Conference Sessions

Click on any of the session titles to see the full description of each session.

Permafrost and Cold Regions Research Sessions:

  1. General Session: Permafrost and Cold Regions Research Topics
  2. Geophysical and Remote Sensing 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 Cold Regions
  8. Big imagery Permafrost Science Today and Tomorrow
  9. Bridging Research Gaps in Snow and Permafrost with Advanced Sensing and Monitoring Technologies
  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
  13. Flooding and Permafrost Thaw
  14. The Role of Permafrost in Structure, Function, and Evolution of Rivers and Deltas
  15. Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P)
  16. Permafrost Data Systems 
  17. Unique Challenges of Permafrost in Mountain Areas
  18. Changing Biogeochemistry of Permafrost Regions
  19. Rock Glacier Inventories and Kinematics
  20. Planetary Permafrost

Cold Regions and Permafrost Engineering Sessions:
  1. General Session: Cold Regions Engineering
  2. Merging Engineering and Science for Permafrost Solutions
  3. Infrastructure Engineering on Permafrost
  4. Transportation Engineering in Permafrost
  5. Infrastructure Built on Permafrost - Assessing Risks from Climate Change Impacts and Societal Challenges
  6. Unique Aspects of Permafrost Soils
  7. Permafrost Engineering: State-of-the-Art and Climate Warming – Methods, Innovations, and Periglacial Associations
  8. Highway Bridges in Cold Regions: Performance and Design Issues
  9. Snow and Ice
  10. Geologic Terrain Analysis, Geomorphic Mapping in Support of Infrastructure Development
  11. Permafrost Thermal Analysis
  12. Engineering Contributions for Mitigation of Environmental Hazards and Improvement of Community Resilience
  13. Engineering Properties of Frozen Soils
  14. Transportation Infrastructure in Cold Climates
  15. Geophysics in Engineering
  16. Arctic Environmental and Engineering Data and Design Support System (Arctic-EDS)
  17. Pipeline Foundation Design
  18. Construction, Mining, and Oil and Gas in Cold Regions

 

Session Descriptions

1. General Session: Permafrost and Cold Regions Research Topics

Chair: Anna Liljedahl, Woodwell Climate Research Center

This session is for permafrost science from a wide range of disciplines, scales, and methods, and especially if none of the other permafrost science sessions fit your research topic. 

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2. Geophysical and Remote Sensing Investigations of Changing Permafrost Landscapes

Chair: Stephanie James, 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.

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

Chair: Yonghong Yi, 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. 

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4. Permafrost Coastal Dynamics

Chair: Jennifer Frederick, Sandia National Laboratories 

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 permafrost 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 and Antarctic coastal changes, the driving forces, geomorphological processes, and impacts on ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, infrastructure, and social systems. Contributions from studies that improve understanding of permafrost coastal dynamics through remote sensing, time-series analysis, field surveys, and modelling are welcome. This includes studies that inform our baseline understanding of permafrost 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.

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

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

Permafrost dynamics are a focal point in cold-environmental 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.

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6. Ground-ice Distribution and its Role in Permafrost Carbon Dynamics

Chair: Christina Schaedel, 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 cold ecosystems, including fluxes and storage of carbon in the Arctic and other permafrost regions. Accordingly, the consequences of thawing ice-rich permafrost extend beyond the those regions, 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.

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7. Feedbacks and Interactions Between Snow, Vegetation, and Permafrost in Cold Regions

Chair: Katrina Bennett, Los Alamos National Laboratory 

Snow, vegetation, and permafrost are intricately linked across the cold regions of the globe.  . 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 , 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 within cold regions across the globe, with particular emphasis on the impacts to the hydrologic cycle and climate change effects.

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8. Big Imagery Permafrost Science Today and Tomorrow

Chair: Aiman Soliman, 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 utilize artificial intelligence (Geo-AI) are being developed at local scales, constantly pushing the limit of extractable information from a single image. However, operational use of the machine and deep learning (ML/DL) models by permafrost scientists would require, in addition to developing the models, solving different logistical issues, such as leveraging of gateways to increase accessibility to geospatial data, efficient preprocessing of large amounts of data for the ML/DL models, and optimizing data transfer between data  repositories and computational environments, where the models run. This session aims to highlight ongoing permafrost science using machine and deep learning techniques at a scale and to discuss opportunities and common bottlenecks in creating big data-driven science. 

