Road and river transport in Central Yakutia, East Siberia, Russia

This case study focuses on production of climate impact indicators relevant for transport on roads and rivers in Central Yakutia, East Siberia, Russia. Indicators will be related to climate driven changes of permafrost thawing and river ice regime with impact on road stability and availability of ice roads and river ferry transportation. Current changes and future projections of road stability, operational period of ice road and ferry at the main transport hub in Yakutia will be assessed.


Issue to be addressed

Rivers are important transportation routes in many parts of Siberia, both in winter and summer, due to the absence of railway, bridges and limited number of roads on land. In Eastern Siberia many settlements are only accessible by rivers and air. Mean annual air temperature has increased from -10.4 °C (1951-1978) to -8.7 °C (1979-2012) according to meteorological record in Yakutsk. Observed and projected climate warming is expected to influence duration of navigation season, operation of ice roads and stability of roads constructed on perennially frozen ground that is subject to thaw. Roads constructed on ice-rich permafrost are especially vulnerable to climate warming as deeper summer-ground thaw could lead to ground subsidence, road damage and collapse. The navigation season and operational period of the winter ice roads is dependent on river ice break-up and freeze-up dates as well as ice thickness.

Decision support to client

On the basis of easy-to-understand information on observed and projected duration of navigation season and operation of ice roads and short assessment of stability of roads constructed on permafrost, improvements of road exploitation strategies are expected. The outputs should serve as input for decision making regarding transportation policy and investment into roads maintenance.

Temporal and spatial scale

The most complete and high-quality local data are available for the period 1966-2014 that will be used in the climate impact indicators (CIIs) production. Future projections of CIIs will be made for the nearest thirty years.

CIIs will be produced for the ice roads and ferry at the main local transport hub – Lena River at Yakutsk. Road stability will be evaluated for three main roads in the most densely populated central part of Yakutia.

Knowledge brokering

Interaction with the clients in our attempts to fill the gap between observational data, science and the client needs will be organized through official correspondence and personal communication. Telephone and email communication will be used to share information about on-going work, make clarifications and decide details for coming steps. The project outputs will be delivered to interested stakeholders through face-to-face meetings and short final report. Client feedback will be asked and considered for quality control and assurance that we provide the decision support that the client actually needs.



Poster displayed at the Kick–Off meeting, 7/8 September 2017, Norrköping, Sweden

Road on ice, East Siberia, Russia