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Daniel Fortier


Regular member

Department of geography, Université de Montréal

Strathcona Building
520, Chemin de la Côte Ste-Catherine
Université de Montréal
Quebec, Canada
H2V 2B8

514.343.6111 extension 26872



Daniel Fortier, CEN member and professor, is head of the Geocryolab (Laboratoire de géomorphologie et de géotechnique des régions froides) at the Université de Montréal. He holds a PhD in  geomorphology (U. Laval) and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in Civil Engineering at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He specializes in periglacial geomorphology and paleo-climatology, in geotechnical properties of the permafrost and in engineering techniques to control permafrost degradation. His research leads him in Nunavut, Nunavik, Yukon Territory, the Northwest, Alaska and Russia.  Daniel is associate professor at the Northern Engineering Institute (University of Alaska Fairbanks) and in University Laval’s Geology Departement.

The mission of GEOCRYOLAB is to study the environmental dynamics of cold regions. Research topics encompass permafrost degradation by thermal erosion, underground flows in permafrost environments, the thermo-mechanics of ice and soils, and the development of mitigation techniques to prevent permafrost degradation. With funding from CFI, the laboratory has recently acquired a cold room to generate permafrost simulations and experimental models of freeze/thaw cycles. Under the supervision of Daniel Fortier, the GEOCRYOLAB team currently counts two research assistants, three doctoral students and nine graduate students.


Research Themes

  • Cryostructures and properties of basal glacier ice.
  • Dynamics of permafrost in response to climate change in Canada.
  • Engineering techniques to control permafrost degradation under transport infrastructures.
  • Geocryology, cryostratigraphy and cryostructures of permafrost.
  • Geotechnical properties of the permafrost.
  • Periglacial landscape dynamics and paleo-climatology during the Holocene, Bylot Island, Nunavut.
  • Pleistocene ice complex (yedoma) deposits of Alaska.
  • Plio-pleistocene environments and climate of Bylot Island, Nunavut.
  • Processes of permafrost degradation.
  • Risk assessment related to permafrost degradation in Nunavik.

CEN Students / Postdoctoral fellows

Birien, Tom (Doctorate - Codirector). Influence of meteorological variables on weathering of sedimentary rock cliffs and on rockfalls occurrences in a climate change context.

Charbonneau, Simon (Master). Area and physical properties of aquatic environments of the periglacial biogeosystem of Qalikturvik Valley, Bylot Island, Nunavut.

Chen, Lin (Doctorate). Vertical and lateral heat transfer associated with subsurface water flow: impacts on the thermal stability of transportation infrastructure in discontinuous permafrost regions - south-western Yukon, Canada.

Coulombe, Stéphanie (Doctorate). Paleoglaciology of Bylot Island at the Pliocene-Pleistocene Transition.

Davesne, Gautier (Doctorate). Perennial icy-snow patches and the hydro-morphological dynamic of slopes in a High Arctic polar desert (Ward Hunt Island, Ellesmere, Nunavut, Canada).

Gagnon, Samuel (Post-Doctorate fellow). The role of vegetation and ground ice on the thermal resistance of permafrost and the release of soil carbon due to climate change.

Hardy-Lachance, Elisabeth (Master). Long-term Impact of Greater Snow Goose herbivory on vegetation and permafrost dynamics in a changing climate, Bylot Island (Nunavut).

Malenfant Lepage, Julie (Doctorate - Codirector). Development of a methodology for the design of low-impact drainage systems along transportation infrastructure in permafrost environments.

Ola, Anne (Post-Doctorate fellow - Codirector). The size and dynamics of carbon stocks in permafrost of the eastern Canadian Arctic.

Preskienis, Vilmantas (Doctorate - Codirector). Greenhouse gas emissions from Arctic lakes and ponds as influenced by carbon lability.

Rioux, Karine (Master). Impacts of thermal erosion gullying on carbon, nutrients and sediments fluxes, Bylot Island, Nunavut.

Veillette, Audrey (Master). Cryostratigraphy of thermo-erosion gullies, Bylot Island (Nunavut).


Recent CEN theses

Chiasson-Poirier, Gabriel , 2019 (Master - Codirection). Hydrological dynamics within a small Arctic watershed, Niaqunguk River, Iqaluit, Nunavut .