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9. Bridging Research Gaps in Snow and Permafrost with Advanced Sensing and Monitoring Technologies

Chair: Anna Wagner, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory

Permafrost degradation impends dramatic changes to topography, surface and groundwater flow, vegetation patterns, and wildfire susceptibility. Furthermore, permafrost thaw feeds back on the release of carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere. The arrival and departure of snow—along with dynamic snow metamorphism, structure, and thermal conductivity—have dramatic impacts on the ground energy balance. While the interactions among snow-dominated landscapes and permafrost are obvious and abundant, research efforts linking these disparate fields remain sparse. Part of the challenge is the paucity of accurate distributed snow measurements and model results. Single-point, ergodic, and remote sensing data collection campaigns are limited in their range and/or resolution in space and time. Meanwhile, recent in situ field- and watershed-scale observations using dense sensor deployments have captured multi-scale transformations of permafrost. Such observations create opportunities to test hypotheses and numerical models.

This session aims to highlight recent efforts towards the interconnectedness of snow and permafrost processes via advanced remote sensing and monitoring technologies. We also welcome contributions on novel advances in the field of in situ sensor technology including new sensing modalities, units, geometries, telemetry, data handling, and application domains with a focus on tracking the evolution of permafrost systems. This session will highlight case studies as well as relevant numerical and modeling studies used for guiding sensor design and installation.

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10. Water in Permafrost Systems – An Interdisciplinary Consideration

Chair: Eva Stephani, Alaska Science Center, USGS 

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.

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11. Taking a Look at the Overlooked: Microorganisms and their Processes in Permafrost

Chair: Robyn Barbato, US Army CRREL

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, from the rate and fate of transformation of the large stock of permafrost organic matter to changes in aboveground vegetation. This session invites contributions that cover diverse aspects of permafrost microbiology and make connections with permafrost physics and chemistry.  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, and modelling of microbial processes through laboratory or field studies.

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

Chair: Brendan Rogers, Woodwell Climate Research Center

Communicating the nature and implications of changes in permafrost systems to policy makers and the general public can be challenging. Many people do not have a personal connection with these environments, including high latitudes and high altitudes. Still, the changes occurring across permafrost landscapes impact the global community. This session asks, “how can scientists more effectively share stories of changing permafrost landscapes 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. 

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13. Flooding and Permafrost Thaw

Chair: Elchin Jafarov, Los Alamos National Laboratory 

Climate change is affecting high-latitude ecosystems and raising concerns about thawing permafrost, sea-level rise, and increased risk of flooding. Flooding has direct impacts on communities and ecosystems, triggering severe and long-lasting consequences on the subsurface permafrost and hydrology, land surface changes, and extensive ground ice loss. Consequently, these changes independently and cumulatively influence the biosphere-atmosphere exchange leading to an acceleration of the permafrost carbon feedback timelines, in addition to increasing risk to communities and infrastructure. This session focuses on the consequences of Arctic flooding and its effect on ecosystems, communities, permafrost, and hydrology. We also invite studies related to post-flooding observations (in-situ and remote sensing) and modeling flooding impacts on ecosystems and landscapes.

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14. The Role of Permafrost in Structure, Function, and Evolution of Rivers and Deltas

Chair: Anastasia Piliouras, Los Alamos National Laboratory 

Permafrost influences both the dynamics and characteristics of rivers and deltas. Frozen ground also strongly influences the magnitude, rate, and timing of fluxes of water, sediment, and biogeochemical constituents delivered to channel networks in permafrost watersheds. Through both thermal and physical erosion, river, stream, and deltaic channels thaw, erode, and alter the distribution of permafrost in watersheds and deltas. As both permafrost and river temperatures warm, the rate and pattern of permafrost change may accelerate and have feedbacks on the dynamics and planform characteristics of these landscapes. In this session we encourage field, remote sensing, and/or modeling based studies that investigate interactions between rivers and deltas and permafrost. 

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

Chair:Alexey Maslakov, 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.

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16. Permafrost Data Systems 

Chair: Nick Brown, NSERC PermafrostNet

Permafrost research is increasingly data-driven due to advances in modelling, machine learning, and high-performance computing. As the research field develops, integrating data beyond ground temperature is becoming increasingly important. Regional and national organizations are developing capacity for storing and disseminating this permafrost data. Access to the data is still primarily download-based, but there is also work towards providing data-as-a-service and cloud-based platform models. Despite this, there remains a great deal of legacy data that has not yet made it into the realm of open data and is still inaccessible. This workshop will be aimed towards individuals and organizations involved in the development of permafrost data systems as well as creators and users of permafrost data. The objective of the workshop is to connect researchers and practitioners who are actively involved in the production, curation, and dissemination of permafrost data; to identify current problems and limitations; and to recommend how efforts can be better connected or coordinated. The expected output from the workshop is a short report summarizing the conclusions from the workshop and describing recommended next steps.

