2005 IPA Country Report

Table of Contents

The Netherlands
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America


Most of the permafrost research in Austria is carried out by the research groups in Innsbruck and in Graz. The Innsbruck group (K. Krainer) is continuing rock glacier monitoring in the western Stubai and Oetztal Alps (hydrogeology, ground temperature, surface velocities). Furthermore investigations on active rock glaciers in South Tyrol (Central Alps and eastern Dolomites) started with similar thematic focus using georadar information.

The Graz group focuses on active rock glaciers in the central Alps of Austria. The Institute of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry (Graz University of Technology) continued annual geodetic measurements on Doesen, Hinteres Langtalkar and Weissenkar rock glaciers and presented a final report on the applicability of differential SAR interferometry using ERS-1/2 data for measuring surface deformation of glaciers and active rock glaciers. In a case study, ground-based photogrammetric methods were used successfully for deriving metric information on surface deformation and flow velocity.

Since 2000 the front of the highly active Hinteres Langtalkar rock glacier has been monitored by terrestrial laser scanning (Riegl LPM-2k Long Range Laser Scanner and the software GeoScanner) by Joanneum Research in order to better understand rock glacier front processes with high temporal and spatial resolution. More recently, studies on geomorphic processes were emphasized to improve our knowledge on processes in the nourishment areas of active rock glaciers.

Beside these activities, research also focuses on lower mountains of eastern Austria. The Niedere Tauern range (Styria) is of particular interest because of widespread occurrence of multi-unit relict rock glaciers, possibly attributed to different stages of the Late-Glacial period. Thus in this mountain area, palaeo-permafrost investigations will give information on permafrost distribution at its spatial limits and on glacial and periglacial landscape evolution.

Gerhard Karl Lieb (gerhard.lieb@uni-graz.at)


At the University of Ottawa, Antoni Lewkowicz and his graduate students are undertaking permafrost research in the mountains of northwest Canada (supported by the Yukon Geological Survey, YGS and the Geological Survey of Canada, GSC as well as NSERC) and on Ellesmere Island (with PCSP support).

One project is to test the BTS method to map permafrost probability in extreme northwestern British Columbia (Haines Road) and in the southwest Yukon (Ruby Range), where one of the steepest precipitation gradients in Canada occurs. Preliminary results suggest that the BTS method can be applied successfully and that the lower limits of permafrost rise by about 200 m between the two sites. A second project is focused on the effects of forest fire on landsliding over permafrost in the area around Dawson (Yukon) where numerous fires occurred in 2004. Shallow landslides developed immediately following the fires but more were predicted for 2005 and indeed occurred. A third project examined thermokarst development in ice-rich terrain within a mid-elevation valley near Whitehorse (Yukon). Degradation has been considerable in the past 50 years but it appears that this is only the latest event during the late-Holocene in formation and degradation of permafrost in the area. In an adjacent valley, the contemporary dynamics of a palsa field that is influenced by drainage changes is being monitored.

Numerous new detachment failures occurred on the Fosheim Peninsula (Ellesmere Island) as a result of the warm and sunny conditions in August 2005. Frost tubes installed by the GSC suggest that the summer of 2005 was one of the warmest in the last 10-15 years. Some detachment failures were observed to develop in one or two hours, while others continued to enlarge for several days.

Current research activities at the University of Alberta Geotechnical Centre focused on the micro structural processes during the freezing and thawing of fine- and coarsegrained soils (Lukas Arenson, Dave Sego). Initially, the freezing process was observed under different temperature boundary conditions and pore water salinities. Animations of one-dimensional freezing tests can be downloaded from: http://www.engineering.ualberta.ca/ geotechnical/frozenSoils.cfm. Subsequent investigations are focused on ice lens formations, frozen fringe development and frost heave within frost susceptible fine grained samples.

Permafrost research at the University of Calgary is concentrated in the Departments of Civil Engineering, Geology & Geophysics and Geography. Jocelyn Grozic and her team have developed a laboratory for modelling the properties of gas hydrates including being able to create and decompose them under controlled conditions. Brian Moorman’s team is currently focusing on the development of new geophysical techniques for imaging permafrost and glacier hydrology, studying the interaction between shallow sea water, floating and bottom fast ice and sediment deposition and the impact on the thermal regime and structure of permafrost in outer the Mackenzie Delta. One of Masaki Hayashi’s foci is cold region hydrology investigations including studying water and energy cycles in the discontinuous permafrost region, hydraulic properties of peat, and snowmelt infiltration. With the increase in hydrocarbon exploration and development in the Mackenzie Delta, the CREWES group has been working on seismic imaging in permafrost zones. Increased interest in manned exploration of Mars has lead to research by a team lead by Rob Stewart to investigate the best way to explore for subsurface ice on Mars using shallow geophysical methods. This is being undertaken by using Mars analogues in the permafrost areas of northern Canada.

Benoit Beauchamp was recently appointed as the director of Arctic Institute of North America (University of Calgary).

An on-going study of massive ground ice in coarsegrained deposits and its implications for granular resource inventories is being conducted in the Mackenzie Delta and Tuktoyaktuk Coastlands by Wayne Pollard and researchers from McGill University in collaboration with Robert Gowan, Canadian Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Supported by PERD and DIAND, this study addresses questions about the nature, origin, distribution, and significance of massive ground ice in deposits identified as potential sand and gravel borrow sites. In 2004-05 fieldwork focused on capacitive coupled resistivity surveys at sites including the Ya-Ya Esker borrow site (Richard’s Island), the Tuktoyaktuk local granular sites (E of Tuktoyaktuk Harbour), and the massive ice at Peninsula Point (SW of Tuktoyaktuk). This research formed the basis of an MSc thesis by Greg De Pascale (McGill University).

