Arctic Change NOAA
A near-realtime Arctic Change Indicator website

HOME
NEWS
OVERVIEW
TABLE OF INDICATORS
CLIMATE
Arctic Oscillation
Surface Temps
Stratospheric Temps
Clouds
Ocean
GLOBAL
Global Temperatures City Temps
Ocean Overturning
LAND
Roads
Permafrost
Tundra
Rivers
Waterfowl
Caribou
MARINE ECOSYSTEM
Overview
Bering Sea
Barents Sea
Greenland
ICE
Sea Ice
North Pole
Glaciers
Snow Cover
HUMAN
Socio-economic
Shishmaref
Marine Access
Canadian Marine
Roads

Land - Roads

Roads | Permafrost | Tundra | Rivers | Waterfowl | Caribou

Transportation on the frozen Arctic land depends on the use of ice roads. Rising temperatures are leading to a shortening of ice road transport seasons and the melting ice roads are creating transportation challenges. The opening dates for tundra roads in northern Alaska has shifted two months later from early November (pre-1991) to January (recent years), dramatically decreasing the potential work period during which ice roads can be used for transportation. It should be noted that the decrease in time of tundra travel is not only a function of warming, but also of changes in regulatory criteria.

Recently, the ice road season has been extended by using low impact vehicles for initial pre-packing activities, careful choice of routes based on vegetation and landforms that are more resistent to damage, amending with snow and/or ice chips and new methods of ice road construction (Reference: 2013 Arctic/Cold Regions Oil Pipeline Conference Report (Final Jan 2014), available from the Alaska Departent of Environmental Conservation).

Number of travel days for oil exploration
Access road ice
   

Winter travel season lengths from 1969 to 2013 (blue is tundra travel; green is ice road travel). From 2013 Arctic/Cold Regions Oil Pipeline Conference Report (Final Jan 2014), available from the Alaska Departent of Environmental Conservation. Click for larger figure.

Ice road transport.
From the Malik project at the USGS.

Find more information (references and websites):