2001 IPA Country Report

Table of Contents

New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America
South Korea


Ongoing, newly funded, as well as recently completed permafrost research activities are highlighted in this report, with major contributions by the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and the Centre d’Etudes Nordiques, Laval University.


Monitoring Networks: The GSC received funding in 2001 for four years from the federal government’s Action Plan 2000 to develop and implement the framework and infrastructure for a national permafrost monitoring network. This project is a component of a successful larger multi-partner submission on Systematic Climate Observations – Atmosphere, Oceans and Cryosphere. This initiative will allow Canada to make progress in meeting its obligations to provide systematic cryospheric observations under the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and to address the recommendations and concerns raised at the Canadian permafrost monitoring workshop (http:// sts. gsc. nrcan. gc.ca/permafrost/pfworkenter.htm). A data management node and web site will be established at the GSC which will coordinate submission and dissemination of active layer and permafrost thermal data from network sites as well as forming a link to other cryospheric nodes such as the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P), the Canadian Cryospheric Information Network (CCIN), CRYSYS (CRYospheric SYStem) and its related State of the Cryosphere in Canada web sites (http://www. socc. uwaterloo.ca/permafrost/permafrost_current.cfm) and (http://www.crysys.uwaterloo.ca/education/permafrost/permafrost_edu.cfm ).

The GSC continues to actively contribute to the development and implementation of the IPA’s GTN-P, an international programme of systematic observations of active layer and permafrost temperatures under GCOS . The GTN-P’s web site is hosted by the GSC (http://sts.gsc. nrcan. gc.ca/gtnp). A status report submitted in March 2001 and the borehole inventory and metadata can be accessed on the site. Contacts: M. Burgess and S. Smith. National permafrost databases: The GSC published a Canadian permafrost thickness database (Smith and Burgess, 2002) which is a compilation of publicly available information for about 1000 sites. This database will also soon be made accessible through the GSC permafrost web site. The Canadian Geothermal Data Collection – Northern Wells contains subsurface temperature data collected by the GSC from boreholes of depths greater than 125m within the Canadian permafrost region. Ground temperature logs from this collection as well the national summary permafrost temperature database (GSC Open File 3954) may now be accessed through the National Database section of GSC permafrost web site (http://sts.gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/ permafrost/). Contact: S. Smith. Regional and national syntheses: The GSC recently published two regional bulletins summarizing the results of two of its three 1990s Integrated Research and Monitoring Areas Programmes: the Mackenzie Valley (Dyke and Brooks, 2000) and the Fosheim Peninsula of Ellesmere Island (Garneau and Alt, 2000). These synthesis reports summarize baseline environmental conditions, examine the environmentalresponse to climate change, and include several papers of interest to permafrost scientists. The GSC also published a synthesis of geological hazards in Canada, a document which includes two papers on permafrost related hazards (Smith et al., 2001; Smith, 2001). Gas-Hydrate Research: During the winter of 2002 a consortium of seven international partners will undertake a gas-hydrate research, well programme at the Mallik site in the Mackenzie Delta. The project will include the drilling of a 1200 m deep main production research well and two nearby science observation wells. Full-scale field experiments will be conducted to monitor the physical behavior of the gas hydrate deposits to depressurization and thermal production stimulation. The spud date for the first observation well is expected to be in December 2001, with completion of the programme in early April 2002. A wide ranging science and engineering research programme is proposed with extensive research geophysics (including open hole logging, X-hole studies and VSP surveys), core studies and long-term monitoring of in-situ conditions. These are being coordinated and managed by the GSC. The scientific and engineering research objectives for the production research will focus on two themes: (1) the assessment of the production and geotechnical properties of gas hydrates, and (2) an assessment of the stability of permafrost gas hydrates given warming trends predicted by climate change models. Contact: S. Dallimore (sdallimore@ nrcan.gc.ca). Onshore Hydrocarbon Transportation Corridors: Both the Alaska and Mackenzie Delta Gas Producers groups have been actively examining possible pipeline routes for bringing Prudhoe Bay and Mackenzie Delta gas, respectively, to southern markets, via the western Canadian Arctic. Reconnaissance level field programmes and surveys are being conducted by industry to aid in route selection and for planning and scoping of future studies. Hydrocarbon exploration activity has dramatically increased in the Mackenzie Valley and Delta especially the offshore. The GSC received funding from the Federal Panel on Energy Research and Development (PERD) to undertake permafrost research relevant to several of the important technical issues for pipelines along these transportation corridors in the onshore western Arctic. Slope stability, pipeline-permafrost interactions, and data availability and syntheses are the major thrusts of the project. New field studies examining creep on warm permafrost slopes in the Mackenzie Valley were initiated in March 2001. A slope along the Norman Wells pipeline in the Central Mackenzie Valley was instrumented with inclinometers and temperature cables in collaboration with Enbridge Pipelines. This new site expands a programme on cold permafrost creep initiated some 10 years ago in the Mackenzie Delta. The synthesis of existing geological, geotechnical, geothermal data relevant to pipeline routing and design will involve consolidation and upgrading of existing databases into GIS compatible formats and increasing the accessibility of these databases and syntheses to stakeholders. The first product will be the re-release of the Mackenzie Valley geotechnical database, a compilation of data from over 12,000 boreholes, in MS access format. Contacts: L. Dyke (ldyke @ nrcan. gc.ca), M. Burgess, and S. Smith.

Infrastructure Adaptation: The GSC, in conjunction with municipal and territorial partners, undertook a community based approach to assess current and potential future permafrost, geotechnical conditions, and infrastructure performance and sensitivity in two pilot communities: Norman Wells and Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Digital geotechnical databases were compiled for each community, as well as baseline information on infrastructure, foundation systems, climate, etc. The project incorporated thermal modelling of typical permafrost and soil profiles under both natural and disturbed (developed) conditions, as well as under scenarios of climate warming. Permafrost-related infrastructure problems currently exist in both communities, but evolving construction and maintenance practices have minimized the impacts to date. The goal of the pilot project was to develop an approach and framework to provide stakeholders with the geoscience knowledge and tools needed for decision-making regarding the assessment of impacts on infrastructure and potential adaptation measures to minimize the impacts. Several digital GSC Open Files (3913, D3912, and D3867) are either published or in press. Contacts: R. Couture (rcouture@nrcan.gc.ca) and M. Burgess.

Degradation of permafrost-affected peatlands: An analysis of a 50-year time series of aerial photos and high-resolution satellite images was undertaken to quantify magnitude and rates of thaw of six permafrost- affected peatlands sites in the Mackenzie Valley from latitude 60º to 64ºN in 2000-2001 with support from CCAF and the GSC. The study also examines the impacts of degradation of peatlands on drainage and carbon accumulation rates. Contact: S. Robinson (formerly GSC, presently at St Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y.).

Extreme Warm Summer of 1998: Recent studies have documented warming during the 1980s and 1990s in the high latitudes, but 1998 was conspicuous for the unprecedented warmth and length of the melt season over the Canadian Arctic. This warming was associated with significant anomalies in many components of the cryosphere. This multi-partner multidisciplinary project, funded by the Government of Canada’s Climate Change Action Fund (CCAF), allowed the Canadian cryospheric community to document the magnitude of the cryospheric change, toand to develop insights into the processes and feedbacks associated with extreme warm years. The project also provided the opportunity to compile and consolidate a large number of cryospheric data sets that were widely dispersed amongst various government, university and industry researchers. The individual project reports examining the response of various components of the cryosphere are available on-line through the meetings sections of the CRYSYS web site (http://www.crysys.uwaterloo.ca/science/ meetings/2001_meeting/).

Contributions to the permafrost component include: Active layer and permafrost temperatures in the Mackenzie Delta, Alert and Baker Lake (Smith, Burgess and Nixon, GSC); Recent warming impacts in the Mackenzie Delta and northern Yukon coastal areas (Wolfe, Kotler and Nixon, GSC); Active layer detachment slides on the Fosheim Peninsula (Lewkowicz, University of Ottawa). The first two contributions were published as GSC Current Research papers. Mackenzie Valley spatial ground temperature modelling: GSC researchers have developed a GISresident, ground temperature modelling capability to facilitate the investigation of ground thermal conditions in northern regions. The physically-based numeric model generates predictions of ground temperature based on available information about local/ regional climate and terrain conditions. The model provides estimates of the equilibrium distribution and thickness of permafrost under ‘current’ climatic conditions, and can predict changes in response to future climate scenarios. Initial low resolution (1km) modelling has produced preliminary maps depicting permafrost characteristics in the broader Mackenzie River Valley (CCAF Report A073). Work is continuing on the consolidation of a high-resolution (30m) digital database to support detailed modelling of ground thermal conditions in the vicinity of major communities in the Valley. This work was funded by PERD, CCAF and GSC. Contact: F. Wright (fwright@nrcan. gc.ca).

