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Chairholder Profile

Christopher Burn

Christopher Burn

Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Carleton University

Chair Title

NSERC Northern Research Chair in Permafrost in Yukon and Northwest Territories

Chair Program

Northern Research Chair Program


Senior Chairholder since 2002


Permafrost lies beneath half of Canada, and its stability is critical for successful operation of infrastructure throughout the North. The purposes of Carletonís Northern Chair Program are:
  1. to investigate the response of permafrost terrain to changes in climate or surface conditions;
  2. to contribute to the rejuvenation of northern science by developing research partnerships with several northern agencies; and
  3. to train young people committed to a future in the North in permafrost science.
The program will also investigate the terrestrial aspects of the susceptibility of tundra ecosystems to climate change and examine the heat budget of lakes in central Yukon.

The program engages MSc and Ph.D. students at Carleton University, who work with northern agencies, and postdoctoral fellows who are hosted by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Yellowknife and Yukon College. The program builds on Professor Burnís field programs in the Yukon Territory, which began in 1982, and in the Mackenzie Delta area, which began in 1987. The program seeks to train six or seven MSc students, two or three Ph.D. candidates, and two postdoctoral fellows, all working on aspects of long- and short-term ground stability, particularly associated with the integrity of industrial and municipal structures. By locating postdoctoral fellows in the North, the program responds to immediate local demands for research expertise and assists the fellows in developing their own, hopefully long-lasting, partnerships with Yukon and NWT agencies. In all projects, our partners provide field assistance and a collaborative focus to our investigations.


  • Water Resources Division, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development/Division des ressources hydriques, ministère des Affaires indiennes et du Nord
  • Yukon College, Whitehorse/Collège du Yukon, à Whitehorse
  • Yukon Parks, Department of Environment, Yukon Territorial Government
  • Aurora Research Institute, Aurora College, Inuvik
  • Village of Mayo, Mayo, Yukon
  • First Nation of Na Cho Nyak Dun, Mayo, Yukon/Première nation des Na Cho Nyak Dun, à Mayo, au Yukon

Contact Information

Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 5B6

Tel.: 613-520-2561, ext. 3784
Fax: 613-520-4301

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