Post-Doctoral Fellowship synthesizing observations to develop a responsive monitoring network.

Posted: July 13, 2021
Anticipated start:  January 2022
Supervisory team: Trevor Lantz (University of Victoria) and Stephan Gruber (Carleton University)

NSERC PermafrostNet is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to lead cross-scale synthesis activities exploring the determinants of thaw sensitivity in the Canadian Arctic.

Network research utilizing: ground-based measurements, terrain mapping, Indigenous knowledge, remote sensing, and modelling, offer a range of novel synthesis opportunities.

We welcome applications from researchers from a range of disciplines including, but not limited to: permafrost science, landscape ecology, geomatics, physical geography, and geology. The successful candidate will work with network partners to identify best practices for detecting and quantifying permafrost change in a variety of contexts. 

This is a two-year position with an opportunity for a one-year extension. This position is based at the University of Victoria, and will also involve travel to work with our partners and with the group at Carleton University. 

The annual stipend for this position is $58,000 plus benefits. Support for travel to conferences is available for the duration of the project. 

The University of Victoria and NSERC PermafrostNet are strongly committed to fostering diversity as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to further diversification including, but not limited to women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expressions.

To apply, please send a letter describing your qualifications and specific interests, a complete CV, and the contact information of three references to Dr. Trevor Lantz (tlantz@uvic.ca). Questions can be directed to Dr. Trevor Lantz or Dr. Stephan Gruber (Stephan.Gruber@carleton.ca). The deadline for applications is August 16, 2021.

PhD in permafrost thaw and its impacts on communities in the Western Arctic.

Posted: October 16, 2020
Anticipated start:  January 2021 or September 2021
Supervisory team: Dr. Trevor Lantz

The Arctic Landscape Ecology Lab at the University of Victoria is seeking a PhD student to join a team of researchers exploring permafrost thaw and its impacts on communities in the Western Arctic.

Permafrost landscapes are undergoing changes that affect ecosystems, local livelihoods, and infrastructure. To understand the impacts of these changes and place them in a longer-term context we are collaborating with land users from Inuvialuit and Gwich’in communities. Specific objectives include documenting: 1) traditional knowledge related to permafrost, 2) the historical range of variation in permafrost conditions, and 3) local observations of anomalous permafrost conditions. The student that takes on this PhD project will also contribute to the development of an observer-driven permafrost monitoring program.

Interested applicants should hold a graduate degree (MA/MSc) in indigenous studies, anthropology, geography, or related field, and have experience conducting and analysing semi-structured interviews. Applicants must be self-motivated, have strong communication skills, the ability to manage multiple tasks, and be willing to travel to remote locations, potentially for extended periods. Preference will be given to students with previous experience in northern communities and a background in GIS.

Stipend funding of $21,000 per year is guaranteed for four years and support for travel to communities in the Western Canadian Arctic is also in place.

This research project is part of NSERC PermafrostNet, a multi-sectorial research network of twelve Canadian universities and more than 40 partner organisations. As a member of the network, the successful applicant will have opportunities to engage with government (provincial, federal, indigenous), industry, and international partners, as well as graduate students and researchers from across Canada.  

The Arctic Landscape Ecology Lab and NSERC PermafrostNet are strongly committed to fostering diversity as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to further diversification including, but not limited to women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

The student will be supervised by Dr. Trevor Lantz and based in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. To apply, please email a summary of your qualifications and interest in this project, along with a CV, and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Trevor Lantz (tlantz@uvic.ca). The deadline for applications is November 2, 2020.

MSc in sustainable culvert design over degrading permafrost, Hudson Bay railway

Posted: September 10, 2019
Anticipated start:  September 2021 (flexible)
Supervisory team: Dr. Shawn Kenny and Dr. Ryley Beddoe

The performance and integrity of northern linear infrastructure, such as railway lines and road networks, may be affected by ground deformation geohazards (e.g. subsidence, slope instability, permafrost degradation), which may be influenced by hydrology and climate change effects.