The McGill team lead by W. Pollard is also involved in a project concerned with the sensitivity and rates of erosion of ice-rich coasts in the southern Beaufort Sea. This project is funded by NSERC, NRCan and ARCTICNET and is part of the Arctic Coastal Dynamics project. This study involves a combination of geophysical surveys, shallow coring, mapping of coastal sections, remote sensing and modelling. Soil organic carbon content measurement and carbon isotope analyses are used to assess potential climate change feedbacks (Nicole Couture, Hugues Lantuit, Greg De Pascale, Tim Haltigin, and M.D. Azhural Hoque).

Permafrost research at Carleton University has been rejuvenated through the NSERC Northern Chair Program in Permafrost (Chris Burn) in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Currently, eleven graduate students in physical geography are working in this area, and two new faculty members were appointed in association with Chair activities: Sean Carey, with expertise in hydrology, and Elyn Humphries, with interests in surface energy and mass fluxes. Sivan Parameswaran, who has a long-term interest in the electrophysics of freezing soil is an adjunct member of the Department. A large proportion of the research conducted under the Chair program has been in the Mackenzie delta area and along Canada’s western Arctic coast. Some of this is a contribution to the IPA’s GTN-P IPY project, providing temperature profiles in permafrost to depths of 50 m at Garry Island, Illisarvik, and Paulatuk (Northwest Territories), and Herschel Island, Old Crow, Mayo and near Whitehorse (Yukon). This lead to several papers on ground ice conditions in the Mackenzie delta area (with our former Postdoctoral Fellow Steve Kokelj), and on the thermal regime of tundra and boreal lakes. The program is in collaboration with J.R. Mackay. The September 2005 issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences published a joint publication summarizing over 50 years of observations on some of the best developed ventifacts in Canada, found near Paulatuk. Joint investigations continue at Garry Island and Illisarvik each year on the development of ice-wedge polygons, the response of permafrost to climate change, especially changes in snow conditions, and the behaviour of sub-permafrost pore water during permafrost aggradation.

At Carleton University, the current graduate-student projects in permafrost are largely conducted in partnership with northern agencies, particularly the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Yukon Department of Environment, and the Ekati diamond mine. Kumari Karunaratne (PhD) is working on permafrost conditions in the Slave Province, north of Yellowknife, with an interest in permafrost aggradation into saturated mine tailings. Peter Morse (PhD) is examining snow depth variation in the outer Mackenzie delta and its association with changes in permafrost conditions. Mike Palmer (MSc) has completed fieldwork on factors controlling changes in ground temperature across tree line near the western Arctic coast. Julian Kanigan (MSc) and Thai Nguyen (MSc) expect to work next summer on permafrost conditions in the Mackenzie delta, particularly recent response to climate warming and the spatial distribution of unfrozen ground within the delta. Pascale Roy-Léveillée (MSc) is studying the spatial distribution of snow in the Ogilvie Mountains, and its relationship with plant distributions and permafrost. Celina Ziegler (MSc) has started a project on the use of isotopes for hydrograph separation in a small drainage basin near Whitehorse.

The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), with support from the Government of Canada’s (GoC) Northern Energy Development (NED) Program, has initiated a detailed inventory of landslides in the Mackenzie Valley between Inuvik and Tulita (Réjean Couture, Simon Riopel). This new study initiative contributes to providing geoscience information for hydrocarbon exploration and development in the Beaufort Sea, Mackenzie River Delta, and Mackenzie Valley. To date, over 1800 landslides and other natural terrain hazard features (e.g. karst sink holes, rock glaciers) were mapped in the study area and integrated into a GIS platform. At present, about 40% of the study area was mapped using over 650 air photos acquired in 2004. The completion of the landslide mapping is expected by the end of 2006.

As part of the NED Program, the GSC has also initiated a geotechnical project to investigate slope failure mechanisms associated with landslides in the Mackenzie Valley (Baolin Wang, Susan Nichol, Xueqing Su). The objective of this project is to improve understanding of factors causing slope failure and landslide processes. Initial site reconnaissance and preliminary site investigations have been conducted along the northern half of the Mackenzie Valley. More focused drilling, sampling and testing activities are planned.

Field investigations continued in 2005 with investigations of coastal permafrost in the vicinity of the Mackenzie Delta (Steve Solomon, Gavin Manson). Thermistor cables were installed in 10 m boreholes along an onshoreoffshore transect. Ground penetrating radar (B. Moorman and C. Stevens, University of Calgary) and electrical resistivity (W. Pollard and G. De Pascale) surveys revealed dramatic changes in the thickness and extent of ice-bonded sediments. GPR surveys were also used to validate synthetic aperture radar interpretations of the extent of bottomfast ice. Summer surveys included shallow boreholes to investigate sediment stratigraphy and pore water geochemistry in areas of extensive dead vegetation. One logger provided a unique record of nearshore temperatures from April to August. Surveys were also undertaken in Tuktoyaktuk to monitor coastal erosion and in the Pingo Canadian Landmark to ascertain the elevation of Ibyuk Pingo.

J.D. Mollard and Associates located and terrain mapped three alternative road routes, all originating in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, with three destinations in northern Manitoba. All routings traverse the continuous and widespread continuous permafrost zones.

EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. (EBA) was retained to support Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Program within a study on «Sensitivity to Climate Change in Northwest Territories Communities». Analyses were undertaken to estimate the approximate timeframes when remediation/ adaptation of infrastructure might be required, and the associated approximate costs. The building foundations in communities in the Inuvik region are, as a group, the most sensitive to climate change impacts. This area is characterized by continuous, but warm permafrost. The small communities in the southern Northwest Territories generally exhibit relatively low sensitivity because permafrost is generally sporadically present in this area.

A detail permafrost map at a scale of 1:10,000 of Imperial Oil’s TAGLU site located on Richards Island in the Mackenzie Delta was compiled for the Mackenzie Gas Project by V. Roujanski of EBA Engineering based on available geological, geotechnical and geophysical field data (gathered over a period of 30 years by EBA, R.M. HARDY, GSC and IORL), ground temperature monitoring and aerial photography interpretation. The compiled permafrost map synthesizes the collected data and shows the interpreted spatial distribution of mean annual ground temperatures, lithology, ground ice content, surficial geology and permafrost-related landforms.

In March 2005, Don Hayley, Principal Engineer and Senior Vice President of EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd, member of the Canadian National Committee for the IPA and member of the IPA Executive Committee, was awarded the Julian C. Smith Medal by the Engineering Institute of Canada. The award, the second most senior award of the Institute which represents all the learned engineering societies in Canada, recognized Don’s contributions to the «development of Canada’s North». For further details and the full citation of the award, see: www.eicici. ca/english/tour/haf2.

The application and environmental impact studies for the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project were filed in October 2004 triggering the regulatory review process. The project will involve the development of three onshore natural gas fields in the Mackenzie Delta, and the transport of natural gas and natural gas liquids via buried pipelines south through the continuous and discontinuous permafrost regions of the Mackenzie valley to NW Alberta. Many permafrost scientists and engineers, from government, universities and the private sector, were actively involved this last year either in the technical aspects of the project investigations and design, or its Environmental Assessment review under a Joint Review Panel (JRP). For further information, see: www.ngps.nt.ca.

In September 2005, the Government of Canada announced that it will provide $150 million in new funding over six years to support innovative, interdisciplinary research for the International Polar Year (IPY). The targeted science and research program will focus on two of Canada’s most important challenges for its northern regions: climate change impacts and adaptation, and the health and well-being of northern communities. Funds will be allocated, through a competitive, peer-review process, to academic, government and private sector researchers. For additional information on IPY in Canada, see: www.ipyapi. ca and www.ualberta.ca/~ipy (Canadian Secretariat).

As part of the APEGGA annual conference, a two-day workshop «Permafrost Geophysics: A Workshop on Hydrocarbon Exploration in the Arctic» brought together in April 2005 over 150 geoscientists interested in exploration in permafrost areas. Much of the workshop was dedicated to improving our abilities at imaging the hydrocarbon structures in permafrost regions, however shallow geophysics for geotechnical and environmental applications was also discussed. The workshop received such an overwhelming response, a CD of the presentations and other material is currently being compiled for release in 2006.

The University of British Columbia will host on February 17, 2006 a celebration and colloquium to mark the legacy and continuing achievements of J. Ross Mackay in commemoration of his 90th birthday. Six short lectures, chosen to represent various aspects of J. Ross Mackay’s career, will be delivered during the day, and other contributions will be presented in a poster session. There will be a dinner following the colloquium. The celebration is sponsored by the Department of Geography at UBC, the NSERC Northern Chair in Permafrost in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and the Canadian National Committee for the IPA. All are invited to attend and participate in this celebration, but are advised to register before February 1, 2006. Full details are available at www.geog.ubc.ca/mackay2006.

The CNC-IPA is co-sponsoring a permafrost session at the upcoming Geological Association of Canada annual meeting scheduled for May 2007 in Yellowknife, NWT. This conference represents an opportunity for the Canadian permafrost community to get together prior to the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost in Fairbanks. For further information, see: www. nwtgeoscience.ca/gac_mac.

The semi-annual Coastal Zone Canada conference will be held in Tuktoyaktuk in August 2006. The venue will focus coastal investigators and managers on Arctic issues. A session on Arctic coastal processes and infrastructures is being planned along with a field trip to the Tuktoyaktuk area. For further information, see: www.czc06.ca

Margo Burgess (mburgess@nrcan.gc.ca)


Permafrost research in China focused in 2005 on the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway which will be completed by October 2005. The Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was involved in revisions of the pavement design for ordinary embankment, as well as for viaducts on ice-rich, warm permafrost, at an estimated cost of 1.7 billion Yuan (about 200 millions USD).

This research focuses mainly on field and laboratory observations, in combination with numerical simulations; it takes into account climatic warming scenarios. This research programme will come to an end in 2006, but monitoring the interactions of permafrost and the railway will continue. Moreover, another important research programme supported by the Railway Ministry, «Installation of long-term monitoring systems along Qinghai-Tibet Railroad», just started, with an estimated cost of 60 millions Yuan (about 7 millions USD). It involves soil temperature monitoring and foundation deformation at 76 railway cross-sections.

Some engineering investigations along highways on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and in northeastern China were carried out to reduce problems linked to frost heaving and thaw settlement. A part of the oil pipeline from Russia was also discussed, with some preliminary permafrost investigation along the proposed routes in northeastern China. A preliminary survey of frost heaving of foundation soils, along the ambient temperature product oil pipeline from Golmud to Lhasa, was conducted jointly by the Corps of Engineers of the People’s Republic of China and CAREERI.

