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1 August 2004 Permafrost and Infrastructure in the Usa Basin (Northeast European Russia): Possible Impacts of Global Warming
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Abstract
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’ permafrost area, here defined as the zones of isolated to discontinuous permafrost (3–90% coverage) with ‘warm’ ground temperatures (0 to −2°C). 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 pay back over time.
Galina Mazhitova, Nanka Karstkarel, Naum Oberman, Vladimir Romanovsky and Peter Kuhry "Permafrost and Infrastructure in the Usa Basin (Northeast European Russia): Possible Impacts of Global Warming," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 33(6), (1 August 2004). https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-33.6.289
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