Recent flooding events caused an extensive disruption to service on the Hudson Bay rail line, with damage to bridges and culverts, and failure of the rail bed due to washout. A significant effort was undertaken to restore railway operations that included the installation of several culverts. The significance of climate change effects, such as future flood events and permafrost degradation, on the future performance of the railway culvert infrastructure requires further assessment. From this perspective, the research study will assess the resilience of current design standards and practices for railway culverts located in permafrost environments.  Supported by the research effort of other team members in the PermafrostNet network, site characterization (e.g. topographic, meteorological, hydrological, geotechnical, geophysical, permafrost attributes) of several culvert locations, for both original and recent installations, will be established. Centrifuge physical modelling and numerical simulation techniques may be used to assess these failure events, based on available knowledge, and estimate future performance, based on climate scenarios developed within the PermafrostNet research activities

We are seeking a highly motivated and engaged MSc candidate, to be enrolled in a civil engineering graduate studies program, with academic interests in the fields of geotechnical and permafrost sciences, site or field investigations, physical modelling and numerical simulation. The MSc candidate will be an integral team member of a multi-disciplinary supervisory committee and collaborate with other team members within the PermafrostNet network. All applications will be reviewed by the selection committee with respect to academic qualifications and integration within the network through the PermafrostNet lens on equity, diversity and inclusion. For more information on this project, please contact shawn.kenny@carleton.ca.

PhD in remote sensing of permafrost landscape change

Posted: July 14, 2020
Anticipated start:  January 2021
Supervisory team: Dr. Trevor Lantz and Dr. Robert Fraser

The Arctic Landscape Ecology Lab at the University of Victoria is seeking a PhD student to lead a research project: 1) mapping permafrost landscape change and 2) assessing the determinants of terrain sensitivity.

In many permafrost regions, the frequency of thaw-related disturbances is increasing so rapidly that maintaining accurate inventories presents a significant challenge. The first objective of this project is to develop semi-automated procedures to map permafrost terrain disturbances using satellite imagery (e.g., Landsat, WorldView, Sentinel). The second objective is to determine the biophysical controls of terrain sensitivity by analyzing the disturbance inventories generated through mapping. By identifying sensitive areas and increasing our capacity to monitor change, this project will significantly inform decision making in northern communities and regions affected by permafrost thaw. 

Interested applicants should have an MSc in geography, environmental science, earth science, or related field, and previous experience with remote sensing, GIS and statistics. Applicants must be self-motivated, have strong communication skills, experience managing multiple tasks, and be willing to travel to the Canadian Arctic for fieldwork. Previous experience in permafrost environments is an asset, but is not vital.

An annual stipend of $21,000 (plus benefits) is guaranteed for four years and additional support for field and conference travel is available for the duration of the project.

This research project is part of NSERC PermafrostNet, a multi-sectorial research network of twelve Canadian universities and more than 40 partner organisations. As a member of the network, the successful applicant will have opportunities to engage with government (provincial, federal, indigenous), industry, and international partners, as well as graduate students and researchers from across Canada.  

The University of Victoria and NSERC PermafrostNet are strongly committed to fostering diversity as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to further diversification including, but not limited to, women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expressions.

To apply, please send a cover letter describing your qualifications and interest in this project, a complete CV, and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Trevor Lantz (tlantz@uvic.ca). Questions should be directed to Dr. Trevor Lantz (tlantz@uvic.ca) or Dr. Robert Fraser (robert.fraser@canada.ca).

MSc in sustainable culvert design over degrading permafrost, Hudson Bay railway

Posted: September 10, 2019
Anticipated start:  September 2021 (flexible)
Supervisory team: Dr. Shawn Kenny and Dr. Ryley Beddoe

The performance and integrity of northern linear infrastructure, such as railway lines and road networks, may be affected by ground deformation geohazards (e.g. subsidence, slope instability, permafrost degradation), which may be influenced by hydrology and climate change effects.

Recent flooding events caused an extensive disruption to service on the Hudson Bay rail line, with damage to bridges and culverts, and failure of the rail bed due to washout. A significant effort was undertaken to restore railway operations that included the installation of several culverts. The significance of climate change effects, such as future flood events and permafrost degradation, on the future performance of the railway culvert infrastructure requires further assessment. From this perspective, the research study will assess the resilience of current design standards and practices for railway culverts located in permafrost environments.  Supported by the research effort of other team members in the PermafrostNet network, site characterization (e.g. topographic, meteorological, hydrological, geotechnical, geophysical, permafrost attributes) of several culvert locations, for both original and recent installations, will be established. Centrifuge physical modelling and numerical simulation techniques may be used to assess these failure events, based on available knowledge, and estimate future performance, based on climate scenarios developed within the PermafrostNet research activities

We are seeking a highly motivated and engaged MSc candidate, to be enrolled in a civil engineering graduate studies program, with academic interests in the fields of geotechnical and permafrost sciences, site or field investigations, physical modelling and numerical simulation. The MSc candidate will be an integral team member of a multi-disciplinary supervisory committee and collaborate with other team members within the PermafrostNet network. All applications will be reviewed by the selection committee with respect to academic qualifications and integration within the network through the PermafrostNet lens on equity, diversity and inclusion. For more information on this project, please contact shawn.kenny@carleton.ca.