The Institute of Tibetan Plateau (ITP), CAS, was established in 2004, with its headquarters in Lhasa, Tibet, two branch offices in Beijing and Kunming, and a faculty body of about 30 that is undergoing rapid growth. The ITP focuses on terrestrial processes, including the geophysics of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, land-surface processes, biodiversity and endangered species. Three field stations were established in the Namcuo Lake (for lacustrine processes), Linzhi (for forest ecosystems), and Dingri (for alpine tundra) near Mount Everest. Alpine permafrost is found above 5800 m in the Namcuo Lake and Dingri areas; it will be studied within research projects linked to the long-term programmes and the recently granted National 973 Key Program «Cryosphere and Global Change on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau». The programme «Evolution of the QTP since the Holocene and its Relationship with Ecosystems» also includes some permafrost research projects focusing on active layer processes, carbon pools in permafrost and greenhouse gases emissions.

The CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics in Beijing, the Institute of Earth Environment in Xi’an, CAREERI, and Lanzhou University are conducting research on lacustrine sediments and aeolian deposits on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau near Qinghai Lake, Qidam Basin, and in the western part of the QTP. The desertification processes and wind erosion, as well as erosion linked to frost and thawing processes, are some of the dominant processes in Tibet, which is the third largest desertic province (autonomous region of China).

The Harbin Institute of Technology, Transportation Research and Hydraulic Science Research established in 2005 a new geotechnical engineering laboratory dedicated to frozen soil mechanics and engineering. A field station on seasonally frozen ground was also established in Harbin for hydraulic and road engineering purposes in northeastern China. The observations collected will be quite important for the proposed and presently in-design Daqing to Shenyang Express Highway, which requires «no heave or settlement».

The First Asian Conference on Permafrost is in preparation and will include some major activities. Guodong Cheng, Jerry Brown, Hans Hubberten, Michael Davies and many other local and international organizers have met to plan the Conference, while attending the April CliC Conference in Beijing, during the EUCOP II conference in Potsdam, and in Lanzhou. Several workshops and excursions will focus on the classification of permafrost of Central Asia and the contributions of borehole measurements to the International Polar Year.

A meeting on ecological and sustainable development of the sources of the Yellow and Yangtze River was organized in Xining, Qinghai Province; with permafrost as one of the major topics, had large success. The Chinese government is indeed spending 7.5 billions Yuan (about 1 billion USD) in ecological mitigation in order to solve the problem of overgrazed grasslands. The Conference on High Elevation Glaciers and Climatic Change was successfully held September 5-9, 2005. Another conference on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau was held in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in October 2005.

Wei Ma (mawei@lzb.ac.cn) and Huijun Jin (hjjin@lzb.ac.cn)


The Society of Arctic Technology (SAT) arranged meetings with Danish and Greenlandic and foreign experts related to technologies adapted to the special climatic, geological and social relations in Polar Regions. In 2004- 2005 climate change and permafrost was addressed at a number of meetings. SAT is the national contact for Denmark to the IPA.

A pilot project «Permafrost degradation and infrastructural consequences in West Greenland» was initiated in 2004 by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI represented by Jens H. Christensen), the Danish Technical University, Center for Arctic Technology (ARTEK-DTU, Niels Foged) and the Greenland Survey (ASIAQ, Keld H. Svendsen) and is partly supported by KVUG (The Commission for Scientific Investigations in Greenland). Climate models are predicting a pronounced increase in air temperatures along the coasts of Greenland due to global warming. Here in towns like Sisimiut and Ilulissat, located in discontinuous permafrost areas, the subsurface will respond with a degradation of permafrost affecting conditions for town planning and foundation of existing and future buildings, roads, sewers, etc. The project is presently being extended to cover «Recent and future permafrost variability, retreat and degradation in Greenland and Alaska» in an integrated approach together with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (Vladimir Romanovsky and John Walsh).

The University of Copenhagen, Institute of Geography, maintains two automatic meteorological stations on the west coast of Disko Island (Greenland): one close to the Arctic Station (Godhavn), the other in Mellemfjord. Meteorological data are available since 1998 from: http:/ /www.nat.ku.dk/as/ny_homepage/engelskudgave/ framesetuk/as_mainuk.htm.

The National Environmental Research Institute, the Danish Polar Center and the Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen are continuing their detailed monitoring at Zackenberg Ecological Research Station in high Arctic Northeast Greenland. This database is dedicated to snow, permafrost, soil temperatures in the active layer, soil water and carbon dioxide content, etc. Data are available at Geobasis, Zackenberg for the period 1995- 2004: http://www.dmu.dk/International/Arctic/ Climate+change/ZackenbergDB.

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) carried out permafrost studies in the Mestervig area of East Greenland.

Studies of the ice cores from the Greenlandic Ice Sheet (Dorte Dahl Jensen) were carried out within various international research programmes. Information is available at: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icecore/greenland.

«Snow and temperature control of biogeochemical oxidation processes in natural and managed High Arctic ecosystems» is a research project funded by the Danish Natural Science Research Council (2004-2006), led by Bo Elberling, Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen. The project focuses on management of heat generating coal mining waste and dispersal of contaminants in a permafrost area near Longyearbyen, Svalbard. This project runs in co-operation with UNIS and the local coal company, Store Norske.

In 2005 preparations for the International Polar Year (IPY) were very much in focus. The Danish National Committee consists of 15 members from all relevant polar research areas in Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. It has recommended focusing on the following three themes: 1) Arctic Climate – variability, changes and effects, 2) Greenland Inland Ice – a key to knowledge and 3) People, Nature and Arctic Societies. Permafrost topics will be covered by several projects in the first theme.

Niels Foged (nf@byg.dk)


In Caen (team CNRS-UMR 6143), a new programme funded by the INSU/CNRS (Programme National «Relief de la Terre» 2004) studies the role of debris flows on slope degradation in periglacial environments (J.L. Lagarde, M. Font, J.P. Lautridou and E. Vedié).

