Svalbard airport runway. Performance during a climate warming scenario.

Artikkel publisert på the 7th International Conference on Bearing Capacity of Roads and Airfields (BCRA), Trondheim, Norway, June 27-29, 2005.

ABSTRACT: Svalbard airport runway (N78°14’, E15°30’) is constructed on continuous permafrost near the main settlement in the Svalbard archipelago, Longyearbyen. Since its completion in 1975, the runway has experienced pavement unevenness mainly caused by thaw subsidence (and consequent frost heave) of the ice-rich soil layers in the embankment.   A major reconstruction of the runway was carried out in 1989, including insulation of the most affected areas. However, the reconstruction has only been partly successful and the runway is subjected to constant re-pavement with high maintenance costs. A new reconstruction is planned for 2005/2006 to improve the runway. The arctic region is expected to experience a mean annual temperature increase of between +4 °C to +7 °C during the next century and this may have a substantial impact for structures on permafrost. In order to evaluate the thermal performance of the runway under a climate change scenario, a final element model has been used to evaluate the thermal changes in the ground due to climate change.