Coastal Investigations: See the report of the Working Group on Coastal and Offshore Permafrost for GSC investigations based at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Contact: S. Solomon (solomon @agc. bio.ns.ca).

Centre d’Ètudes Nordiques (CEN) research: The collaboration between CEN and the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) continued in the field in Northern Québec in June 2001 with data recovery from thermistor strings and data loggers in a series of drill holes in a lithalsa. Data from a gauge that measures water pressure at the base of the permafrost was also recovered (see the German report in this issue of Frozen Ground). A comprehensive series of measurements were also made in cased drill holes at the sites in the lithalsa (a clay permafrost mound), and a sandy permafrost mound using thermal profiling and GPR tomography. Results were presented and described at the 1st European Permafrost Conference in Rome.

The GPR tomography work is the focus of a masters thesis project. A new approach combining field cone penetration tests (CPT) through permafrost with seismic tomography was also applied in the study area and forms the basis of another masters thesis project. Analysis and interpretation of core data, in-situ CPT tests from 2000, and thermal modelling applied to the clay permafrost mound is underway as a doctoral thesis. A regional sampling of ground ice, to depths down to 6 m, was performed east of Hudson Bay with portable drilling equipment, and is the subject of a doctoral dissertation aimed at understanding the processes of permafrost aggradation in uplifted marine sediments through cryofacies analysis and isotopic analysis of ground ice and trapped gases.Work on another doctoral project took place on Bylot Island in the High Arctic. The project involved drilling in low-centered polygons to reconstruct the palaeoclimatic changes recorded in the stratigraphy of aeolian and organic sediments in syngenetic permafrost. Pingos were also cored and described in sections along river banks. GPR profiling of polygon fields and pingos was conducted. CEN is making a special effort to bring up to date and verify the quality of data from many thermistor cables and automatic meteorological stations across northern Québec. It appears that the trend of change in the Ungava peninsula changed from cooling to warming between 1995 and 2001. Contact: Michel Allard (michel.allard@cen.ulaval.ca).




Dyke, L.D. and Brooks, G.R. (eds.). 2000. The physical environment of the Mackenzie Valley, Northwest Territories: a baseline for the assessment of environmental change; Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin #547, 208 p. Garneau, M. and Alt, B.T. (eds.). 2000. Environmental response to climate change in the Canadian High Arctic; Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin #529, 401 p. Smith, S.L., Burgess, M.M., and Heginbottom, J.A. 2001. Permafrost In Canada, a challenge to northern development. in A Synthesis of Geological Hazards in Canada, G.R. Brooks (ed.). Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin #548, p. 241-264. Smith, S.L. 2001. Natural gas hydrates. in A Synthesis of Geological Hazards In Canada, G.R. Brooks (ed.). Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin #548, p. 265-280. Smith, S.L. and Burgess, M.M., 2002. A digital database of permafrost thickness in Canada. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File Report #4173.

Margo Burgess (mburgess@nrcan.gc.ca) Sharon Smith (ssmith@nrcan.gc.ca)


The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is now under construction on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Construction of the railway at its northern and southern sections, which are within non-permafrost regions, is being conducted by a number of construction companies of China.

The First Survey and Design Institute of the Ministry of the Railway of China is surveying and designing the sections of the railway in the permafrost regions. Research on the design, construction and operation of this railway in the permafrost region on the plateau has primarily been carried out by the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, CAREERI, CAS, the Northwest Branch of the China Academy of Railway Sciences, and the First Survey and Design Institute of the Ministry of Railway of China.
The Chinese Society of Glaciology and Geocryology plans to organie the Sixth National Conference on Glaciology and Geocryology, which will be held 27-29 March 2002 in Lanzhou, China. This conference is organised to summarize and exchange the achievements and experience on scientific research and engineering practice in cold regions in recent years and to select a number of papers to be submitted to the next International Conference on Permafrost in 2003. Scientists and engineers who are interested in this field from China and other countries are welcome to participate in this conference.
A new book entitled ´Fracture Mechanics of Frozen Soil and Its Application´ written by Prof. Li Hongsheng and Prof. Zhu Yuanlin will be published in the end of 2001. This book is written in Chinese, but with English contents, abstracts and figure and table texts. The book ´Geocryology in China´ published in 2000 in Chinese, was reviewed extensively by Tingjun Zhang, University of Colorado, USA, in Permafrost and Periglacial Processes.

Zhu Yuanlin(zhuyl@ns.lzb.ac.cn)


Research in Disko Island (70°N) relating to rock glacier dynamics and surface climate has been continued by Ole Humlum, University of Copenhagen. Both air temperatures, ground surface temperatures, as well as active layer temperatures, are being measured. The snow cover duration has been studied at two rock glaciers by use of automatic digital cameras.

Measurements of precipitation close to the rock glacier initiation line (RILA) are carried out on an experimental basis. Also the headwall weathering rate and the rock glacier role as a transport agent in high-relief arctic regions is investigated. Five active rock glaciers located in various meteorological settings in Disko Island are now included in this general monitoring programme. A CALM site near the Arctic Station (Disko Island) has been in operation since 1997.

In the Ammassalik area in SE Greenland (65°N) a similar programme on periglacial geomorphology and climate was initiated in 2000 by Ole Humlum. In 2001, this programme was extended with additional dataloggers measuring air temperature, ground temperatures and BTS. Also precipitation is being measured at various sites within the study region. Additionally, an automatic digital camera was installed in September 2001, in order to obtain insight in the importance of wind for redistributing snow. The Ammassalik area is of special interest, as MAAT at sealevel is close to 0°C and various types of permafrost therefore may be expected in transects from sea level to the highest summits (around 1100 m asl).

At the Faroe Islands periglacial research is continued as part of the LINK research project (http://www. geogr.ku.dk/link) carried out by Hanne H. Christiansen, University of Copenhagen and Lis Mortensen, Geological Survey of the Faroe Islands together with students. Mapping is carried out on the lower limit and the dynamics of active patterned ground, a very widespread periglacial landform in the islands. Preliminary permafrost modelling indicates small patches of permafrost to exist in the northern side of the highest mountain Slættaratindur (882m asl). During the summer 2001 a subhorisontal borehole was drilled 5m into the northern top of Slættaratindur, enabling ground temperture registration in the modelled permafrost patch. Data from the first complete year (2000) of operation of the mountain meteorological station at Sornfelli (740 m asl.) show a MAAT of 1.7°C and a MAGT at 11 m depth in a borehole of almost a constant 3°C. The Sornfelli station is the only mountain meteorological station in the Faroe Islands. A new project called ´Measuring Arctic Climate on the Faroe Islands´ started in the summer of 2001. This will enable the continued operation of the Sornfelli Station in cooperation with Faroese institutions until 2004. This new project is financed by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency as part of the environmental support programme Dancea – Danish Cooperation for Environment in the Arctic. The Sornfelli station has together with the Zackenberg station in NE Greenland become part of the SCANNET EU project (see description of SCANNET in Other News).

At the Danish Meteorological Institute, Martin Stendell and Jens H. Christensen have analysed the ability to simulate the global permafrost distribution with the coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model ECHAM4/OPYC3. They have found good agreement between modelled and observed distribution of permafrost zonation for this course resolution model. Analysis of the ability to describe the distribution of the active-layer depth also appears promising. Projections of possible future distributions of permafrost have succesively been analysed in two transient climate change simulations with the same model.

The Danish Technical University has in co-operation with Sanaartornermik Ilinniarfik (The Building Educational Centre of Greenland) started a Center for Arctic Technology in Sisimiut in West Greenland ARTEK (www.arktiskcenter.gl). In September 2001 ARTEK initiated the education of Arctic Engineers in Civil and Environmental Engineering at BSc and MSc levels. Half of the teaching is carried out in Greenland in Sisimiut, while the rest takes place in Denmark at the Danish Technical University. As part of the ARTEK major geoscience research topics are the activities of Niels Foged and coworkers. They are studying geotechnical and engineering geological properties of Quaternary marine sediments in uplifted basins (and in the sea) that were subjected to variable permafrost conditions due to changing climatic conditions during the Holocene, and the implication to foundation design and major constructions. Arne Villumsen and Francois Baumgartner , also from ARTEK, are studying ground water resources in sediments and fracture zones in bedrock below the permafrost and seasonal frost layers, using geophysical methods i.e. MEP (multi-electrode geoelectrical profiling) and georadar in time and frequency domain. Water resource prospecting has been carried out in Kangerluk (Disko Island) and Sisimiut in the discontinuous permafrost zone and at Nuuk (Godthåb) and Narsarsuaq in Southern Greenland. ARTEK intends to establish and maintain a fruitful co-operation with other research institutes in fields of common interests.