A physical model was developed and data from experimental freeze-thaw cycles prove the efficiency of periglacial processes as controls on both erosion and scarp morphology changes. The experimental results are consistent with field data acquired in northwest France, and show that periglacial erosion processes in moist conditions could lead to underestimation of Plio-Quaternary deformations at mid-latitudes. A new experiment will address Martian gullies in cooperation with F. Costard (UMR8148 IDES, CNRS – Université Paris XI). The objective is to simulate debris flows over sand dunes similar to the ones observed on Mars.

A programme from the Cardiff group (Charles Harris) aims at the physical modelling of mass-movement processes on permafrost slopes. Both full-scale (Caen refrigerated tanks) and small-scale physical modelling (Cardiff geotechnical centrifuge) should be developed to investigate mass movement processes in clay-rich soils and at steeper gradients.

The Hydro-sensor-FLOWS project (2006-2009), endorsed by the IPY Joint Committee, aims at investigating the hydrology of the Austre Lovenbreen Glacier basin (Svalbard) by continuous monitoring using new information and communication technologies. The project is coordinated by Madeleine Griselin (UMR Thema CNRS – Université de Franche-Comté) and Christelle Marlin (UMR8148 IDES CNRS – Université Paris-Sud 11). Liquid and solid fluxes will be measured on a typical polar hydrological system with a sensor web (both remote and in situ sensing). Space and time dynamics over a four-year period will also be monitored to better understand the system reaction to contemporary climatic fluctuations.

The second meeting of the European Science Foundation Network SEDIFLUX was organized by the polar team of the Research Group CNRS UMR 6042 GEOLAB in Clermont-Ferrand in January 2005. The international conference «Shifting lands. New insights into periglacial geomorphology» welcomed more than 80 participants from 20 countries, and included five plenary lectures by Hugh French, Colin Ballantyne, John Dixon, Colin Thorn and Kevin Hall. Special issues of the journals of Geomorphology (edited by Denis Mercier and Samuel Etienne) and Géomorphologie (edited by S. Etienne) will be dedicated to this meeting.

A new program was launched in southern Iceland in summer 2005 to study the evolution of the proglacial floodplains (sandurs) of the Solheimajökull, Morsarjökull and Brokarjökull (Marie-Françoise André, Samuel Etienne, Denis Mercier, Raphaël Paris and PhD student Erwan Roussel).

Brigitte Van Vliet-Lanoë (University Lille-1) analysed permafrost and topographic changes in the period 1994- 2005 at her field sites in Adventdalen and in the surrounding region of Ny-Ålesund (Svalbard) in the context of recent climatic investigation, with financial support from IPEV (Institut Polaire Français). B. Van Vliet-Lanoë (Brigitte.Van-Vliet-Lanoe@univ-lille1.fr) also published « La Planète des Glaces » (Publisher Vuibert, 488 p., ISBN: 2-7117-5377-8), a reference book in French about cold environments. On the basis of her 30-years long interdisciplinary research in the Arctic and in high mountain environments, she summarizes the characteristics of past and present cold environments in a wide range of fields: geology, glaciology, geomorphology, permafrost research, soil sciences, climatology, biology and ecology. Many figures and pictures illustrate this book; it presents a glossary and a bibliography where an international audience can obtain an interesting insight in French natural science publications.

François Costard (fcostard@geol.u-psud.fr)


One of the most prominent German permafrost activities in 2005 was the Second European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP II) hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam (see report in Global and Regional Activities).

Field activities organized by the Periglacial Research section of the AWI Potsdam mainly focused in 2005 on Siberia (6 expeditions), Alaska (1) and Antarctica (1). An offshore permafrost drilling campaign was performed in the Western Laptev Sea in April 2005 by the AWI Potsdam, the Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk), the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (St. Petersburg) and the Geoscience Institute of Bremen University in the expedition COAST.

The expedition «Lena Delta 2005» took place from July to September in cooperation between the Institute of Soil Science (Hamburg University), the Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk, the Lena Delta Reserve, the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute and the State University of St. Petersburg. A group led by D. Wagner and E.-M. Pfeiffer pursued the long-term measurements of energy, water balance and greenhouse gas emissions in tundra soils on Samoylov Island including eddy-covariance instruments, closed chamber gas flux measurements and gas chromatography. Additionally, a main focus of this group was to document the relationship between the carbon budget and the structure and function of microbial live communities in permafrost soils. A second group investigated permafrost sequences in sediment cores and exposures for palaeoenvironmental archives and conducted studies of thermokarst-affected landscapes (M.N. Grigoriev, L. Schirrmeister). Objectives included understanding the Quaternary history of Arga Island, a large sand complex characterized by the presence of numerous oriented lakes, and collection of surface properties and corresponding spectral signatures by field spectrometry. These data sets will be further related to remotely sensed data, to develop automatic analytical methods for arctic periglacial landscape analyses. A further goal was to reconstruct the environmental conditions during the deposition of the first Lena River terrace (mid to late Holocene).

