DTU Civil Engineering

The Center for Arctic Technology (ARTEK) at DTU Civil Engineering,collaborates with the government in Greenland and the public water and electricity supply company, Nukissiorfiit, on a research project aiming to understand the geotechnical challenges and their social impacts in Arctic communities under the influence of climate change. 

The town Qaanaaq community located in the North Eastern part of  Greenland is located on a slope of permafrost sediments, resulting in a series of challenges in relation to the foundations of buildings and infrastructure. Houses are experiencing settlement damage as a result of thawing permafrost and essential infrastructure is threatened by climate induced changes. The community water supply is based on water from the river during four summer months. In winter ice from icebergs grounded by the winter sea ice is collected and melted. In the intermediate periods (when the river is dry and the sea ice not stable enough to reach the icebergs), water is stored in tanks. A combination of population growth, increased demand and changes in seasonality due to climate change causing shorter periods where ice can be retrieved and melted, increases the need for water extraction or storage capacity.

A prerequisite for tackling these challenges is a sufficient knowledge of the local geotechnical conditions. No previous detailed geotechnical investigations have ever been conducted in the Qaanaaq area, in spite of the fact that the community is expanding and a 900 m gravel airstrip has been established. Centre for Arctic Technology (ARTEK) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has therefore initiated a research project aimed at understanding the Geotechnical challenges and their social impacts in small Arctic communities in permafrost areas under the influence of a changing climate, exemplified by the situation in Qaanaaq. The project will conduct a field campaign in Qaanaaq in July/August 2017, and is conducted by ARTEK (contact persons : Kåre Hendriksen, Associate Professor, and Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen, associate Professor)  in cooperation with the Greenland Government and Nukissiorfiit, the public Greenlandic water and electricity supply company. 

Public Collaboration


Lisbeth M. Ottosen
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 22 60