Hanne H. Christiansen (hhc@geogr.ku.dk)


The Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, Hannover, and the Centre d’Ètudes Nordiques, Université Laval, Québec (Georg Delisle), joint-project on investigation of the permafrost development in emerged marine sediments near the eastern shore of the Hudson Bay continues into its second year.


Monitoring of subsurface temperatures of a (mineral) palsa east of Umiujaq, Nunavuk shows a mean annual temperature of -0.6°C. A pressure transducer positioned near the bottom of the palsa (at the freezing front) provides a continuous record of the pore pressure indicating a strong hydraulic gradient into the palsa. Numerical modeling to simulate annually the thermal processes within the palsa is in progress. Since the frozen core of the structure is rather close to the melting point of ice, this site offers a unique opportunity to observe the effect of climatic change in the Arctic. Therefore, it is planned to extend the monitoring beyond 2003.

The Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Hans-W. Hubberten) co-ordinates the multidisciplinary terrestrial part of the joint German-Russian project ‘System Laptev Sea 2000’. An expedition to the Lena Delta took place in July-August 2001 (Expedition leaders: Eva- Maria Pfeiffer and Mikhail N. Grigoriev), consisting of eight German and eight Russian scientists and technicians from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yakutsk and Tiksi. One team focused on modern processes in permafrost soils and the underlying frozen sequences and worked from the biological station of the Lena Delta Reserve on Samoylov Island in the central part of the Lena Delta. Since 1998 the energy and water balances of the active layer are registered year round at four sites. During the field season the pedogenic and soil microbial parameters, which control the production, oxidation and emission rates of trace gases, were studied as well as the carbon flux. The emission of CH4 and CO2 from other possible sources, such as lakes and ice complex deposits, have been studied. Surprisingly high methane emissions have been observed from the frozen soil as well as from the ice wedge part of the ice complex. Several cores were drilled down to 8.5 m into the permafrost, which will mainly be used for microbial and molecular biological investigations.

Under the umbrella of the IPA-IASC project ACD (Arctic Coastal Dynamics, Project leader: Volker Rachold, (http://www.awi-potsdam.de/www-pot/geo/acd. html), another team studied the coastal dynamics at the west coast of the Lena Delta from a field camp at Babaryna Island. After investigating the coastal processes at the eastern and western coasts of the Laptev Sea in 1999 and 2000, three weeks were dedicated to studying the complex system of the coast of the sandy Arga Complex, which is separated from the open ocean by shallow lagoons and tens of kilometers long north-south extending sand barriers. An unexpected result was the importance and dominance of wind erosion and accumulation compared to wave action. Apart from geodetic measurements to compare the actual coastline with older aerial photographs in order to determine the rate of coastal retreat, shore face profiles were measured from the barriers to the 10 m isobath and sediment samples were taken. Some results of this project are presented in 14 articles in press in a special volume of the journal Polarforschung, to be printed early next year. A small group from the Alfred Wegener Institute performed geocryological studies in Central Yakutia between the middle Lena and the Aldan rivers in cooperation with the Permafrost Institute, Yakutsk.

The Department of Physical Geogryphy, University of Trier (Christof Kneisel) has continued investigating a mountain permafrost occurrence below the timberline in the Upper Engadine, eastern Swiss Alps. Geophysical measurements were carried out and monitoring of ground temperature is now maintained for the third year to study the physical processes controlling the interaction of permafrost with the environment at this sporadic permafrost site. The measurements of the near surface ground temperature are extended along altitudinal belts from the subalpine zone to the periglacial/subnival zone.

After completion of the PACE project the Giessen PACE group (Lorenz King) continues mountain permafrost research in the Mattertal, Valais, Swiss Alps. Temperature data from the borehole at Stockhornplateau (3410 m) near Zermatt, indicate a permafrost thickness of about 160 m, and an active layer thickness of about 2 m. Coldest ground temperatures of -2.6°C were reached at a depth of 22.5 meters. Further ground temperature measurements have been started at the lower part of the discontinuous permafrost belt in the Gornergrat area above Zermatt. The data will contribute to the project of Thomas Herz concerning the influence of a coarse-grained debris cover on energy transfer processes between atmosphere, lithosphere and ground temperatures in the alpine periglacial belt. In late September 2001, the test area Grächen-Seetalhorn was instrumented with a 30m borehole and a meteorological station.

Mountain permafrost investigations are also carried out in the neighbouring Turtmanntal, Valais, Switzerland by a research group of the Department of Geography at the University of Bonn (Richard Dikau). This valley is characterized by a high density of rock glaciers at all stages of activity. A main objective of the project is to assess the scale dependent significance of rock glaciers to determine the sensitivity of high mountain geosystems to global environmental change. Through the combination of different approaches and methods in various spatial and temporal scales, a holistic approach is planned to be achieved. A sediment budget for the catchment may support the hypothesis that the rock glacier process was the dominant sediment flux in alpine regions during the Holocene. A monitoring programme was started in 1990 with the following objectives: Reconstructing past and present permafrost distribution (Dikau, Nyenhuis, von Witsch) Rock glacier distribution (Nyenhuis), geophysical methods (Nyenhuis, Pfeffer) Rock glacier movement rates applying remote sensing and terrestrial surveying (Roer, von Elverfeldt) Rock glacier movement pattern modelling by process based models (Hoffmann) Bioindication of rock glacier systems (Roer) Periglacial system components and their coupling/ decoupling with the glacial situation (Otto), Quantifying sediment storages (Knopp, Nyenhuis) Surface analysis by remote sensing (Schreiner) and morphometric landscape analyses (Rasemann).

Lorenz King (Lorenz.King@geogr.uni-giessen.de)


Olafur Arnalds, Agricultural Research Institute, Department of Environmental Science, attended the Third International Conference on Cryopedolgy in Copenhagen, and expressed Iceland’s interest in becoming a member of the IPA.

A formal letter requesting membership has since been received. The most comprehensive permafrost related research in Iceland to date was done in the Thorsarver palsa-area, south of Hofjökull in Central Iceland by Thora Ellen Thorhallsdottir (Reykjavik University). The extent of this palsa area was surveyed in the summer 2001 by the National Power Company. The Natural Research Centre of northwest Iceland and the Agricultural Research Institute initiated a new research effort this year in the Orravatnsrustir palsa area in North Iceland. Little is known about the extent of permafrost in Iceland, but a beginning of a new long-term effort is scheduled for 2002. The Agricultural Research Institute is investigating cryoturbation of soils and the formation of hummocks in cooperation with Texas A&M University. A new soil map of Iceland has recently been completed by the Agricultural Research Institute (see www.rala.is/ desert).

Olafur Arnalds (ola@rala.is)


The wildfire research experiments named Frostfire (Alaska) and Icefire (Siberia) were safely and successfully completed in the summer of 1999 and 2001. The research group from Japan was based in Hokkaido University (M. Fukuda).

Extensive pre-burn surveys throughout the watersheds and extensive instrumentation installed before the fire enabled us to collect data before, during, and after the burn. The three-year (1999-2001) research projects have highlighted the impact of fire on the permafrost and the dynamics of the physical properties after the fire. Many of these results were presented in the 2000 American Geophysical Union fall meeting and at the 2001 Russia/Japan joint symposium for climatic warming in Sapporo.

The Yukon energy and water exchange research group (YuWEX Leader: N. Ishikawa) has studied in the Caribou Poker Creeks Research Watershed, Alaska since 1997 in cooperation with L. Hinzman and K. Yoshikawa. They have performed a variety of field observations and measurements in the watershed including soil moisture content, soil temperature, evaporation, humidity, air temperature, CO2 flux, stream temperature, geophysical exploration, groundwater level, groundwater temperature in the talik, and snow depth.

Surface energy balance studies were conducted in Kevo, Finland (Nagaoka Institute of Snow and Ice Studies, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) group (leader: A. Sato and T.Sato in cooperation with S. Neuvonen)), Tiksi (GAME: Y.Kodama) and CPCRW (YuWeX, NIED group; leader: A. Sato and T.Sato in cooperation with S. Neuvonen); Tiksi (GAME: Y.Kodama); and CPCRW (YuWeX, NIED). All of these sites have a meteorological observation tower with ground temperature and soil moisture sensors in the active layer.

The Mountain Permafrost Research Group in the Association of Japanese Geographers continued studies on permafrost distribution, rock glacier characteristics and periglacial processes in the Japanese mountains including Hokkaido (M. Ishikawa, Y. Sawada, T. Sone and K. Hirakawa), northern Japanese Alps (K. Fukui, M. Aoyama and S. Iwata), southern Japanese Alps and Fuji volcano (A. Ikeda and N. Matsuoka). The four-year (1998-2002) research projects have highlighted several types of permafrost distribution in the Japanese mountains, which are controlled by landforms, snow distribution and depth, geothermal activity and surface materials. Since 1994, members of the research group have also conducted an overseas project on permafrost and periglacial processes in the Swiss Alps in cooperation with W. Haeberli, A. Kääb and F. Keller. The topics in the last two years included dynamics of small pebbly rock glaciers, differential frost heaving on sorted patterned ground and Holocene environmental change on mountain slopes. Many of these results were presented in the 1st European Permafrost Conference in Rome (March 2001) and at the 5th International Conference on Geomorphology in Tokyo (August 2001).

Kenji Yoshikawa (ffky@uaf.edu) Norikazu Matsuoka (matsuoka@atm.geo.tsukuba.ac.jp)


The Kazakhstan Alpine Permafrost Laboratory of the Permafrost Institute SD, RAS continued monitoring of the thermal regime of the permafrost and the depth of seasonal freezing ground in the northern Tien Shan (basin of river Bolshaya Almatinka, Transili Alatau Ridge).

This monitoring were extended during 2001 when more automatical stations were started. The laboratory continues to carry out measurements of the dynamics of the active rock glacier of the Gorodetsky’s glacier, including solifluction processes and kurums. An estimation of the underground/permafrost ice volume of the northern Tien Shan was carried out as a first attempt for the mountains of Central Asia. It was determined that the volume of permafrost ice is the same as the volume of the glaciers. There is the tendency for a faster degradation of glacier ice compared to the permafrost ice in this area. The laboratory also continues to carry out expeditional investigations of the influence of the construction of a highway on alpine permafrost hear the Kolalmaty Pass, Trausili Alatau Ridge. The digital geocryological map of Burenkhaan Area (Mongolia) was compiled by S. S. Marchenko in cooperation with Mongolian scientists. The book entitled ´Mudflows near Almaty- Looking at the Past´, was published in Kazakhstan in 2001. It includes dates of mudflow activity during the last 300 years and information on alpine permafrost and underground ice in the Transili Alatau Ridge, northern Tin Shan. A.P. A.P.

Gorbunov (permafrost@astel.kz)

New Zealand

Several New Zealand programmes were commenced or continued during the past year in the area of permafrost and periglacial processes in both New Zealand and Antarctica. M. B. Scott, K. J. M. Dickinson, A. F. Mark, B. I. P. Barratt, B. J. Sinclair (University of Otago) initiated a study of the invertebrate diversity of threetypes of alpine patterned ground on the Old Man Range of Central Otago.

They are investigating how biodiversity and distribution of invertebrates may be dictated by environmental variables extant in solifluction terraces, soil hummocks and soil stripes. They are also examining microhabitat temperature data to examine seasonal freeze-thaw events responsible for maintaining the patterned ground ground, and thus enable them to develop a better appreciation of the periglacial features and their indigenous biota.

Warren Dickinson (Victoria University of Wellington) is continuing his programme of shallow permafrost drilling in the Dry Valley area of Antarctica. Shallow permafrost drilling was commenced in November 2000 and aims to recover a climate record from Antarctic ground ice, which potentially holds a detailed record spanning 15 million years. The cored material will be used to elucidate climate history from the geochemistry of the ground ice, as well as to provide stratigraphic information.

David Nobes (University of Canterbury) is also working in Antarctica with a project that involves testing the geophysical response of contaminants in soils and permafrost near Scott Base. The aim of his work is to use near-surface geophysical methods to map the vertical and horizontal extent of contaminants in the soil and permafrost.

Iain Campbell and Robert Gibb (Landcare Research) are developing an Antarctic Soils Database with data currently included from around 550 sites ranging from Cape Hallett to the Ellsworth Mountains. When completed, there will be data from about 800 sites from New Zealand soils research in the Transantarctic Mountains and East Antarctica spanning the period 1964 to 1999. The compiled data is held in the New Zealand Landcare Research National Soils Database. Consideration is presently being given as to how other significant soils data sets that have accumulated, and were gathered under the programmes of other countries working in the Antarctic, might be incorporated into this database to enable development of a comprehensive Antarctic Soils Database. Consequently, they ask that scientists planning to describe or sample Antarctic soils could use their format for site and soil description and compile their data in a form that would be readily accepted into the New Zealand Comprehensive Antarctic Soils Database. For enquiries, contact Iain Campbell (iaincampbell@xtra.co.nz) or Robert Gibb (GibbR@landcare.cri.nz)

Paul Augustinus (p.augustinus@auckland.ac.nz)


The Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) has continued the research project ‘Arctic oil spills on Russian permafrost soils’ which is a co-operation project between NGI, Moscow State University and the Earth Cryosphere Institute.

Fieldwork with experimental oil spills is carried out at Cape Balvanskij, Nenets, Northwest Russia, where the Earth Cryosphere Institute started investigations of permafrost in 1983. Laboratory tests are performed at Moscow State University and at the Earth Cryosphere Institute. NGI also runs another research programme entitled ‘Permafrost response to industrial and environmental loads’. The programme was initiated in 1999 and will continue until 2003. This year’s work was focused on fieldwork in Longyearbyen and Svea, Svalbard, and on laboratory work in Oslo (www.ngi.no/SIP/SIP7/ index.htm).

The University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS), Department of Arctic Technology (www.unis.no) runs eight courses on undergraduate and graduate level. The programme offered at UNIS is unique as the courses have the advantage of being given in an Arctic environment where technology has been applied for decades. Investigations on geomorphic activity, bedrock weathering rates and rock glacier dynamics are continued by Ole Humlum (UNIS), Department of Geology. Research on bedrock weathering in cold climate has been initiated by Angelique Prick (Belgium). Humlum has continued measurements of precipitation and temperature (air, ground surface and within the active layer). Two meteorological stations are established, one of these at the PACE borehole on Janssonhaugen. A precipitation sampling scheme (initiated in 1999) has been continued. In addition, three automatic cameras are providing daily visual information on geomorphic phenomena. A CALM site was established in 2000 was by Mette Oht (UNIS). A new CALM site has been established near Ny Ålesund (79ºN) by Ole Humlum in 2001. Investigations on icewedge development, dynamics and oxygen isotope stratigraphy in Adventdalen was continued by Jon W. Jeppesen (UNIS). In the Operafjellet area, a short distance north of Adventdalen, investigations on the evolution of an ice-cored glacier was continued by Sisse Korsgaard (UNIS).

In 1996 the Norwegian coal mining company, Store Norske, asked permafrost scientists on Svalbard if it was possible to construct and operate a road on the Höganäs glacier, for access to a new mine. The glacier is located outside the mining community Svea. No literature or documented experiences on similar projects existed, and a feasibility study was initiated early in 1997, focussing on issues related to glaciology and road construction methodology on sensitive frozen terrain. Field investigations and road design went on until construction started in 1999, and the 3-km long road was ready and in operation from early 2000. The road is placed on pure glacier ice on the central moraine ridge of the Höganäs glacier. Substantial glacier ablation cause an increasing height difference beslopes become unstable. Since construction, road modifications have been made to cope with drainage and erosion problems. Smaller channels are seasonally active and runoff usually is high because there is no infiltration. It is impossible to place culverts to convey the surface runoff across the embankment and seepage through the fill is inevitable. The costs of operation and maintenance are relatively high, especially for erosion control. The annual road maintenance cost is well within the limit for a profitable coal mining operation at 78ºN. The Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo (www.geografi.uio.no), arranged a two-week field course for doctoral students on permafrost mapping in Jotunheimen and on Dovrefjell, southern Norway, in August. The Nordic Council (NorFA) financed course was conducted by J. L. Sollid and B. Etzelmüller. Teachers and students from all Nordic countries participated. The department has established a field station at Hjerkinn, Dovrefjell, in southern Norway, for permafrost studies. In October J. L. Sollid and K. Isaksen, in co-operation with the Norwegian Geological Survey (NGU), drilled 11 boreholes, 9 m deep. All boreholes are instrumented with temperature dataloggers. A CALM site will be established there as well. Permafrost mapping (BTS measurments, DC resistivity soundings, seismic surveys) was carried out in eastern parts of southern Norway (E. Heggem). On Svalbard, T. Eiken and K. Isaksen continued studies of rock glaciers in the Nordenskiöldland area, and K. Isaksen collected borehole temperature data from the Janssonhaugen PACE borehole.

Kaare Flaate (kflaate@online.no)


Research on permafrost and periglacial phenomena is carried out on Spitsbergen, Svalbard in the Arctic and at the H. Arctowski Polar Station on King George Island in the Western Antarctica and in the alpine zone of the Tatra Mountains in Poland.

The geomorphological studies in Poland focus on relief evolution and deposits formed in the periglacial conditions of the Pleistocene. Research in polar areas focuses on thermal conditions and dynamics of the development of permafrost and active layer; periglacial processes (weathering, mass movement, the development of frost forms and structures); hydrological regime; frost heave and cryochemical processes and their role in shaping the polar geoecosystems; ecological effects of climate changes and anthropogenic effects in periglacial ecosystems. The programmes are carried out by expeditions organised by the Polish Academy of Sciences (Department of Antarctic Biology, Institute of Geophysics) and the Silesian University in Sosnowiec, the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, the Mikolaj Kopernik University in Torun and the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin. Research is mainly performed on Svalbard in the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund and at university stations on the western coast of Spitsbergen.

Monitoring of the active layer in the Calypsostranda area continues. Research is done by Janina Repelewska-Pekalowa, Department of Geomorphology, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin. It begun in 1986 and is now part of the CALM programme. Since 2000 it has been part of a project entitled ‘Functioning of periglacial geoecosystems under the influence of climate changes and anthropopression’. The project is financed by the Science Research Committee. Results of the research on periglacial phenomena are presented at conferences organised by the Committee on Polar Research, the Polar Club of the Polish Geographical Society, and the Associations of Polish Geomorphologists. They are also published in several periodicals: Polish Polar Research and Studies and Landform Analysis. The Biuletyn Peryglacjalny No 38 (by Societatis Scientiarum Lodziensis) included papers presented at the Lódz Symposium on ‘Periglacial Environments, Past, Present and Future’, to celebrate 50 years of periglacial research under the aegis of the International Geographical Union.

Kazimierz Pekala (geomorf @ biotop. umcs. lublin. pl)


Research on periglacial dynamics is conducted in the project ‘Geomorphological and biophysical dynamics and landscape units in Mediterranean mountains (1999-2001), Sierra da Estrela’.

The main topics include air, ground and rock temperature monitoring, geomorphological mapping of relict features, and monitoring of contemporary periglacial dynamics in the area above 1600 m asl. The control of the cryogenic processes on the vegetation are studied, and the identification of the plant associations adapted to different cryogenic dynamics is estimated by A.B. Ferreira, G. Vieira and C. Mora (Lisbon University) J. Jansen, (Nijmegen University, The Netherlands), M. Ramos (Alcalá de Henares University, Spain). The collaboration between G. Vieira (University of Lisbon) and M. Ramos (Alcalá University) for studying Antarctic permafrost and active layer in the Livingston and Deception Islands continues, and new results were presented at international meetings. In 2001 a Portuguese Association of Geomorphologists was constituted (email: geomorf @ ceg. ul. pt). This is an important milestone for Portuguese geomorphology.

Gonçalo Vieira (gtvieira@ceg.ul.pt)


The Fourth International Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Mapping (CAVM) Workshop was held in Moscow, 10-12 April 2001. The leader of the CAVM project is Skip Walker, University of Alaska. The workshop was organised and hosted by Evgeny Melnikov, Natalia Moskalenko and the Earth Cryoshere Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch. Twenty-eight participants from Germany, Iceland, Russia, and the United States took part in this meeting.

The focus was on presentation of integrated vegetation maps for Alaska, Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, and Russia; presentation of vegetation legends; development of a plan for the final map synthesis (June, 2002); and possibilities for publication. Soils, surficial and bedrock geology, and percent water cover were considered in preparing the map. The International Symposium on Conservation and Transformation of Matter and Energy in Earth Cryoshere was held on 1-4 June 2001, in Pushchino. Approximately 160 scientists from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States and others attended the symposium. Russian participants represented 35 different organizations (both academic and industry) from 20 cities. The symposium consisted of seven sessions: 1) Modern microscopic methods for studying microorganisms in permafrost as well as their bio-diversity, metabolic activity at low temperatures, and interaction with unfrozen water; 2) Formation and dynamics of gas hydrates and natural gases including the metastable status of gas hydrates, conditions of formation and evolution of hydrates in ice covers, experimental study of the formation of hydrates of natural gases in the dispersing deposits, and methods of determining physical properties of ground changes due to hydrate formation; 3) Physical and chemical bases of behavior of matter in heterogeneous media; 4) The value of experimental and natural data in our understanding of processes of heat and mass transfer in active layers including the existence of subaerial taliks; 5) Influence of cryogenic processes on morphology and properties of modern soils of tundra and taiga zones; 6) Interaction of various artificial buildings with permafrost, and the pollution of the environment by petroleum and radionuclides; 7) Exchange of matter and energy between land and ocean in the Arctic areas.

The Second Russian Conference on Geocryology was held on 6-8 June 2001, at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The conference attracted 284 participants from 58 scientific, educational and industrial organizations across Russia, and scientists from Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United States. A wide range of problems of modern geocryology was discussed on five sessions: 1) Physicochemistry and mechanics of frozen ground: Among the reports presented were specific topics devoted to the investigation of a genetic nature of durability, new methods of determination of the mechanical characteristics of frozen grounds, gashydrate- containing deposits, and the determination of heat conductivity of large volumes of frozen grounds. 2) Lithogenetic geocryology: Among the reports presented were specific topics on the composition and the structure of cryolithogenic and frozen ground, and the genesis of massive ice sheets of the Arctic cryo-lithozone. 3) Dynamic geocryology: Of 28 reports most attention was given to modern and past, long- and shortterm fluctuations of climate and various methods for forecasting these phenomena. 4) Regional and historical geocryology: The 35 reports were divided into two groups of presentations; actual conditions and theoretical generalisations. 5) Engineering geocryology: the 25 reports covered topics of management of permafrost conditions in developed territories; safety of natural-technical systems; ecology and protection of the environment; new ways in the building on frozen grounds; new building technologies.

A total of 186 reports were submitted, and 103 of these were presented. The conference concluded that the following problems are most urgent in geocryology: 1. Development of the physicochemical theory of mass transfer in the frozen, freezing and thawing grounds, and the development of appropriate mathematical models; 2. Investigation of mass exchange properties of frozen grounds and the electrokinetic phenomena in freezing and frozen grounds; 3. Development of techniques for the determination and study of physicomechanical properties of frozen macrogeoterogenic and detritus grounds; 4. Development of ecologically safe physicochemical methods for the stabilization of frozen ground in order to prevent undesirable exogenous processes and to strengthen foundations; 5. Improvement of methods for palaeo-reconstruction of temperatures of the ground surface and thickness of cryolithozone; 6.Study of interrelations between climate warming and development of destructive processes in cryolithozone; 7. Development of the scientific bases for new construction methods on the frozen grounds; 8. Improvement of engineering protection for the environment and buildings from destructive geocryological processes; 9. Development of the legal regulations of the complex approach to the development of the North and to the creation of a system of ecological safety.

The Conference on the Results of Geocryological Research in Yakutia and Prospects of their Further Development was held 9-11 October 2001, in Yakutsk. This conference was organised by the Permafrost Institute of the Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Permafrost Department of the Yakutsk State University (R. M. Kamensky, chair of the organizing committee; A. N. Kurchatova, secretary). Post-graduate students of the Institute and the Department were active participants. Of the 69 submitted reports, 50 were presented (five plenary and 45 in sections). The plenary reports were devoted to summarizing studies of: thermal fields in cryolithozone of Yakutia (V. T. Balobaev); geocryological investigations (V. V. Kunitsky); physico-chemical processes on the migration of elements in the frozen grounds (V. I. Fedoseeva); engineering geocryology (R. M. Kamensky); and mountain geocryology (Batutin,S.A.).The reports were presented in the following five sessions: 1. General and regional geocryology, geocryology and hydrogeology of cryolitozone (co-chairs: V. V. Shepelev and V. V. Kunitsky); 2. Geothermal, thermophysical, geophysical and heat balance researches (co-chairs: V. Y. Balobaev and M. N. Zheleznyak); 3. Geoecological research and problems of rational management of the cryolithozone (co-chairs: V. N. Makarov and M. M. Shats); 4. Engineering-geocryological problems of buildings and engineering structures on the permafrost (cochairs: A,. N. Tseeva and R. V. Chzhan); 5. Development of deposits of minerals in the cryolithozone (co-chairs: S. A. Batugin and G. P. Kuzmin).

Over the past three years, integrated cryolithological- isotopic investigations were undertaken at sites on the Yugorsky, Yamal and Chukotka peninsulas within the framework of the INTAS project. Analyses of isotopes, macro- and micro-elements, and ice petrography are leading to publications on the reconstruction of the origin of tabular ground ice. Six teams from Russian and European institutes participated in the field and laboratory investigations: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research-Potsdam (H.-W. Hubberten); Earth Cryosphere Institute (M. O. Leibman, A. A. Vasiliev); Lomonosov Moscow State University (I. D. Streletskaya); Shirshov’s Institute of Oceanology (A. Yu. Lein); VNIIO kean-geologia (B. G. Vanshtein); and the Earth Science Center, Gothenborg University, Sweden (O. Ingolfsson and H. Lokranz). The Melnikov Permafrost Institute published four books on permafrost engineering in 2001 in Russian: – V. V. Torgashev. Piles in Conditions of High-temperature Frozen Grounds; – I. E. Gurianov. Beginning of Permafrost Engineering; – G. P. Kuzmin. Underground Structures in the Permafrost Area; – V. I. Makarov et al. City Norilsk (Experience of Construction) The Pushchino conference in 2002 is planned to be held on 12-15 May in honor of the 70th birthday of Evgeny Melnikov.

David Gilichinsky (gilichin@issp.serpukhov.su)


The Spanish IPA group held a three-day workshop at Potes (Cantabrian Mountains), 27-29 June 2001. The workshop was organised by the Department of Geography, University of Valladolid, co-sponsored by the Castilla y León Regional Government, the National Park of Picos de Europa and the Spanish Geomorphological Society.

On the first day the workshop subject was mountain periglacial environments, while on the second day a field trip across the high mountain in Picos de Europa visited an oceanic high mountain periglacial environment, and finally, the last day was devoted to the periglacial environment at high latitudes. Daniel Vonder Mühll delivered the opening lecture entitled Mountain Permafrost in Europe: an overview based on the PACE project. The meeting had twenty nine participants from Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. Twenty talks were presented emphasizing Quaternary periglacial environments in the Iberian Mountains, principally in the northern mountains and Central System, and modern periglacial environments and processes in the Iberian Mountains and in the Arctic and Antarctic. The topics include the presence and distribution of permafrost in the Pyrenees and in the Sierra Nevada; and nival and mass movements related to periglacial proccesses in the Central System (Gredos, Guadarrama and La Estrelha); and application of new techniques to study periglacial processes such as permafrost modelling and BTS and ground temperatures measurements at Sierra Nevada, La Estrelha and Pyrenees. Permafrost, active-layer dynamics and slope processes, linked to geomorphological mapping in periglacial environments in the Arctic and at the South Shetland Islands (Antarctic) by Spanish, Portuguese and Norwegian researchers, were the mains topics on high latitudes. A booklet containing summaries of the presentations was available and a formal publication is in preparation. Two workshop topics were highlighted. First, the differences between oceanic and mediterranean mountains in the Iberian Península, with a particular emphasis on dynamic of the mediterranean high mountain and a strong importance of nival processes in the mountains of central Spain (Cantabrian Ranges and Central System). Second, the use of advanced technologies in periglacial environment and the participation of the IPA Spanish group members on Arctic and Antarctic research groups.

The Spanish IPA group will meet next in the Gredos Range in June 2003, organised by the Department of Geodynamics of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Before then Spanish periglacial geomorphologists will meet at the Symposium on Mountain Geomorphology in the VII National Meeting of the Spanish Geomorphological Society, 19-20 September 2002 at Valladolid.

Enrique Serrano (serranoe@fyl.uva.es) David Palacios (davipd@eucmax.sim.ucm.es)


The main IPA related research activities in Sweden during this reporting period were those under the PACE project which is reported elsewhere. Other universities have additional projects dealing with permafrost in alpine, arctic and antarctic environments. The Department of Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Uppsala University carries out cold climate research concerning landforms, processes and dynamics, and their relationship to environmental conditions in the past and present.

Else Kolstrup has set up a research programme on boundary constraints of geomorphological forms and processes in past and present periglacial environments. Subprojects include studies of boundary constraints of thermal contraction cracking and a research student, Frieda Zuidhoff, works with a subproject on palsa dynamics in Lapland. Further, investigation of ‘stone growth’ in a boreal environment with winter frost is underway. Relict periglacial forms are being investigated in formerly periglaciated areas in Europe. Phil Wookey, Else Kolstrup and Göran Possnert are conducting a Swedish Natural Science Research Council (NFR) funded project: Climate change, soil organic matter lability and decomposer metabolism in high latitude soils, with fieldwork in northern Iceland. Wookey is also participating in an EU project: Dynamic response of the forest-tundra ecotone to environmental change (DART). As a component of this project, research student, Sofie Sjögersten is investigating soil processes and trace gas fluxes in relation to tree-line dynamics in Fennoscandia. Phil Wookey remains chair of the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX). Jan Boelhouwers, recently moved from South Africa to Uppsala, has completed a five-year project on past and present periglacial processes on the Subantarctic Marion Island. A new proposal has been submitted to continue the Subantarctic work, while a separate project aims to expand the study on environmental controls on solifluction and frost heave to seasonal frost and discontinuous permafrost areas in Lapland. Achim A. Beylich, funded by the post doctoral programme of Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) carries out process geomorphological research within the project ‘Recent sediment budget and relief development in Latnjavagge, Swedish Lapland’. This project is combined with the interdisciplinary NFR-project ‘Tundra landscape dynamics’. It is in cooperation with Else Kolstrup, Christer Jonasson (Abisko Scientific Research Station), Ulf Molau (Botanical Institute, Göteborg University), Johan Kling (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency), and Laust Pedersen (Uppsala University). Financial support is from the DAAD, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, NFR, and Uppsala University.

At the Department of Physical Geography, Lund University, no major projects dealing with permafrost have received funding for the last four years and only minor activities have been continued through private funding initiatives and through basic departmental funds and staff input. Prof. emeritus J.O. Mattsson continue editing the Geografiska Annaler from Lund. Active projects are;

– Abisko area active layer transect. In co-operation with The Abisko Research Station J. Åkerman is maintaining the CALM sites along the east-west transect in the Abisko area. The ten active layer sites have now been monitored since 1978, and annual basic data is presented within the CALM reporting system. 

– Active periglacial procesess and their climatic significance in the Kapp Linne’ area, Svalbard. J. Åkerman is maintaining a limited monitoring programme of the processes and the climate within this area, with an annual visit.

– Active layer monitoring in the Kapp Linne’ area, Svalbard. This monitoring programme, which started in 1972, is still maintained and now within the CALM network. It is run in cooperation with UNIS, Ole Humlum.

– Vegetation mapping over the Kapp Linne’ area, Svalbard. A MSc study by T. Josefsson and I. Martensson supervised by J. Åkerman is in its finals stages of reporting.

– A digital elevation model with analyses of the vertical and horizontal distribution of vegetation and geomorphological forms and processes in the Kapp Linne’ area, Svalbard.

A MSc study supervised by J. Åkerman was finished in 1998 and awaits publication.Rolf Nyberg of the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Karlstad is maintaining serveral projects in the Abisko area. One involves dynamics of the Kårsa glacier and one on permafrost and slope processes in the Pallenvagge and Nissunvagge valleys, assessing the importance of extreme erosional events as geomorphological hazards and as climatic indicators in the Abisko area.

Jonas Åkerman (jonas.akerman@natgeo.lu.se)


The ‘Permafrost Monitoring Switzerland (PERMOS)’ is in the first of three years of the pilot phase. Activities comprise temperature measurements at ten drill sites, BTS-surveys to determine permafrost distribution patterns in ten areas, and organising aerial photographs to document surface characteristics, allowing for later photogrammetrical studies. The following institutes are responsible for the field surveys: Universities of Bern, Fribourg, Lausanne and Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research (SFISAR, Davos).

The network is sponsored by the Swiss Academy of Sciences, the Swiss Forest Agency and the Federal Office for Water and Geology. Annual reports are published by the Swiss Glaciological Commission.

The PACE project with the two Swiss partners (University of Zurich: Wilfried Haeberli, Martin Hoelzle, Catherine Mittaz; and VAW-ETH Zurich: Daniel Vonder Mühll, Christian Hauck) has come to an end. Christian Hauck finished in spring his Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Geophysical methods for detecting permafrost in high mountains’. Collection of borehole temperature data and meteorological data from climate stations are continued at Murtèl, Schilthorn and Zermatt within the national PERMOS-network.