A Russian-German joint project on palaeolimnology in Yakutia is currently in progress at AWI Potsdam (B. Diekmann, U. Herzschuh) with partners from the Ecological Institute, University of Yakutsk (L. Pestryakova) and the Limnological Institute, Russian Academy of Science, St. Petersburg (D. Subetto). During the field campaign in spring 2005, several sediment cores of late Pleistocene to Holocene age were recovered from Lake Billyakh in the Verkhoyansk Mountains. In addition, limnoecological studies were carried out during the summer 2005 in thermokarst lakes in the vicinity of Yakutsk (Central Yakutia) and in lakes in the Momskii region (Northeast Yakutia). Studies on the recent ecology of terrestrial vegetation in Central and Northeast Yakutia were conducted by AWI-Potsdam (F. Kienast) in cooperation with the chair of Geobotany of the Yakutsk State University (P.A. Gogoleva) to better interpret the occurrence of botanical fossils in Quaternary permafrost deposits. Furthermore, recent seeds, fruits, and herbarium material were collected to provide a reference for the identification of plant fossils. Those were primarily associated with steppes and alpine communities, although aquatic, riparian, and wetland vegetation were also included.

Low altitude remote sensing and permafrost hydrological work was carried out in the Northern Foothills of the Brooks Range (Toolik Field Station, Alaska) in August 2005, as part of the continued cooperation between AWI Potsdam and the Water and Environment Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Following a Bulgarian initiative, the expedition «Livingston 2005» took place on Livingston Island, maritime Antarctica, in early 2005 and included permafrost research. The evolution, ecology and survival of microbial communities were studied by D. Wagner. The main objectives were the genotypic and phenotypic characterization of the microbial communities in time and space, including cultivation-independent methods and the isolation and characterization of keystone organisms from different habitats for studying their physiology, adaptation strategies, and survival in extreme environments. Sedimentary permafrost was surveyed on Hurd Peninsula in the vicinity of the Bulgarian base (St. Kliment Okhridski). The area has been ice-free only for some decades. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) and sedimentologic verification were used by G. Schwamborn for profiling the transition from unfrozen to frozen ground. Permafrost generally occurs at altitudes higher than 30 m asl.

Studies on permafrost distribution, sensitivity and significance in the Turtmann Valley (Valais, Switzerland) are continued by the group of R. Dikau (University of Bonn). Within the DFG Research Training Group «Landform – a structured and variable boundary layer» (Graduiertenkolleg 437), two Ph.D. theses were presented in 2005 (see: http://hss.ulb.uni-bonn.de/diss_online): one by I. Roer entitled «Rockglacier kinematics in a high mountain geosystem» and the other one by M. Nyenhuis dealing with permafrost distribution mapping and modelling in connection to sediment budget aspects. J.-C. Otto is continuing his investigations on sediment storage quantification and visualization in the periglacial zone of the Turtmann Valley. M. Krautblatter started his thesis entitled «Changes in permafrost distribution in alpine rock walls and their implications for mass movements and sediment budgets». I. Roer started to compile in collaboration with colleagues from Switzerland (A. Kääb, R. Delaloye, C. Lambiel), France (X. Bodin, E. Thibert), Austria (M. Avian, V. Kaufmann) and Germany (B. Damm, M. Langer), an inventory of European Alps rock glaciers, which show increased surface velocities.

The Department of Physical Geography, University of Würzburg (C. Kneisel) is assessing changes in active layer and permafrost thickness by geoelectrical techniques in the Swiss Alps. Geoelectrical and temperature monitoring continues at a discontinuous and a sporadic permafrost site in the Upper Engadin. Geophysical and geomorphological permafrost investigations in a subarctic alpine environment in northern Sweden also continued.

Investigation of permafrost distribution and characteristics in the Vernagt- and Guslarferner area (Ötztal, Austria) started in collaboration with the Commission for Glaciology of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Munich (L. Braun).

In collaboration with T. Saemundsson (Natural Research Centre of Northwestern Iceland, Saudårkrokur), investigation of mountain permafrost occurrences and characteristics began at different sites in Iceland.

At the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, University of Karlsruhe, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (C. Hauck), geophysical monitoring approaches (using electrical resistivity tomography and refraction seismic tomography) are developed to detect climate induced permafrost thaw in high mountain areas. By combining repeated electrical and seismic measurements, changes in ground ice content can be detected. Field studies are conducted at various permafrost sites in the Swiss Alps in collaboration with the Universities of Würzburg, Jena, Bonn, Giessen and Zürich. In the future, the geophysical monitoring approach will be tested and implemented within the Permafrost Monitoring of Switzerland (PERMOS) programme.

The group of L. King (University of Giessen) finished the DFG-sponsored project «Periglazial Mattertal», which investigated the influence of surface types typical for high mountain environments on the ground thermal regime. Major outcome was the prominent role of cover layers consisting of coarse material. Turbulent air fluxes in the block layer through mainly free convection could be identified as the most important single process, which caused a surface offset in a range of -2 to -3.5° C at instrumented test sites (S. Philippi, T. Herz). The consideration of this effect in an empirical-statistical model led to a further improvement in the estimation of permafrost distribution for the test areas Zermatt-Gornergrat and Grächen- Seetalhorn (R. Hof ).

J. Völkel, M. Leopold and T. Raab from the group Landscape Ecology and Soil Science (University of Regensburg) were invited by D. Dethier (Williams College at Williamstown, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) together with N. Caine (University of Colorado at Boulder, U.S.A.), to do field studies in the Rocky Mountains Front Ranges in Colorado. While staying at the Mountain Research Station of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) in July 2005, the group collected subsurface data using ground penetrating radar and seismic methods. The study areas are located at Niwot Ridge, which is the long-term monitoring site of INSTAAR. All areas are above 3300 m and offer climatic conditions prone to permafrost occurrence. Field work concentrated on patchy permafrost of a lobe on top of Niwot Ridge. Rock glaciers were studied at Green Lake and Valley 4th of July, with more than 1.5 km of GPR-lines and several Refraction Seismic lines.

