Melting permafrost caused the 2000 gallon fuel tank to tilt and slide 4 or 5 feet. Also the underground propane tanks outline is visible. The propane tanks are empty, they did not want to refill them. They have started on a plan to empty the fuel tank and relocate it or fix the foundation.
Permafrost distribution is discontinuous in that area but a substantial area is underlined by it. Last year was normal in terms of air temperature. However, the previous 4 years were much warmer with 2017 and 2019 being the warmest years for the entire records started in the beginning of the 1940s. Those 4 years triggered thawing of permafrost in many locations in the Interior and on the Seward Peninsula and starting new or activating old thermokarst and soil surface subsiding. In many places now the winter soil freezing is not reaching the surface of permafrost keeping soil between the seasonal frost and permafrost not frozen for the entire year. Depending on the temperature conditions in the next several years, this process can develop further (if the warming will continue) or the situation may get more stable if we will have colder and less snowy winters for the next few years. However, according to climate predictions this stabilisation will be temporary and the degradation of permafrost will continue in the future.
Comments from LEO Editors:
This observation has been shared with ANTHC Contamination Support, Engineering and Project Management programs, the Environmental Health Program at the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Permafrost thaw is affecting infrastructure across Alaska, changing the landscape in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, causing building foundations to sink, and increasing rates of erosion along the coast. Temperatures across the state are rising, but localized temperature changes may influence permafrost thaw in a specific area. Near Tetlin, annualized temperature data collected at the Northway Airport fell close to the 1980-2010 normal, but year after year have been trending warmer since the 1970s.
Underground Propane Tanks Visible due to Permafrost Thaw
Annualized Temperature Data Collected at the Northway Airport
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium/ 8 Dec 2015
The ANTHC Contamination Support Program supports Alaska Tribal partners to assess, manage, and monitor contamination affecting land, food, and water in their communities. This program is graciously supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Tayor, Stanley and Vladimir Romanovsky.2020.Permafrost melting is causing above and below ground tanks to shift.LEO Network (leonetwork.org).Accessed 27 October 2021.