At ETH Zurich the ETH-Mini-Poly project of the three institutes Geotechnics (IGT: Sarah Springman, Lukas Arenson), Geophysics (Hansruedi Maurer, Martin Musil), and VAW (Daniel Vonder Mühll) has reached its third and final year. Both doctoral theses by Arenson and Musil are in their final stages, which means that the collected data are being processed. The triaxial creep tests, which are mainly performed with cores from the recent drillings at the Murtèl- Corvatsch rock glacier, show the expected, exponential influence of the stresses on the creep rates. However, one of the most surprising observations of the current field measurements was the presence of water within the rock glacier. It seems as if the cavities within the frozen body allow water to leak through the system. Not only does the water reduce the strength of the material, it is also an additional heat flux, which must be taken into account. Detailed information about the deformation within the rock glacier is expected from the new measurement system (time domain reflectometry), which was installed at the Murtèl-Corvatsch site. Until now, the deformation is not large enough to show a signal, but for the future, the system is very promising. A modelling work regarding the dynamics of rock glaciers arose from the ETH-Mini-Poly project (Hilmar Gudmundsson, Gwendolyn Leysinger). A numerical model has been developed describing the advance and retreat of a gravity driven creeping viscous medium, which is used to investigate the flow field close to the rock glacier terminus.

The Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics Group at University of Zurich is working on the following projects: ‘Permafrost distribution modelling based on energy-balance data’ (Catherine Mittaz, Martin Hoelzle); ‘GIS-based modelling of creeping mountain permafrost’ (Regula Frauenfelder); ‘Analysis and spatial modelling of permafrost distribution in coldmountain areas by integration of advanced remote sensing technology’ (Stephan Gruber); ‘Investigation of perennial ice patches’ (K. Schulz, R. Frauenfelder); and ‘Analyses of permafrost creep using digital photogrammetry’ (Andraes Kääb). Markus Lerjen finished his MSc. thesis on ‘Frozen talus slopes’, and Sonja Oswald finished a MSc. on ‘Relation between permafrost and debris flows in the Valais Alps’. Research results were presented at the 1st European Permafrost Conference in Rome, March 2001 and at the 5th Conference on Geomorphology in Tokyo, August 2001. Temperature conditions in steep rock slopes, especially as related to instability problems in warm and degrading permafrost, are being parameterised by combined single-channel temperature datalogger measurements and spatial modelling (Wilfried Haeberli, Stephan Gruber, Jeannette Nötzli and Marco Peter).

The Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) is continuing to investigate snow-supporting structures in permafrost terrain by monitoring ground temperatures and slope movements at three high altitude permafrost sites equipped with avalanche defence structures. The aim of the project, which started in 1996, is to determine whether snowsupporting structures modify the thermal regime of the ground and whether slope stability is affected. Different types of structures and foundations are being tested for their efficiency on steep slopes in unstable, frozen sediments. Federal guidelines for the construction of snow-supporting structures in permafrost terrain were published by SLF in 2000 and used for current building sites. The project is supported by the Swiss cantons Valais and Graubünden.

The Institutes of Geography, Universities of Lausanne (Christophe Lambiel, Emmanuel Reynard) and Fribourg (Reynald Delaloye, A. Turatti) have focused on four types of sites: glacier forefields, rock glaciers, talus slopes and low altitude places. Investigations are performed by applying geoelectrics and surface thermal methods at various sites. Glacier forefields are studied in particular in the Verbier area in collaboration with the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Lausanne (L. Baron, R. Monnet, and L. Marescot). A joint project between the Institutes of Geography of Fribourg and Lausanne, the University Institute Kurt Bösch at Sion (Ralph Lugon) and the Department of Geography at the University of Valladolid, Spain (Enrique Serrano) aims at understanding the glacier/permafrost relationships in the Little Ice Age moraines systems in the Posets Massif, Central Pyrenneas (Spain). Several projects related to permafrost are in the phase of implementation, which is guided by the Academia Engadina (Felix Keller). At Pontresina a combined avalanche – debris flow dam is being constructed to protect the village against natural hazards. The University of Bern (Group for Applied Geomorphology, Dragan Mihajlovic) continued the studies on radiation- and energy balance at Fruggentälti/ Gemmi.

Daniel Vonder Mühll (Daniel.VonderMuehll@unibas.ch)

United Kingdom

Julian Murton (University of Sussex) and Mark Bateman (University of Sheffield) initiated a project on sand-sheet development in the Tuktoyaktuk Coastlands, Western Canadian Arctic, in July 2001, and funded by the Royal Society.

The project is determining the temporal relationships between sandsheet formation and known changes of climate, active- layer depth, vegetation and glaciation, in order to establish the natural controls on and timing of aeolian sand-sheet development during the last glacial-interglacial cycle in the Tuktoyaktuk Coastlands. Samples were collected for luminescence and radiocarbon dating, and stratigraphic and sedimentological observaobservations were recorded. Interestingly, multiple levels of sand veins and wedges were observed in the sand sheets, the highest syngenetic wedges recorded within the Kittigazuit Formation on Richards Island exceeded 9 m. Future work seeks to clarify the complex stratigraphic relationships between sand-sheet, sand-dune and glacigenic deposits along the northern coast of Liverpool Bay, beyond the mapped limit of Wisconsinan glaciation.

Charles Harris (University of Cardiff) and Michael Davies (University of Dundee), in collaboration with Johan Ludvig Sollid (University of Oslo) established a process monitoring station at Steinhoi, Dovrefjell, Norway in July 2001, funded by the British Natural Environment Research Council. A steel frame was ininstalled on which is mounted a pair of Linear Voltage Displacement Transducers (LVDTs), to record ground surface movements (heave/settlement and down slope displacement). Thermistor strings and Druck miniature pore water pressure transducers were also deployed to monitor seasonal ground freezing and thawing, and associated pore water pressure variations. Data is recorded by a Campbell logger that is linked to Cardiff and Dundee via a mobile phone, making it possible to interrogate the station on a daily basis. Rudberg columns were also installed for longterm measurement of displacement profiles. The aim is to generate field data for validation of recent laboratory simulation studies.

The IPA web site continues to be maintained by Julia Branson at the Geodata Institute, University of Southampton UK and may be found at http://www. geodata.soton.ac.uk/ipa. Any queries should be emailed to j.branson@soton.ac.uk

Charles Harris (harrisc@cardiff.ac.uk)

United States of America

The U.S. Permafrost Association (USPA) was officially established in 2001 to better enable U.S. scientists to contribute to the International Permafrost Association and to promote permafrost science and engineering in the U.S. The fledgling organisation currently serves about 75 individual members, several corporate and institutional members.

Activities during this first year have been primarily aimed at becoming firmly established as a legitimate non-profit organisation with clearly defined goals and by-laws. Larry Hinzman and Rupert ‘Bucky’ Tart are serving as interim officers until the first elections are completed in early 2002. The new organisation met at the Annual AGU Fall meeting in San Francisco in December. A web page is under construction with links to other national and international organizations (http://www. uspermafrost. org/). University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton officially invited the IPA to convene the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost in 2008 in Fairbanks.

Numerous permafrost related research efforts are currently active in the Alaskan Arctic and Subarctic and in the Russian Arctic. The U.S. National Science Foundation Arctic System Science (ARCSS) programme (http://www. nsf. gov/od /opp /arctic/ system.htm) supports several projects that examine permafrost dynamics and influence on ecosystem processes and their response to climatic variability: ATLAS (http://www. laii. uaf. edu /projects.htm#atlas) ITEX (http://www. systbot. gu. se/research/itex/itex.html ) CALM (http://www. geography.uc.edu/~ kenhinke /CALM/) and RAISE programmes (http://www. raise. uaf.edu/). A series of ATLAS and RAISE meetings were held in Salt Lake City in November to review progress and develop future plans. Additional information on these programmes and individual projects is available through the web addresses. News from individual projects include the following highlights: Several NSF-sponsored, active-layer projects led by Ken Hinkel and Frederick Nelson continued in northern Alaska and included observations on the influence of enhanced snow accumulation on seasonal thaw and the deployment of 60 air-soil temperature dataloggers in the Barrow peninsula to assess the extent of the urban heat island. Wendy Eisner, Ken Hinkel, Jim Bockheim and others conducted a programme of intensive spring coring and a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of drained thaw-lake basins near Barrow. A project sponsored by the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at Barrow and coordinated by Jerry Brown resulted in installation of new thermistor cables by Kenji Yoshikawa and Vladimir Romanovsky in several boreholes. The boreholes were originally instrumented and observed during the 1950s and early 1960s by Max Brewer. With the assistance of the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC) a key coastal site was established along Elson Lagoon as part of the Arctic Coastal Dynamic (ACD) programme.

