Mean near-surface ground temperatures in upland terrain near Inuvik range between -4°C and -1.2°C and the thickness of permafrost is about 90m. The warm permafrost is due to the relatively deep snow cover that accumulates in the open-canopy forest. Changes in surface conditions may lead to permafrost degradation in this environment, as is evident from elevated ground temperatures beneath disturbed surfaces in a gravel pit, in terrain burned by forest fire and where the snow depth has been increased by fencing. The values for mean annual ground temperature near Inuvik are lower end-members of the distribution of ground temperatures in the boreal forests of northwest Canada. The range in the mean temperature of near-surface permafrost throughout this 1200-km wide belt (from 0°C to about -4°C) is comparable to the range over 100km northwards from Inuvik across the treeline (from about -4°C to -8°C).

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Permafrost and Periglacial Processes
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Burn, C, Mackay, J.R., & Kokelj, S.V. (2009). The thermal regime of permafrost and its susceptibility to degradation in upland terrain near Inuvik, N.W.T. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 20(2), 221–227. doi:10.1002/ppp.649