Lapierre Poulin, Florence , 2018 (Master - Codirection). Vulnerability of arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) dens to climate change in the canadian High Arctic .

Paquette, Michel , 2018 (Doctorate). Geomorphology and hydrology of Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut.

Tremblay, Maxime , 2018 (Master - Codirection). Distribution of the erect shrub Salix richardsonii at the northern limit of its range in the High Arctic.

Loranger, Benoit , 2017 (Master - Codirection). Massive ice detection in permafrost regions by using the geophysical method of micro-gravity .

Banville, David , 2016 (Master - Codirection). Tridimensional cryohydrogeologic modeling of watershed affected by permafrost.

Beardsell, Andréanne , 2016 (Master - Codirection). Nesting ecology of rough-legged hawk in the High Arctic and nest vulnerability to geomorphological hazards.

Davesne, Gautier , 2016 (Master). Spatio-temporal evolution of the alpine permafrost body on th summit of Mont Jacques-Cartier, Chic-Chocs Mountains, Gaspesie (Qc).

Godin, Etienne , 2016 (Doctorate). The permafrost thermo-erosion process in the continuous permafrost zone.

Larrivée, Katryne , 2016 (Master). Characterization of the permafrost conditions and study of the geomorphological processes having an impact on the infrastructures on permafrost in five communities of Nunavik.

Sliger, Michel , 2016 (Master). Structure and evolution of permafrost since Late Pleistocene, Beaver Creek, Yukon.

Verpaelst, Manuel , 2016 (Master). Mass movement and syngenetic dynamic of permafrost in high arctic .


Scientific communications

Chen, L., Fortier, D., McKenzie, J., Sliger, M., 2019. Impact of Heat Advection on the Thermal Regime of Roads Built on Permafrost. Hydrological Processes. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.13688.

Chiasson-Poirier, G., Franssen, J., Lafrenière, M., Fortier, D., Lamoureux, S., 2019. Seasonal evolution of active layer thaw depth and hillslope‐stream connectivity in a permafrost watershed. Water Resources Research, 56, e2019WR025828. DOI: 10.1029/2019WR025828.

Coulombe, S., Fortier, D., Lacelle, D., Kanevskiy, M., Shur, Y., 2019. Origin, burial and preservation of late Pleistocene-age glacier ice in Arctic permafrost (Bylot Island, NU, Canada). The Cryosphere, 13(1): 97–111. DOI: 10.5194/tc-13-97-2019.

Ramage, J.L., Fortier, D., Hugelius, G., Lantuit, H., Morgenstern, A., 2019. Distribution of carbon and nitrogen along hillslopes in three valleys on Herschel Island, Yukon Territory, Canada. Catena, 178: 132-140. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2019.02.029.

Bonnaventure, P.P., Smith, S.L., Lamoureux, S.F., Way, R.G., Bouchard, F., Fortier, D., Paquette, M., Godin, E., 2018. Permafrost. Pages 119-140 in Bell, T., Brown, T.M. (Editors). From Science to Policy in the Eastern Canadian Arctic: An Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of Climate Change and Moderization. ArcticNet. Quebec, Canada.

Lacelle, D., Fisher, D.A., Coulombe, S., Fortier, D., Frappier, R., 2018. Buried remnants of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and connections to its surface elevation. Scientific Reports, 8: 13286. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-31166-2.

Paquette, M., Fortier, D., Vincent, W.F., 2018. Hillslope water tracks in the High Arctic: Seasonal flow dynamics with changing water sources in preferential flow paths. Hydrological Processes, 32(8): 1077-1089. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.11483.

Beardsell, A., Gauthier, G., Fortier, D., Therrien, J.-F., Bêty, J., 2017. Vulnerability to geomorphological hazards of an arctic cliff-nesting raptor, the rough-legged hawk. Arctic Science, 3(2): 203-219. DOI: 10.1139/AS-2016-0025.

Davesne, G., Fortier, D., Domine, F., Gray, J.T., 2017. Wind-driven snow conditions control the occurrence of contemporary marginal mountain permafrost in the Chic-Choc Mountains, south-eastern Canada: A case study from Mont Jacques-Cartier. The Cryosphere, 11(3): 1351-1370. DOI: 10.5194/tc-11-1351-2017, 2017.