The extensive thermokarst features near Council on the Seward Peninsula are being studied by Larry Hinzman, Douglas Kane and Kenji Yoshikawa. These investigations relate changes in hydrologic processes and permafrost to climatic dynamics, and seek to develop better prognostic tools for predicting future hydrological responses. Initial results indicate that under a warming climate, the thermokarst ponds will drain as permafrost degrades. Gary Clow, USGS, revisited the climate-monitoring stations in the northern Alaska and installed several new stations. There are now nine stations monitoring active layer temperatures, air temperatures, snow depth, and solar radiation all with Campbell data-loggers. Two deep drill holes were relogged, East Teshepuk and North Inigok, and both showed a very significant warming during the 1990s. Tim Collett, USGS, reports that as a continuation of the 1998 Mallik 2L-38 gas hydrate research-drilling effort, activities are underway to reoccupy the Mallik site in the Canadian Mackenzie River Delta and drill three additional gas hydrate research wells during the 2001-2002 winter season (see Canadian report for more information).

Permafrost engineering activities are increasing as a result of two major projects, which are taking place in Alaska. First, the Trans Alaska Pipeline right-of-way (ROW) must be renewed in 2004. The original ROW agreements were for a period of 30 years beginning in 1974. This renewal will require the pipeline owners to participate in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Many of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s long-time consultants will be busy with this work; and the Bureau of Land Management has retained its own EIS consultant. The second major effort in Alaska is the new gas pipeline study that has been initiated by the Alaskan gas producers. This study should continue for 12 to 24 months and it is hoped that it will lead to the design and construction of a gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Calgary or further south.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and its Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering (TCCRE) remain active in promoting permafrost engineering research and knowledge. They continue to sponsor engineering representation to the US Permafrost Committee. TCCRE is in the final planning stages for the 11th International Conference on Cold Regions Engineering, which will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, May 20-22, 2002. Over 130 abstracts have been submitted. For more information contact Kelly Merrill (KMerrill@CH2M.com). TCCRE is also actively pursuing updating several Cold Regions Engineering Monographs over the next several years. Ted Vinson is completing the report ‘Strategic Plan for Cold Regions Engineering Research in the New Millennium’, based on the NSF-sponsored, June 2000conference.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) supports two technical areas that are of interest to cold regions engineers – the Heat Transfer Division has a K-18 Committee that focuses on low temperature heat transfer and is chaired by Zhoumin Zhang (zmzhang@ufl.edu), and the Ocean, Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division (OOAE) sponsors the annual Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering (OMAE) conference. The conference scheduled for 2002 will be held in Oslo, Norway, 23-28 June. Information on the conference can be found at http:// www.omae.org.

Tingjun Zhang is leading the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) funded Global Geocryological Database (GGD) project, a continuing task for the international permafrost community. GGD is based at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado, and is coordinated with the IPA Standing Committee on Data, Information and Communication. An objective of GGD is to establish a one-stop center for dissemination of frozen ground data and information. Version II of the CAPS CD-ROM Conference is under preparation and will be available for the Zurich Conference in 2003. Organisations, institutions, and individuals are encouraged to contribute frozen ground related data and information to GGD. For more information http://nsidc.org/frozen ground/.

The 25th Anniversary of the National Snow and Ice Data Center was honored by hosting a special session at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California. The session is entitled ‘Monitoring an evolving cryosphere’ and the moderators were Anne Nolin and Ted Scambos. The session will focus upon the use of cryospheric data sets and new monitoring and measurement techniques to investigate the earth’s cryosphere, including floating ice, snow cover, glaciers, frozen ground, polar climate, and ice sheets. A comprehensive river discharge database for the entire pan-Arctic drainage system, is now available (http://arcss.colorado.edu/Catalog/arcss062.html). This database covers the entire pan-Arctic drainage system, and is available on CD-ROM. The collection comprises data from 3713 gauges and contains monthly river discharge data extending from the 1890s (for four Canadian and five Russian gauges) through the early 1990s, but the majority of data was collected between 1960 and 1990. The NSF ARCSS programme requested members of the research community to assess the current status and research priorities related to hydrological processes in the Arctic Basin. In September 2000, thirtythree researchers active in studies related to arctic hydrology met in a workshop in Santa Barbara to define the most pressing research needs and formulate an approach to address those needs. The resulting research strategy, including topics related to permafrost, has been published and is available via the internet at (http://www.arcus.org/ARCSS/hydro/ index.html) or from the Arctic Consortium of the United States (ARCUS).

The U. S. participation in the Global Terrestrial Network- Permafrost (GTN-P) programme was summarised in the August 2001 NOAA GCOS report to the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report is available from http://www.eis.noaa.gov/gcos or contact howard.diamond@noaa.gov.

Jerry Brown (jerrybrown@igc.org) Larry Hinzman (ffldh@uaf.edu) Rupert ‘Bucky’ Tart(BTart@golder.com)


In the Austrian Alps permafrost research takes place at selected sites of the Hohe Tauern Range and the Tyrolean Alps. Special emphasis is placed on annual measurements of the following parameters on active rock glaciers: temperature measurements on the surface and within the active layer of permafrost areas, hydrological investigations (temperature, water storage and discharge, hydrochemical characteristics), and geodetic and photogrammetric monitoring of surface velocity and vertical changes of active rock glaciers.


Especially Karl Krainer (University of Innsbruck) and Viktor Kaufmann (Graz University of Technology) are involved in these activities which have recently been documented by several publications and on the homepages of their institutions (www. uibk. ac. at /projects/rockglacier and www. cis. TUGraz.at/ photo/viktor.kaufmann/publications). In addition, the permafrost relevant data collected in the last years (temperature data logging) will be available for downloading at www. kfunigraz. ac. at/geowww in early 2001.

Hanns Kerschner (University of Innsbruck) and his co-workers investigated relict rock glaciers and moraines in the Western Austrian Alps for reconstructing palaeoclimatic conditions. The main results are that the climate within the Younger Dryas changed from cold and wet to cold and was significantly drier in this region. Several stades of rock glacier formation can be distinguished; the last of which may be contemporaneous with the Preboreal oscillation.

Some further activities are going on within the framework of diploma and Ph.D. theses. Among these are several local studies dealing with permafrost mapping in the field, permafrost modelling using remote sensing and GIS techniques, and the evaluation of the continuous measurements mentioned above. Recently the Geological Survey of Austria has also started geophysical soundings in a permafrost area of the Hohe Tauern range. Finally, some investigations are carried out outside Austria partly dealing with permafrost, e.g. glacier research in Iceland (University of Innsbruck) and geoecological activities in the Russian Arctic (University of Vienna).

Gerhard Karl Lieb (gerhard.lieb@kfunigraz.ac.at)

South Korea

In February 2001 a new collaborative study was started entitled ‘Recent and future distribution of permafrost in the Korean Peninsula, based on studies of recent permafrost forms in the mountains and plains of the Korean Peninsula and precise AMS-dating of Siberian ice-wedge ice’. The participants were Jong Chan Kim (Seoul National University, Director of the AMS-Laboratory), Uk Han (Korea Military Academy), Yurij K.Vasil’chuk (Geocryology and Glaciology Department, Lomonosov’s Moscow State University,) and Alla Vasil’chuk (Lomonosov’s Moscow State University).

The activities in 2001 included dating Late Pleistocene ice wedges from 2 cross-sections of the lower Kolyma River (Duvanny Yar and Zelyony Mys) using AMS. Future AMS studies will be performed dating ice-wedge ice complexes in three representative cross-sections of Yakutia (Plakhinski Yar, Bykovsky Peninsula, and Mamontova Gora). In August 2001 Jong Chan Kim, Yurij K.Vasil’chuk and Alla Vasil’chuk undertook field trips supported by the Seoul National University. At Jilmoe Bog in the Odae Mountain National Park at 1060 m a.s.l. they studied recent hummock formation in cooperation with Keyong Park from the National Park Authority and Son Myong Won (Taegu University). Also cross-sections of multistage ground wedges at the archeological Chongok Paleolithic site (designated as the National Monument N268) was studied in cooperation with Kidong Bae and Miyoung Hong (Hanyang University). Several scientific papers are in preparation on precise radiocarbon dating of permafrost features based on these studies.

Jong Chan Kim (jckim@phya.snu.ac.kr)