Horizon 2020 Nunataryuk project kicks off

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This new Blue Growth/Arctic project will determine the impacts of thawing land, coast and subsea permafrost on global climate and on Arctic populations. It will also contribute to develop targeted and co-designed adaptation and mitigation strategies. 


The thawing of permafrost – which is the ground that has been frozen for at least 2 years, rock and soil included – exposes coastal areas and nearshore areas to rapid changes such as coastal erosion, release of nutrients in the sea, instable infrastructures (roads, water supply chains and so on), impact on biodiversity, release of gases in the atmosphere (CO2, methane and so forth)

Given that most human activities in the Arctic take place along permafrost coasts, this changing environment impacts significantly the life of local communities and Indigenous peoples, as well as the development and planning of economic activities. 



Towards a better understanding of permafrost thawing

Nunataryuk translates as "land to sea" in Inuvialuit, a traditional language spoken on the Western coast of Canada, being coasts the interface between land and sea.

The project will have several main objectives, most notably:

  • To develop quantitative understanding of the fluxes and fates of organic matter released from thawing coastal and subsea permafrost;
  • To assess what risks are posed by thawing coastal permafrost, to infrastructure, indigenous and local communities and people’s health, and from pollution;
  • To use this understanding to estimate the long-term impacts of permafrost thawing on global climate and the economy.

The NUNATARYUK project's key features

  • Combination of physical sciences – to quantify the impact of permafrost thawing – and of social sciences – to measure the impacts on health, on costal infrastructure, on the management of resources.
  • Consultation of the local communities and Indigenous people in the design of adaptation strategies
  • International dimension/science diplomacy: Canadian partners, cooperation with Russia
  • It is also part of the EU Arctic cluster which is made of several Horizon 2020 Arctic projects.

The Nunataryuk project kick off meeting took place on 22-24 November 2017 in Potsdam, Germany. 


Do you want to know more about the project? You can check NUNATARYUK's website and its Facebook page.

Are you interested in the Arctic? Check our data hub and find all the Horizon 2020 projects on this topic that have already been funded: 


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