Gray, J.T., Davesne, G., Fortier, D., Godin, E., 2017. The thermal regime of mountain permafrost at the summit of Mont Jacques-Cartier in the Gaspé Peninsula, Québec, Canada: A 37 year record of fluctuations showing an overall warming trend. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 28(1): 266-274. DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1903.

Lapalme, C.M., Lacelle, D., Pollard, W., Fortier, D., Davila, A., McKay, C.P., 2017. Cryostratigraphy and the sublimation unconformity in permafrost from an ultraxerous environment, University Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 28(4): 649-662. DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1948 .

Lapointe Elmrabti, L., Talbot, J., Fortier, D., Fréchette, B., Strauss, J., Kanevskiy, M., Shur, Y., 2017. Middle to late Wisconsinan climate and ecological changes in northern Alaska: Evidences from the Itkillik River Yedoma. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 485: 906-916. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.08.006.

Muster, S., Roth, K., Langer, M., Lange, S., Cresto Aleina, F., Bartsch, A., Morgenstern, A., Grosse, G., Jones, B., Sannel, A.B.K., Sjöberg, Y., Günther, F., Andresen, C., Veremeeva, A., Lindgren, P.R., Bouchard, F., Lara, M.J., Fortier, D., Charbonneau, S., Virtanen, T.A., Hugelius, G., Palmtag, J., Siewert, M.B., Riley, W.J., Koven, C.D., Boike, J., 2017. PeRL: a circum-Arctic Permafrost Region Pond and Lake database. Earth System Science Data, 9(1): 317-348. DOI: 10.5194/essd-9-317-2017.

Paquette, M., Fortier, D., Vincent, W.F., 2017. Water tracks in the High Arctic: A hydrological network dominated by rapid subsurface flow through patterned ground. Arctic Science, 3(2): 334-353. DOI: 10.1139/AS-2016-0014.

Perreault, N., Lévesque, E., Fortier, D., Gratton, D., Lamarque, L.J., 2017. Remote sensing evaluation of High Arctic wetland depletion following permafrost disturbance by thermo-erosion gullying processes. Arctic Science, 3(2): 237-253. DOI: 10.1139/AS-2016-0047.

Strauss, J., Schirrmeister, L., Grosse, G., Fortier, D., Hugelius, G., Knoblauch, C., Romanovsky, V., Schädel, C., Schneider von Deimling, T., Schuur, E.A.G., Shmelev, D., Ulrich, M., Veremeeva, A., 2017. Deep Yedoma permafrost: A synthesis of depositional characteristics and carbon vulnerability. Earth-Science Reviews, 172: 75-86. DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.07.007.

Verpaelst, M., Fortier, D., Kanevskiy, M., Paquette, M., Shur, Y., 2017. Syngenetic dynamic of permafrost of a polar desert solifluction lobe, Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut. Arctic Science, 3(2): 301-319. DOI: 10.1139/AS-2016-0018.

Godin, E., Fortier, D., Lévesque, E., 2016. Nonlinear thermal and moisture response of ice-wedge polygons to permafrost disturbance increases heterogeneity of high Arctic wetland. Biogeosciences, 13(5): 1439-1452. DOI: 10.5194/bg-13-1439-2016.

Kanevskiy, M., Shur, Y., Strauss, J., Jorgenson, T., Fortier, D., Stephani, E., Vasiliev, A., 2016. Patterns and rates of riverbank erosion involving ice-rich permafrost (yedoma) in northern Alaska. Geomorphology, 253: 370-384. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2015.10.023.

Perreault, N., Lévesque, E., Fortier, D., Lamarque, L.J., 2016. Thermo-erosion gullies boost the transition from wet to mesic tundra vegetation. Biogeosciences, 13(4): 1237-1253. DOI: 10.5194/bg-13-1237-2016.

Bouchard, F., Laurion, I., Preskienis, V., Fortier, D., Xu, X., Whiticar, M.J., 2015. Modern to millennium-old greenhouse gases emitted from ponds and lakes of the Eastern Canadian Arctic (Bylot Island, Nunavut). Biogeosciences, 12(23): 7279–7298. DOI: 10.5194/bg-12-7279-2015.

