Permafrost and infrastructure in the Usa Basin (Northeast European Russia): Possible impacts of global warming

Mazhitova, G., Karstkarel, N., Oberman, N., Romanovsky, V. & Kuhry, P., Aug-2004, In : Ambio. 33, 6, p. 289-294 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • G. Mazhitova
  • N. Karstkarel
  • N. Oberman
  • V. Romanovsky
  • P. Kuhry

The relationship between permafrost conditions and the distribution of infrastructure in the Usa Basin, Northeast European Russia, is analyzed. About 75% of the Basin is underlain by permafrost terrain with various degrees of continuity (isolated patches to continuous permafrost). The region has a high level of urban and industrial development (e.g., towns, coal mines, hydrocarbon extraction sites, railway, pipelines). GIS-analyses indicate that about 60% of all infrastructure is located in the 'high risk' perma-frost area, here defined as the zones of isolated to discontinuous permafrost (3-90% coverage) with 'warm' ground temperatures (0 to -2degreesC). Ground monitoring, aerial photo interpretation, and permafrost modeling suggest a differential response to future global warming. Most of the permafrost-affected terrain will likely start to thaw within a few decades to a century. This forecast poses serious challenges to permafrost engineering and calls for long-term investments in adequate infrastructure that will payback overtime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-294
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2004


  • GCM

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