Ice cellars are a natural form of refrigeration constructed within permafrost. They are traditionally employed by indigenous Arctic peoples to store harvested wildlife. Recent reports from Alaska indicate that ice cellars are “failing” through mechanisms that include flooding and collapse, which are often attributed to climate change. In cooperation with local stakeholders, we instrumented five cellars to record internal air temperature in Barrow, Alaska. A decade of thermal monitoring (2005–2015) revealed little thermal change. A survey was also conducted to identify all known ice cellar locations in Barrow. A total of seventy-one cellars were catalogued and mapped. The large number of catalogued cellars shows the importance and great potential loss for the Barrow community if widespread failures were to occur. Although climate change has considerable potential for affecting ice cellars, sediment chemistry, local hydrology, and urbanization are also important impacting factors.
- ice cellar
- thermal regime