Paquette, M., Fortier, D., Mueller, D.R., Sarrazin, D., Vincent, W.F., 2015. Rapid disappearance of perennial ice on Canada's most northern lake. Geophysical Research Letters, 42: 1433-1440. DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062960.

Godin, E., Fortier, D., Coulombe, S., 2014. Effects of thermo-erosion gullying on hydrologic flow networks, discharge and soil loss. Environmental Research Letters, 9(10): 105010. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/10/105010.

Kanevskiy, M., Jorgenson, T., Shur, Y., ONullDonnell, J.A., Harden, J.W., Zhuang, Q., Fortier, D., 2014. Cryostratigraphy and permafrost evolution in the lacustrine lowlands of west-central Alaska. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 25(1): 14-34. DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1800.

Stephani, E., Fortier, D., Shur, Y., Fortier, R., Doré, G., 2014. A geosystems approach to permafrost investigations for engineering applications, an example from a road stabilization experiment, Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 100: 20-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2013.12.006.

Csank, A.Z., Fortier, D., Leavitt, S., 2013. Annually resolved temperature reconstructions from a late Pliocene-early Pleistocene polar forest on Bylot Island, Canada. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 369: 313-322. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.10.040.

Kanevskiy, M., Shur, Y., Jorgenson, T., Ping, C.-L., Michaelson, G.J., Fortier, D., Stephani, E., Dillon, M., Tumskoy, V., 2013. Ground ice in the upper permafrost of the Beaufort Sea coast of Alaska. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 85: 56-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2012.08.002.

Royer, M.-J.S., Herrmann, T.M., Sonnentag, O., Fortier, D., Delusca, K., Cuciurean, R., 2013. Linking Cree hunters' and scientific observations of changing inland ice and meteorological conditions in the subarctic eastern James Bay region, Canada. Climate Change, 119(3): 719-732. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0773-9.

de Grandpré, I., Fortier, D., Stephani, E., 2012. Degradation of permafrost beneath a road embankment enhanced by heat advected in groundwater. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 49(8): 953-962. DOI: 10.1139/e2012-018.

Godin, E., Fortier, D., 2012. Geomorphology of a thermo-erosion gully, Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 49(8): 979-986. DOI: 10.1139/E2012-015.

Grandmont, K., Cardille, J.A., Fortier, D., Gibéryen, T., 2012. Assessing land suitability for residential development in permafrost regions: A multi-criteria approach to land-use planning in Northern Quebec, Canada. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 14(1). DOI: 10.1142/S1464333212500032.

Strauss, J., Shur, Y., Kanevskiy, M., Fortier, D., Bjella, K., Breen, A., Johnson, C., 2012. Expedition Alaskan North Slope / Itkillik 2012. Pages 3-28 in Strauss, J., Ulrich, M., Buchhorn, M. (Editors). Expeditions to Permafrost 2012: "Alaskan North Slope / Itkillik", "Thermokarst in Central Yakutia", "EyeSight-NAAT-Alaska"; Reports on Polar and Marine Research (Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung) 655. Reports on Polar and Marine Research (Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung) 655, Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung. Germany.

Douglas, T., Fortier, D., Shur, Y., Kanevskiy, M., Guo, L., Cai, Y., Bray, M., 2011. Biogeochemical and geocryological characteristics of wedge and thermokarst-cave ice in the CRREL Permafrost Tunnel, Alaska. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 22(2): 120-128. DOI: 10.1002/ppp.709 .

Kanevskiy, M., Shur, Y., Fortier, D., Jorgenson, T., Stephani, E., 2011. Cryostratigraphy of late Pleistocene syngenetic permafrost (yedoma) in northern Alaska, Itkillik exposure. Quaternary Research, 75(3): 584-596. DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2010.12.003.

Vincent, W.F., Fortier, D., Lévesque, E., Boulanger-Lapointe, N., Tremblay, B., Sarrazin, D., Antoniades, D., Mueller, D.R., 2011. Extreme ecosystems and geosystems in the Canadian High Arctic: Ward Hunt Island and vicinity. Écoscience, 18(3 - special issue: 50th Year Anniversary of CEN): 236-261. DOI: 10.2980/18-3-3448.

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