Permafrost Research


This is one of ten sites in the Dawson area where climate change effects on permafrost (perennially frozen round) have been examined since 2007. This region experiences among the greatest range of temperatures in Canada because the nearest ocean that can moderate the climate is 500 km away.


Site Measurements

Average air temperature-4.3ºC
Minimum air temperature-49ºC
Maximum air temperature-32ºC
Average ground surface temperature-2.0ºC
Average temperature at a depth of 50 cm1.8ºC
Average snow depth (October to April)30 cm
Typical maximum snow depth40-60 cm


Dawson City is in the extensive discontinuous permafrost zone and more than half of the townsite is underlain by permafrost. However, there is no permafrost at this site. The site is warmer than the valley floor where cold, dense air often pools in winter. Also, the snowpack forms a seasonal insulating blanket, resulting in the ground being warmer than the air.

Permafrost Monitoring Station

Please do not disturb the instruments. Monitoring is continuing to examine the response of this non-permafrost site to annual variations and long-term changes in air temperature and snow depths.