Permafrost thaw is a complex process resulting from interactions between the atmosphere, soil, water and vegetation. Although advective heat transport by groundwater at depth likely plays a significant role in permafrost dynamics at many sites, there is lack
of direct measurements of groundwater flow patterns and fluxes in such cold-region environments..
Nagaré’s technology was used to measure in-situ groundwater fluxes in two sandy aquifers in the discontinuous permafrost zone, within a small watershed near Umiujaq, Nunavik (Quebec), Canada.
Apparent Darcy fluxes mesured on site varied from 0.5 × 10−5 to 1.0 × 10−5 m/s, implying that advective heat
transport from groundwater flow could be contributing to rapid permafrost thaw at this site.
In providing estimates of the Darcy fluxes at the local scale of the well screens, the approach offers more accurate and direct measurements over indirect estimates using Darcy’s law. The tests show that this method can be successfully used in remote areas and with limited resources.
This study was the subject of a scientific publication: