructing on warming permafrost.

Keywords: Permafrost, Permafrost Engineering, thaw settlement, permafrost degradation, warming permafrost

Cosponsor 1: Heather Brooks: BGC Engineering Incorporated

31. Highway Bridges in Cold Regions: Seismic Performance and Design Issues

Session Chair: Asif Iqbal
Phone: 250-960-6708
University of Northern British Columbia

Bridge infrastructure represents a significant portion of the transportation network of any country. Several seismic regions around the world (Alaska, Quebec, Hokkaido-Japan) experience seasonal freezing that can drastically alter the soil-foundation-structure interaction and structural response under earthquake loads. Under subfreezing temperature, the yield and ultimate strengths of steel reinforcement increases, compressive strength and Poisson's ratio of concrete changes, shear strength and stiffness of soil increases, and mechanical properties of elastomeric and friction bearings are affected. All these changes in bridge component material properties can significantly alter the behavior of bridges in cold regions under earthquake loads. More research is required to investigate the detrimental effect of subfreezing temperature on seismic performance of bridges, which will pave the way to meet future transportation challenges while developing resilient infrastructure. The main objective of this session is to present results from recent research and practical examples on seismic performance and design of highway bridges in cold regions. The session will also provide a forum for researchers and practicing engineers to share and discuss related issues for new and retrofitted structures in cold regions.

Keywords: Highway bridges, Cold regions, Seismic Performance, Seismic Design, Serviceability.

Cosponsor 1: Shahria Alam: University of British Columbia
Cosponsor 2: Muntasir Billah Cosponsor: Lakehead University

32. Infrastructure engineering on permafrost

Session Chair: Xiangbing Kong
Phone: 418-656-7777-14451
PYRN Vice-President, Laval University, Quebec, Canada Session

Infrastructure construction on continuous and discontinuous permafrost coupled with changing climate conditions lead to changed thermal conditions of the surface and subsurface, commonly resulting in permafrost degradation. Degradation of thaw-sensitive permafrost reduces the infrastructure serviceability level, increases maintenance cost and risk for infrastructure users. Potential social and economic consequences of infrastructure engineering failures in permafrost environments are considerable, especially for risk-sensitive infrastructure (airstrips, oil and gas pipelines, highways, utilities and others).

This session aims to advance the frozen ground engineering profession by sharing challenges and solutions addressing sustainable infrastructure design, construction, and maintenance on thaw-sensitive permafrost.

We invite presentations that provide insight into infrastructure engineering including, but not limited to: innovative construction methods and monitoring techniques; innovative ground cooling technologies; practical limitations and uncertainty of computer-aided geothermal design; and assessments of risk, cost, and adaptive strategies in response to climate change.

Keywords: Infrastructure; Climate change; Permafrost degradation; Risk assessment; Adaptive strategy; Geothermal design

Cosponsor 1: Peppi Croft: Shannon & Wilson Inc, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Cosponsor 2: Karlis Rieksts: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

33. Transportation Engineering in Permafrost

Session Chair: Joey Yang
Phone: 9077866431
University of Alaska Anchorage Session

Transportation engineering in permafrost regions under a changing climate faces many challenges at various stages of engineering, including site characterization, analysis and design, construction, and performance monitoring during operation. This session aims to provide a platform for engineers and scientists to present the latest progress in various aspects of transportation engineering in the broad cold regions. This session welcomes papers dealing with
1) Effective technologies/methods for site characterization and detection of ice-rich/thaw unstable permafrost or ice wedges,
2) Fundamental properties (such as mechanical, thermal, electrical, etc.) of frozen soils and modeling,
3) Frozen soil-structure interaction,
4) Climate change impact on transportation infrastructure,
6) Innovative construction methods,
7) Case studies on the short- and long-term performance of transportation infrastructure, and
8) Other related topics within this theme.

Keywords: Transportation engineering; permafrost; climate change

Cosponsor 1: Fujun Niu: State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
Cosponsor 2: Feng Zhang Cosponsor: School of Transportation Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, China

34. Climate change impacts on infrastructure built on permafrost and societal challenges

Session Chair: Thomas Schneider von Deimling
Phone: +493312882225
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 14473 Potsdam Germany

Climate warming induced abrupt changes in ground thermal and hydrological state puts Arctic infrastructure at risk of future failure within their lifetime. For better assessing the risk of large-scale future damage, new strategies for improved monitoring in combination with modelling are urgently needed.

We would like to attract contributions from different disciplines, with a focus on:

  • Process-based studies increasing our understanding of hydrothermal interactions between infrastructure and permafrost, including model developments for an improved representation of permafrost degradation
  • Modelling studies of permafrost degradation impacts on infrastructure stability, including studies discussing model limitations
  • Pan-Arctic risk assessments of future permafrost thaw and infrastructure failure
  • Studies exploring early-warning signs of Arctic infrastructure failure
  • Adaptation studies for infrastructure built on permafrost and potential adaptation limits under climate change
  • General studies of Arctic infrastructure vulnerability under climate change
  • Studies evaluating the upcoming risks for Arctic societies This session intends to promote discussions of infrastructure stability under climate warming as a consequence of degrading permafrost and subsequent risks in the Arctic society. We invite contributions ranging from observational studies, remote sensing, GIS-based approaches, to studies using models of different scope and complexity. We hope to create a discussion across different disciplines to foster future collaboration.

Keywords: Permafrost degradation, infrastructure failure, climate change, adaptation, modelling, monitoring

Cosponsor 1: Erin Trochim, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute and Department of Geology and Geophysics, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Cosponsor 1: Rui Chen (PYRN), Humboldt University of Berlin, Geography Department, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
Cosponsor 2: Hanna Lee, NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
Cosponsor 2: Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen, Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

35. Unique Aspects of Northern Soils

Session Chair: Taylor Hodgdon
Phone: 603-646-4224

Northern environments experience large seasonal changes throughout the year that are becoming more pronounced with the changing global climate. This seasonality has a direct impact on the soils in these northern environments. Processes such as freezing and thawing of soils causes drastic changes to the overall physical behavior of the soil. In addition to this, northern terrains contain vastly different soil types due to their varied geomorphological histories. These deposits range from highly heterogeneous soils deposited from past glaciations to abundant organic soils whose physical and engineering properties are not well studied. This session aims to highlight the unique attributes of soils in these environments including but not limited to: seasonal impacts to physical soil properties, freeze/thaw cycling of soils, engineering properties of highly organic/peat soils, and determination of soil characteristics using geomorphic landform data.

Keywords: Northern soils, freeze, thaw, seasonality

Cosponsor 1: Dr. Sally Shoop: ERDC-CRREL