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17. Unique Challenges of Permafrost in Mountain Areas

Chair: Alexandre Bevington, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development 

Mountain permafrost, as an important variable of the cryosphere, continues to offer unique challenges to the scientific community, these include a high degree of spatial heterogeneity in topo-climatic and bio-physical characteristics, challenging conditions for field work and in-situ monitoring, and often rapid environmental evolutions under climate change (e.g. deglaciation, vegetation expansion, mass wasting processes and related hazards/risks). Changes occurring to other cryospheric components - snow and glaciers - can impact mountain permafrost directly, or through a feedback system, which increases the complexity of mountain hydrological and geomorphological processes. 

This session seeks submissions that relate to the unique challenges of monitoring and modelling permafrost in mountains, and contributions that advance our understanding of mountain permafrost, and the processes that govern its evolution, behavior, and resultant impacts. We particularly encourage submissions that aim to improve our understanding of processes (e.g. active layer dynamics, rock glacier kinematics, thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of rock slopes) and hazards. We thus invite the mountain permafrost community to gather at the RCOP in 2021 to present and discuss recent findings and the (uncertain) future of the high mountain areas!

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18. Changing Biogeochemistry of Permafrost Regions

Chair: Kevin Schaefer, National Snow and Ice Data Center 

Changing climate in permafrost regions has important implications for biogeochemical cycling of numerous constituents including carbon, nitrogen, and mercury. It affects the size of constituent pools available for active cycling upon permafrost thaw, it affects the rates of processes, and ultimately affects the movement of constituents throughout the biosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere system. This session focuses on how permafrost region biogeochemistry of carbon, nutrients, and contaminants is changing in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems over a range of temporal and spatial scales. Field, modeling, and synthesis studies are welcome. We encourage studies on coupled biogeochemical cycles, studies on contaminants, and studies that merge field-based data with models for upscaling and projections.  This session focuses on the impacts of climate change on permafrost biogeochemistry.  This includes the impacts on the carbon and nutrient cycles.  This also includes contaminant transport, particularly mercury.  This includes field studies, syntheses, and modeling studies.

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19. Rock Glacier Inventories and Kinematics

Chair: Alessandro Cicoira, Alpine Cryosphere and Geomorphology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

Rock glacier inventories have been set up for decades all around the world, yet without coordination, making their global assemblage and uniform completion not feasible. Similarly, the assessment of rock glacier kinematics was limited to a handful of landforms and mostly restricted to short time series. Recently, numerous datasets of increasing quality have been made available for numerous rock glaciers, particularly with the development of remote sensing techniques. Consequently, the potential for mapping and monitoring rock glaciers is rapidly advancing. The IPA Action Group on rock glacier inventories and kinematics (2018-2023), also with the support of ESA CCI+ Permafrost, is promoting both the establishment of standards for inventorying rock glaciers, including refined indications on the activity rate, and the integration of rock glacier kinematics as a new associated parameter to Essential Climate Variable (ECV) Permafrost within the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) reflecting indirectly the evolution of mountain permafrost. In this session, we welcome contributions from various approaches (in-situ measurements, remote sensing, geophysics, numerical modelling) that foster our understanding of rock glacier morphology and kinematics with the goal of stimulating the scientific discourse and sustaining the efforts presently being developed by the IPA Action Group community.

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20. Planetary Permafrost

Chair: Joseph Levy, Colgate University

Abstract: Permafrost is a dominant surface type on many worlds, from polar cold traps of the inner solar system, to the icy plains of Mars, to the profoundly cryotic icy moons of the outer solar system, and beyond. This session aims to capture: 1) the current state of knowledge about the inventories of ice-rich permafrost across the Solar System, 2) the processes that govern its formation and evolution, and 3) the next steps needed to understand the climatic and geologic histories recorded in planetary permafrost deposits, as well as the implications of these deposits for future in situ resource utilization (ISRU). This session welcomes a broad range of perspectives on permafrost across the Solar System, including but not limited to remote sensing, scientific characterization, future exploration and mission concepts, engineering criteria and constraints for ISRU, and Earth analog comparisons. A major goal of this session is cross-pollination between the planetary permafrost community and the Arctic/Antarctic permafrost science and engineering community. To support that goal, we encourage both overview presentations that can provide the terrestrial community with synthesis of existing planetary permafrost research, as well as presentations on specific research and applications, from both new and experienced researchers, that can serve as the launching point for idea exchange between Earth and space-focused teams.

