MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. Specialists of the Ministry for Development of the Far East and Arctic plan to restore the system to monitor the permafrost’s conditions in the Russian Arctic and to forecast its degradation. The system’s draft is due by the yearend, Minister Alexander Kozlov told reporters.
Construction of new buildings and conditions of existing buildings depend on the permafrost. The recent spill of fuel in Norilsk may be explained by thawing of the permafrost and consequent subsidence of a pad under the fuel tank.
"In the 1990s, the Soviet system to monitor soil changes collapsed. <…> That system has not been recovered. We want to use modern technologies to build a new system to monitor changes in the permafrost soils," the minister said, adding the project’s draft is due by end of 2020.
Back in the USSR, special commissions used the monitoring data to give recommendations in construction and in use of infrastructures. This work stopped in the 1990s, the minister continued, adding it would be cheaper and more reasonable to restore the system than to face accidents.
Cryo-geology specialists and the ministry’s experts have begun studies of the permafrost. First of all, they will collect information about soils in the Arctic. Secondly, they will specify locations for necessary installation of monitoring equipment. And finally, they will offer methods to use data about the permafrost’s conditions - how to respond to changing conditions and how to manage the processes.
"Why do we need it? Experts say, every year our losses from the thawing permafrost are between 50 and 150 billion rubles ($732 million - 2.2 billion). This is a rough estimation, and our task is to make precise calculations," the minister said. "In addition to this, the cryo-geology specialists will offer algorithms for different objects: houses, roads, pipelines, etc.".