“It was very convenient to be able to connect to the workshop remotely so that I could get an update on other people’s work and so I could give an update on my research as well. I like how the network ensures everybody can attend important meetings while also helping to lower our carbon footprint.”

Ariane Castagner

In February 2020 Theme 1 organized a two-day database development meeting in Ottawa that brought together investigators, graduate students, government collaborators and the network data scientist. This was the network’s first hybrid event, with some participants joining virtually using ZOOM, a video conferencing platform. 

The event began on Thursday 6 February with a discussion about the existing ground ice maps for Canada.  Brendan O’Neill and Steve Wolfe presented the most recent GSC ground ice map (O’Neill et al. 2020), and the group discussed the possible areas for improvement and future. In the afternoon, students Joe Young, Alejandro Alvarez and Ariane Castagner presented on their research.

On Friday, Steve Kokelj introduced the NWT Thermokarst Mapping Initiative and discussed possibilities for evaluating the Ground Ice Distribution and thermokarst potential. Next, the group reviewed regional datasets that could be used to test or improve ground ice mapping; Peter Morse, Ariane Castagner, Ashley Rudy, Panya Lipovsky, Pascale Roy Léveillée, Daniel Fortier and Toni Lewkowicz each presented datasets from their study sites or area of expertise. These datasets ranged in geography from the Yukon to the Hudson Bay Lowlands to the polar deserts of the high arctic.

This was followed by a discussion of some of the key questions for the PermafrostNet Ground Ice Potential map: whether test sites should be used for evaluation (and how such and evaluation might be done!) and how the maps might move past rule-based strategies to include remotely sensed or hybrid models.

Finally, Nick Brown presented on the existing database structures that could be used for compiling diverse permafrost data for the network, and initiated discussion about how to improve the database to meet the needs of the network. This also included a discussion of how ground ice mapping efforts could benefit from the PermafrostNet partnership with CCADI. 

Photos: Nick Brown and Emma Stockton

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