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30. General Session: Cold Regions Engineering

Chair: Susan Wilson, 3rd Rock Consulting, LLC

This session is for permafrost and cold region engineering from a wide range of disciplines, scales, and methods, especially if none of the other permafrost engineering sessions fit your topic.

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31. Merging Engineering and Science for Permafrost Solutions

Chair: Torsten Mayrberger, PND Engineers, Inc.

Development of oil/gas fields, metal discovery,and modernization of indigenouspeoples’ infrastructure have been the impetus for a great deal of new permafrost science and engineering over the years. Much of this early discovery has been somewhat codified and interest in engineering science and science with respect to cold regions engineering has waned over the years. Environmental changes largely due to climate change have brought about new engineering requirements and challenges. In the meantime, advances in technologies and discoveries in the geosciences and the remote sensing fields have provided a great amount of data that may not be known or incorporated currently by the engineering community. This session includes papers submitted by conference attendees from both science and engineering fields. The forum will discuss research needed by practicing engineers and the best way to develop communication between active work being performed by researchers and scientists and practicing engineers. The aim of this session is to develop pathways of communication between practitioners, academia, and agency researchers.

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32. Infrastructure Engineering on Permafrost

Chair: Xiangbing  Kong, 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.

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33. Transportation Engineering in Permafrost

Chair: Joey Yang, University of Alaska Anchorage

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, and 8) Other related topics within this theme.

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34. Infrastructure Built on Permafrost - Assessing Risks from Climate Change Impacts and Societal Challenges

Chair: Thomas Schneider von Deimling, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research 

Climate warming induced abrupt changes in ground thermal and hydrological state puts permafrost-affected 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 natural sciences, social sciences, and engineering 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; Large-scale risk assessments of future permafrost thaw and infrastructure failure; Studies exploring early-warning signs of permafrost-affected infrastructure failure; Adaptation studies for infrastructure built on permafrost and potential adaptation limits under climate change; General studies of  permafrost-affected infrastructure vulnerability under climate change; and Studies evaluating the upcoming risks for Arctic societies from permafrost thaw and resulting failing infrastructure (e.g. issues of travel and accessibility, building stability, environmental contamination).

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.

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35. Unique Aspects of Permafrost Soils

Chair: Taylor Hodgdon, ERDC-CRREL

Permafrost   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 environments.  Processes such as freezing and thawing of soils cause drastic changes to the overall physical behavior of the soil.  In addition to this, permafrost  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.  

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

Chair: Kevin Bjella, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory 

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 methodologies 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. 

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37. Highway Bridges in Cold Regions: Performance and Design Issues

Chair: Asif Iqbal, University of Northern British Columbia

Bridge infrastructure represents a significant portion of the transportation network of any country. Permafrost regions around the world  experience seasonal freezing that can drastically alter the soil-foundation-structure interaction and structural response under earthquake loads in seismically active regions. 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 bridge 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 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 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.

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38. Snow and Ice

Chair: Sally Shoop, ERDC-CRREL

Presentation of the latest in technology, measurement and snow and ice properties, use of snow and ice as engineering materials, and control of snow and ice on pavements and structures. Topics could include but are not limited to: Material, engineering, physical and geophysical properties, snow and ice control, icing on structures, temperature effects, snow and Ice as construction materials, snow and ice roads and runways, creep, geophysics on snow and ice, remote sensing of snow and ice properties, laboratory testing, and other topics of interest to cold regions engineering and science specific to snow and ice.

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39. Geologic Terrain Analysis, Geomorphic Mapping in Support of Infrastructure Development

Chair: Michelle Gavel, Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys

Terrain analysis provides site-specific and corridor characterization based on desktop studies of existing geologic mapping, satellite imagery, aerial photography, elevation data, and drone surveys, as well as incorporation and extrapolation of reconnaissance data, ground temperature measurements, geophysical surveys, and subsurface borehole information. These analyses can anticipate engineering soil and ground ice conditions and inform engineering assumptions for planning, field exploration, and recommendations in cold regions. This mapping can be used for route selection and site suitability studies allowing infrastructure to be constructed in areas with optimal site, soil and ground ice conditions. Identification of poor soil, areas of massive ice, and permafrost degradation affect engineering considerations, constructability, and ultimately cost. The availability and quality of granular construction materials also can greatly affect the costs and feasibility of projects and can influence site selection and routing.  In this session we welcome presentations and papers focusing on methods and project examples of geologic terrain analysis and geomorphology supporting engineering projects in permafrost and cold regions.

