The session will build on the successful field trip along the Dalton Highway offered during the 2008 Ninth International Conference on Permafrost. The event will begin with lectures given in Fairbanks by experts in numerous physical and biological arctic sciences. The focus will be on permafrost, including its distribution, how it forms, its variable nature, the effects of climate change, and how permafrost affects arctic ecosystems, infrastructure, and the people who live in northern regions. Special emphasis will be placed on the complex interactions between climate, soils, vegetation, and permafrost.
Lecturers will describe the current state of knowledge, disciplinal links, and research gaps. The classroom lessons will be followed with expert guides offering an in-depth view of the landscapes and research along the Dalton Highway, one of North America's most remote and scenic highways. Major themes will include permafrost and ecosystem variation along the arctic climate gradient, biocomplexity of patterned ground, and arctic engineering.

Students will visit long-term research sites at Bonanza Creek, Toolik Lake, and Imnavait Creek. The road trip will end with a tour of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. Each day of the field trip will focus on aspects of interactions within the climate-ecosystem-permafrost system. The climate gradient along the Dalton Highway will be used to examine the effects of climate change on permafrost environments. Engineers involved in the construction of infrastructure underlain by discontinuous-continuous permafrost will present the detailed story of how engineering problems are solved during and after construction.

The aim of the summer school is to encourage the participants to communicate across science fields and to examine connections between permafrost and other disciplines at various scales. Group mini-projects will be an important component of the summer school, which culminates in a workshop aimed at defining the future interdisciplinary research needs. The workshop will build on group projects where participants present their views of promising research at the interfaces of the relevant disciplines. Summer school participants, in close interaction with senior experts, will be encouraged to develop and refine the outcome of the workshop through a white (synthesis) paper that can serve the larger scientific community.

IARC will provide travel support from the students' home institutions to Fairbanks and cover summer school-related expenses associated with the students' stay in Fairbanks and the Dalton Highway road trip. The summer school is sponsored by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs, Arctic Science Division and by the U.S. Permafrost Association.

Graduate students and early career scientists in relevant fields are encouraged to apply for participation in the summer school. Advanced undergraduate students with strong qualifications will also be considered.

Application packages should include the application form (which can be downloaded here), a curriculum vitae, and letter of support from a supervisor. Completed applications should be sent electronically to Tohru Saito (

Application Deadline: Monday, 15 February 2010.

For further information, please go to:

Or contact:
Tohru Saito