Transcript: Climate Watch Shorts: Melting permafrost | Jan 03, 2017

A black spinning globe appears next to the caption "TVO Climate Change Shorts."

A caption reads "Nam Kiwanuka. Climate Watch Shorts host."

Nam has curly brown hair and wears glasses, a denim shirt and a black green blazer.

She says WELCOME TO
CLIMATE
WATCH SHORTS
WHERE WE EXAMINE THE LOCAL
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
PERMAFROST IS AN UNDERGROUND
LAYER OF SOIL OR ROCK
THAT STAYS FROZEN
ALL YEAR ROUND.
BUT IN RECENT YEARS
THIS ONCE PERMANENT LAYER
OF ICE BELOW THE SURFACE
HAS BEEN THAWING.
WE TRAVELLED TO POLAR
BEAR PROVINCIAL PARK
IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
TO FIND OUT MORE.

Images of the park appear.

The caption changes to "Sammie Hunter. Wilderness guide."

Sammie is in his late forties, with short black hair and wears glasses, a black jacket, black gloves and a camouflage cap hat.

Sammie says ABOUT 40 YEARS AGO WHEN I
WAS A YOUNG MAN, MAYBE NINE,
EIGHT YEARS OLD WE
COULDN'T GO OUT TO THE BAY
FROM WHERE WE WERE LIVING.
WHICH WAS ABOUT 2
MILES, I GUESS.
AND THEN IT USED
TO BE LIKE A BOG.
YOU WOULD GO ALMOST DOWN
TO YOUR KNEES TO GO THERE.
BUT NOW YOU CAN WALK
THERE WITH RUNNING SHOES.
IT'S REALLY, REALLY DRY.
AND I THINK WHAT'S HAPPENING
IS THAT THE PERMAFROST IS
ALL MELTING UNDER THE
GROUND, AND THE WATER'S
KIND OF LIKE GOING UNDER
OR MOVING SOMEWHERE.
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF ICE
DECAY, TOO, ON THE RIVERBANK,
A LOT OF LANDSLIDES.
THEY'RE VERY NOTICEABLE.
ESPECIALLY THE LAST
FIVE, TEN YEARS.

Sammie gets on a boat and says THEY CALL IT ICE DECAY.
BASICALLY WHEN THERE'S FROST
UNDER THE GROUND THAT'S
BEEN THERE FOR THOUSANDS OF
YEARS SINCE THE LAST ICE AGE.
BUT IT'S BEEN MELTING
RECENTLY PRETTY FAST.
AND WITH THAT HAPPENING
THE ICE THAT'S HOLDING THE
SILT, OR THE EARTH, IS
MELTING AND JUST LIKE
FALLING APART, CRACKING.
AND SINCE IT'S IN A RIVER
IT CAUSES LANDSLIDES.
THERE'S A BIG HUGE ONE
HERE THAT'S LIKE 300 FEET.
IT GOES ALL THE WAY IN.
SEE HOW BIG IT IS?
IT USED TO BE A RIVERBANK.
IT GOES ALL THE
WAY BACK THERE.
SEE IT?
WAY, WAY BACK THERE,
THAT'S HOW BIG IT IS.
IT'S HUGE.

The caption changes to "Ryley Beddoe. Assistant Professor of geotechnical engineering, York University."

Ryley is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair in a bun. She wears glasses and a white sweater.

She says CERTAINLY IT'S A FLUCTUATION
THAT HAPPENED OVER TIME.
BUT WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS
THAT IT'S HAPPENING AT
AN INCREASED RATE,
I GUESS YOU COULD SAY.
AND SO WHAT PREVIOUSLY
WOULD HAVE BEEN FROZEN,
WE'RE NOW SEEING THAT
IT'S STARTING TO THAW.
AND SO WHAT WE'RE GETTING
IS DISCONTINUOUS PERMAFROST
IN AREAS WHERE WE USED
TO HAVE CONTINUOUS,
SO EVERYTHING WAS FROZEN.
NOW WE'RE GETTING MUCH
MORE AREAS OF DISCONTINUOUS
PERMAFROST OR IT'S
DISAPPEARING ALTOGETHER
IN THOSE REGIONS.
THE DEGRADATION IS QUITE
CLEAR WHEN YOU LOOK AT
ALL OF THESE ONCE WERE
STABLE SLOPES AND STABLE
BANKS OF RIVERS, THEY'RE
NOW JUST ERODING AND
YOU'RE SEEING THESE
RETROGRESSIVE FAILURES
BECOME LARGER AND LARGER.

Sammie says WE HAVE A MOONSCAPE, THERE'S
SO MANY HOLES HERE AND THERE.
AND THEY USED TO BE FILLED
WITH WATER YEAR ROUND,
BUT NOW THEY'RE ALL
DRY IN THE SUMMER.

Rylye says IT'S REALLY WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND
HOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN
THE WORLD IS
IMPACTING PEOPLE.
AS A RESEARCHER, THAT'S
WHAT DRIVES MY RESEARCH.
I WANT TO BE ABLE TO
COME UP WITH SOLUTIONS.
AS CLIMATE IS CHANGING, HOW
DO WE THEN PROTECT PEOPLE?
HOW DO WE PROTECT THEIR
COMMUNITIES, THEIR HOMES,
THEIR LIVELIHOOD?
AND ON THE BIG SCALE,
HOW DO WE MAKE SURE
THAT OUR INFRASTRUCTURE IN
CANADA ISN'T GOING TO BE
IMPACTED BY CHANGES
TO PERMAFROST?

(music plays)

A caption reads "tvo.org/climatewatch."

Watch: Climate Watch Shorts: Melting permafrost