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40. Permafrost Thermal Analysis

Chair: Kannon Lee, PND Engineers, Inc.

The stability and integrity of structures and facilities constructed on permafrost are greatly dependent on keeping the foundation permafrost frozen. Increasing climate temperatures in regions makes the study and analysis of permafrost ground temperatures and prediction of disturbed ground more critical. This session will look at case histories, state-of-the-practice thermal analysis methods, n-value development, thaw settlement, disruption of in-situ thermal regimes due to construction of structures and facilities, influence of permafrost temperatures due to climate change, and probabilistic methods for risk of exceedance for subsurface temperature changes.

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41. Engineering Contributions for Mitigation of Environmental Hazards and Improvement of Community Resilience

Chair: Rick Mitchells, Golder Associates Inc

This session highlights engineering efforts relating to innovation; case studies; hazard assessment; engineering mitigating damage to homes, buildings, and other critical infrastructure and constriction considerations; as well as those for new design and construction limiting future impacts for environmentally impacted communities in permafrost and cold region areas and contributing to community resilience.

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42. Engineering Properties of Frozen Soils

Chair: Amy Steiner, PND Engineers, Inc.

Presentation of the latest in the engineering properties of frozen ground including but not limited to: Effect of temperature, salinity, and loading rate on soil strength, thaw settlement, strength of warm permafrost, resistivity of frozen soils, new methods for collecting frozen ground, In-situ thermal monitoring, and creep rates of frozen soils.

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43. Transportation Infrastructure in Cold Climates

Chair: Jenny Liu, Missouri University of Science and Technology

This session aims to provide a forum to discuss challenges and recent development and advances associated with materials, design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure under extreme conditions such as those in cold or higher latitude climates. This session will gather a variety topics including but not limited to: 1) Climatic effects on transportation infrastructure including issues related to expansive soils, freeze and thaw, scouring and erosion, etc., 2) Engineering behavior of transportation materials, 3) Properties of frozen and unfrozen materials, 4) Pavement performance, 5) Innovative materials and designs for climate adaptation, 6) Soil stabilization and ground improvement techniques, 7) new techniques on snow/ice control and erosion control, 8) Condition assessment and monitoring, 9) Preservation and management.

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44. Geophysics in Engineering

Chair: Rada Khadjinova, Fugro USA, Inc.

Geophysical techniques are widely used to support engineering design, construction, and monitoring of infrastructure in permafrost environments. This session broadly invites presentations related to the innovative development and application of geophysics in the context of engineering, including case studies that highlight surface-based, airborne, spaceborne, or in-situ geophysical techniques. This session will include topics such as case studies of geophysics in engineering, laboratory and field testing of geophysics to characterize permafrost, ice, or seasonal frost, multi-technique application of geophysics to improve permafrost mapping at various scale, integration of geophysical measurements to support engineering design and construction, monitoring of infrastructure with geophysics, and permafrost hazard identification and characterization along infrastructure alignments.

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45. Arctic Environmental and Engineering Data and Design Support System (Arctic-EDS)

Chair: Svetlana Stuefer, University of Alaska Fairbanks

This breakout session invites engineers and scientists to contribute to the development of the Arctic Environmental and Engineering Data and Design Support System (Arctic-EDS).  This new system will update the Environmental Atlas of Alaska, providing web-based maps of historical observations and climate projections, modules, and notebooks to aid in engineering decisions related to Alaska and other cold regions.  We are seeking engineering community engagement to provide feedback on Arctic-EDS development and input on prioritizing web-based notebooks and modules with specialized engineering calculations.  This session will be moderated by members of the Arctic-EDS team, who will introduce the project, explain the innovative modules/notebooks, and provide a working example of a project application.

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46. Pipeline Foundation Design

Chair: Joshua Greenhill, Michael Baker International

A session regarding pipeline foundation design in a warming climate. Discussion topics may include adfreeze bond strength, active layer depths, frost jacking and settlement, bedding and in-situ materials, and permafrost degradation.

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47. Construction, Mining, and Oil and Gas in Cold Regions

Chair: Jessica Worthington, Hilcorp Alaska LLC

This session will address methods of construction in permafrost for the construction, oil and gas, and mining industries. Topics will include: Factoring in climate change and design/construction methods, Industrial roadways on permafrost, Native villages on degrading permafrost and general solutions, Use of remote imaging to measure heave and subsidence, use of insulation in roads and pads, exploration and evaluation methods.

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