A mountain permafrost workshop took place in the Black Forest, October 15-16, 2005, coordinated by C. Kneisel, C. Hauck and I. Roer. Scientists from the universities of Bonn, Giessen, Karlsruhe, Würzburg and Graz reported on their actual research activities and agreed on joint field work in summer 2006. Direct enquiries to: C. Hauck (hauck@imk.fzk.de).

Thomas Herz and Lorenz King (lorenz.king@geogr.uni-giessen.de)


The activities of the Italian IPA group include different topics: mainly relict periglacial features in the Apennines; permafrost distribution and monitoring, and periglacial features in the Alps. Moreover, Italians researchers are deeply involved in the Italian Antarctic Research Project.

A project lead by Mauro Guglielmin (Insubria University) about permafrost, ecosystems and climate change is running until the 2006/2007 Antarctic season with four main research goals: permafrost and active layer monitoring, active layer and vegetation relationships, ground ice distribution and ice wedges dynamics, granite weathering processes. Some results of these research have already been published, and presented at conferences. During the last Antarctic campaign, a new CALM grid and an automatic active layer monitoring station were established on Signy Island in cooperation with the British Antarctic Survey, very close to the site where Chambers in the 1960s studied periglacial features and measured the active layer. During the 2005/06 summer, a drilling and coring program is planned in cooperation with New Zealand researchers (Megan Balks and Jackie Aislabie) at Marble Point and Bull Pass (Dry Valleys) to enlarge the Antarctic permafrost monitoring network within the ANTPAS framework.

In Italy, the project «Cryoalp», led by M. Guglielmin and supported by the Italian Institute of Mountain Research, started last year and aims at studying permafrost ground ice (as a potential palaeoclimate archive) and the hydrology of high mountain permafrost areas. Within «Cryoalp», three new boreholes ranging between 15 and 24 m deep were equipped with automatic permafrost monitoring stations and the Stelvio PACE borehole equipment was improved.

In the Aosta Valley (NW Italy), the Insubria University and ARPA continued collaboration leading to the instrumentation of a CALM grid and two boreholes (6 and 43 m deep) close to Cervinia, and to the set-up of rock temperature monitoring on the south face of Matterhorn, to better understand the high rock fall frequency that has characterized this rock face for the last four years, and particularly in the summer of 2003.

Adriano Ribolini continued monitoring the active layer of some rock glaciers in the Maritime Alps. His geophysical studies of the internal structure of rock glaciers of that area, such as the Schiantala rock glacier, will allow him to define the relationships between rock glacier and glacier evolution in the Maritime Alps.

Marco Firpo and Cristiano Queirolo are studying relict block streams and block fields around Mont Beigua (Genova area), describing the surface morphology using high-resolution systems and analysing the relationships between the local geology and the distribution pattern of these block accumulations.

The AIGEO group on Periglacial Relict Features has finished its experimentation of a new systematic sedimentological and morphological approach to periglacial deposits in the Apennines. Fabio Scarciglia and others analysed granite weathering in Calabria and proved the influence of some periglacial processes on soil formations in the Southern Italian Apennines.

In cooperation with the Stelvio National Park, Nicoletta Cannone pursued her research on the relationships between periglacial features such as polygons, rock glacier, solifluction lobes and vegetation colonization, especially in the Central Italian Alps. Moreover, she continues a long-term monitoring of scree slopes dynamics and vegetation colonization within the permafrost belt.

Mauro Guglielmin (mauro.guglielmin@uninsubria.it)


In Alaska, a project on «2004 Forest Fire Impacts to Hydrological Cycles, Permafrost and Ecosystems in Central Alaska» started in 2005 to monitor permafrost conditions after the severe wildfires of 2004 (K. Harada, Miyagi University; Y. Sawada and J. Mori, Hokkaido University).

Observations were carried out at Poker Flat near Fairbanks in May and August. Further observations were conducted in July at Kougarok near Nome, Seward Peninsula, where wildfires occurred in 1997 and 2002. Geophysical sounding was undertaken to investigate permafrost distributions and conditions. Measurements also involved thermal and water conditions in the active layer and ground surface levels. These observations will be continued for three years to obtain data on the variations of permafrost conditions after the wildfires.

A study on rock glaciers also continues in the Brooks Range and Alaska Range (A. Ikeda and K. Yoshikawa). The distribution, structure and thermal conditions of rock glaciers were investigated in the arid part of Alaska, to compare the long-term dynamics of the rock glaciers with that in relatively warm and humid mountains. Preliminary results indicate that snow cover thickness and duration control the supersaturation of ice in rock glaciers.

In eastern Tibet, research continues on «Permafrost Hydrology in the Source Area of Yellow River» (N. Matsuoka, A. Ikeda, T. Sueyoshi, T. Ishii and Y. Uchida). In the fourth year of the 5-year project, year-round data on frozen ground were collected from the observatory at Madoi (4273 m asl) established in 2004. On the Tibetan Plateau, one-dimensional geoelectrical survey was conducted at a number of localities with different altitudes (3200 – 4700 m asl). The data, combined with seismic and ground surface temperature data, suggest that permafrost is lacking or sporadically remaining at depth as relict below 4300 m asl, although previous maps have characterised the region as having continuous permafrost.

The Japanese-Norwegian joint project on «Constructing model experimental sites for periglacial processes» started in 2004 and continues in Svalbard. In 2005, in addition to collecting the first-year data at an ice-wedge site, a 15 m deep borehole was drilled into a rock glacier in the Longyear valley and instrumented with thermal cables and inclinometers (N. Matsuoka, M. Ishikawa, Y. Fukai, T. Watanabe, H.H. Christiansen, O. Humlum and L. Kristensen). Subsurface environment below periglacial topography was also explored by two-dimensional geoelectrical sounding and soil-moisture profiling.