PhD in simulation of permafrost change and quantification of confidence in resulting data products

Posted: April 27, 2020 (update)
Anticipated start: Fall (September) term 2020, with flexibility in responding to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.   
Supervisory team: Stephan Gruber (Carleton University), Joe Melton (University of Victoria / Environment and Climate Change Canada), Trevor Lantz (University of Victoria) and Steve Kokelj (Northwest Territories Geological Survey).

This project will develop methods and tools for evaluating permafrost models with observational data. This is important because the lack of meaningful and quantitative evaluation of permafrost simulation results impedes the improvement of simulation tools and the use of their outputs for informing adaptation design or policy. This project will use the database compiled in NSERC PermafrostNet (PINGO) as a source of observational evidence to provide confidence in simulation-based permafrost climate services. With practical application of simulation results in mind, this project will comprehensively investigate how well ground temperature change and ground-ice loss can be predicted. For this, ensemble permafrost predictions will be analyzed in terms of error and uncertainty. Ensembles will use multiple re-analyses, downscaled heuristically, as driving climate, multiple models as well as multiple parameter and input data sets (e.g., estimated ground ice distribution, vegetation) for perturbed physics simulations in each model. Error and uncertainty will be statistically decomposed with respect to their likely origins to better inform model development and the use of model results. This quantitative evaluation will be complemented by investigating face validity, a concept developed to capture the trust that diverse experts, such as model developers, permafrost field scientists and northerners, place in simulation results based on subjective assessment. This will allow to better utilise the diverse expertise in the network for identifying and assessing known unknowns in simulations and to develop ways of communicating these to modelers and stakeholders. The combination of statistical evaluation with face validity will improve the dialogue between model developers and users of simulation results and thereby reduce barriers to the acceptance and uptake of simulation products.

This fully funded PhD studentship will be based at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. As part of NSERC PermafrostNet, the new Permafrost Partnership Network for Canada (permafrostnet.ca), it will have an outstanding training environment.

The successful candidate will have (1) a master’s degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., geography, Earth science, geophysics, soil physics, atmospheric science, environmental engineering or geotechnical engineering); (2) demonstrated skill in programming and data analysis; (3) previous experience (or a demonstrated interest) in cold regions; as well as (4) excellent written communication in English.

This PhD studentship is fully funded for twelve months per year, for up to four years. International students are eligible to receive a bursary that will reduce their tuition to the amount paid by domestic PhD students.

To apply, Send a cover letter, c.v., copies of transcripts, a writing sample, and contact details for three references to Stephan Gruber (stephan.gruber@carleton.ca). Applications will be received until the position is filled.

PhD in thaw pond initiation and evolution pathways

Posted: June 27, 2019
Anticipated start: September 2019 (or as soon as possible) 
Supervisory team: Dr. Pascale Roy-Léveillée, Dr. Merritt Turetsky, Dr. Trevor Lantz, Dr. Peter Morse

This position will elucidate controls on 1) the initiation of thaw lakes and ponds, 2) variation in rates of expansion, and 3) pathways of stabilization and permafrost recovery post stabilization. Field work will take place in thermokarst-affected lowlands between the Blackstone Uplands (YT) and Tuktoyuktuk (NWT). The position will develop predictive models based on the interacting effects of paleogeography (deposits and ice), climate, topography, snow cover, and vegetation growth within thaw ponds. This work will support the development of a lowland thermokarst hazard assessment framework to support the effective evaluation and management of risks associated with signs of thermokarst initiation near existing or planned infrastructure, traditional travel routes and areas of cultural significance, sensitive wildlife habitat, etc. For more info on the project contact proyleveillee@laurentian.ca.

MSc in thaw-related landscape change in Weenusk Traditional Territory

Posted: June 27, 2019
Anticipated start: September 2022 (flexible) 
Supervisory team: Dr. Pascale Roy-Léveillée, Dr. Maara Packalen, Dr. Trevor Lantz, Dr. Peter Pulsifier

In Weenusk First Nation’s traditional territory, near the Hudson Bay coast, local residents report widespread signs of permafrost degradation: degrading palsas and peat plateaus, widespread ground wetness, and changes in vegetation cover. These changes affect local access to country food by impeding overland travel and modifying the habitat of species key for local food security. This MSc will work in collaboration with community members and use remotely-sensed imagery and ground observations to map changes in moisture, vegetation, and extent of palsas and peat plateaus using object-based analysis. This work will support on-going community-based monitoring initiatives by creating maps of changing conditions at the territory scale that can be overlain with maps of trails, family areas, and sites of cultural significance. For more info on the project contact proyleveillee@laurentian.ca.