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Thawing permafrost costing NWT millions each year

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 5:30 PM - Thawing permafrost causes approximately $51 million in damages to city infrastructure in Northwest Territories annually, according to a new study.

The data, collected by the Northwest Territories Association of Communities, suggests The Beaufort Delta region and Tuktoyaktuk are among the hardest-hit communities.

"It's at the tipping point now," Sara Brown, the assciation's CEO, told the CBC.

"They very heavily rely on the permafrost for their foundation so that makes them very vulnerable."

The federal government has had to step in to cover the costs, which exceed the budgets of local and territorial governments.

Brown will be meeting with federal ministers in Ottawa this week to discuss the high costs of climate change, as well as remediation techniques to repair and prevent further damage to buildings in NWT.

Experts say the territory's melting permafrost is part of a global trend associated with climate change.

When permafrost melts, it can release greenhouse gases and promote erosion and the formation of landslides.

In May, scientists warned that melting permafrost could lead to the release of ancient viruses and bacterium and create the potential for a disease outbreak.

VIDEO: Doomsday vault breached by melting permafrost:

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