The inter-college study group «Colloquium of Cold Region Geomorphology» has continued over 30 years. Managed by young scientists and students, the activity involves regular and special meetings, field schools and publications of trade books. Professor Takashi Koaze, who was one of the founders of this group and has long led glacial and periglacial geomorphology in Japan, officially retired from Meiji University in March 2005. In honour of Takashi, his former students have organized a book in Japanese, entitled «Learning from Mountains», beautifully designed with a large number of colour photographs of mountain landscapes (published from Kokon-shoin, Tokyo).

Norikazu Matsuoka (matsuoka@atm.geo.tsukuba.ac.jp)


The book The Treasures of Frozen Burial Mounds of the Kazakh Altai by A. Gorbunov, Z. Samashev and E. Seversky was published in 2005 in English. The first geocryological map of Kazakhstan (scale 1: 5,000,000) was compiled by A.P. Gorbunov and E.V. Seversky.

The study of how permafrost and unfrozen ground react to rapid glacier retreat has been undertaken in the Northern Tien Shan by researchers from the Kazakhstan Alpine Permafrost Laboratory (KAPL). This team continues its study of cryogenic processes and slope evolution in the Zailiysky Alatau Range (Northern Tien Shan Mountains), the KAPL also continues the thermal monitoring of permafrost and seasonally frozen ground.

In cooperation with University of Alaska Fairbanks, a composite digital permafrost map of part of the Central Asian regions was compiled, based on the existing IPA map, Chinese maps and computer-based models for Mongolia, Russian and the four Central-Asian Republics (Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). The map includes the mountain territory of the Central-Asian Republics (Pamir, Tien Shan and Altai Mountains, Djungar Alatau and Saur). The map shows the permafrost extent based both on empirical evidence and on modelling estimates. The modelling approach takes into account the most important environmental controls of permafrost distribution in Central Asia: air temperature, amount of short-wave solar radiation, snow cover, vegetation, and soil properties. The map was presented at the First CliC Conference in Beijing, April 2005. This presentation was aimed at continuing a discussion within the international permafrost community concerning the development of a uniform mapping legend and approach for the Central Asian. Moreover, the following question should be raised: can this mapping approach and legend be applied to other mountain regions of the world, or is it unique to Central Asia?

In 2004, research on thermal regime and ice formation dynamics within a coarse blocky material was activated again in the Zailiysky Alatau Range (Northern Tien Shan). The first results indicate that ice formation linked to infiltration shows a peak in March-April when air temperature above the blocky material crosses the zero threshold, and while temperature is still negative inside the blocky material. During this period, the increase in ice thickness reaches 50 – 100 cm.

In June 2005, two boreholes at 3000 m asl were equipped with new dataloggers with the support from the CALM program. This elevation can be considered as a lower limit of short-term permafrost formation within the fine-grained soils in the Northern Tien Shan Mountains. A vegetation cover such as juniper has a large influence on the ground thermal regime. Sometimes the difference in ground temperature at a depth of three meters under juniper shrub can be 2-3° C lower than in a meadow area. Previous research shows that the permafrost can exist during the summer under these conditions at a depth of 3.5- 5.0 m. The formation of a frozen layer depends also on snow cover and air temperature.

Aldar Gorbunov (permafrost@nets.kz) and Sergei Marchenko (ffssm1@uaf.edu)


The Hovsgol GEF (Global Environment Facility) project including permafrost studies continues for the fourth year in the six valleys entering the eastern shore of Lake Hovsgol.

Within the framework of this project, N. Sharkhuu and Sh. Anarmaa obtained the following data this year: year-round datalogger recording of ground temperatures in 14 shallow (5-10 m deep) boreholes; summer and autumn measurements of ground temperatures in more than 20 shallow boreholes; year-round datalogger recording of soil surface temperatures at seven sites with different vegetation covers; experimental observation of the thermal impact of cutting dense grass cover on permafrost; spring and autumn levelling measurements of frost heaving and thaw settlement of pingos and active layers at eight sites; and winter observations of spring icing dynamics and snow covers at 15 sites. In August 2005, Bernd Etzelmuller (University of Oslo, Norway) carried out within the project area resistivity tomography measurements at about 20 sites with different elevations, topographic aspect, vegetation cover and soil moisture. We collected more detailed observations on permafrost along the study transect in Dalbay valley. The young researcher Sh. Anarmaa visited the University of Oslo for four weeks in order to prepare an annual report on Hovsgol permafrost studies under B. Etzelmuller’s consultation. She spent five weeks at the University of Delaware under the supervision of F. Nelson and N. Shiklomanov to learn CALM techniques for analysing Mongolian CALM and GTN-P data. She made a presentation entitled «Monitoring of Permafrost in the Hovsgol Mountain Region, Mongolia» at the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. We extend our gratitude to the Netherlands Government for financial support of the Hovsgol GEF project.

The Japanese and Mongolian ERONIAR project continued for its fourth year in the Nalaikh and Terelj areas near Ulaanbaatar. In collaboration with M. Ishikawa and T. Katoda, N. Sharkhuu and Battogtokh downloaded every month temperature data from two automatic weather stations and carried out levelling measurements at several shallow boreholes in order to study spring icing dynamics and snow cover in the Terelj study area. In addition at the Nalaikh site, 7-m deep boreholes were monitored monthly in order to assess frozen ground hydrology.

N. Sharkhuu continued permafrost monitoring in Mongolia. In May 2005, he extended the observations in four boreholes located in the Darkhad depression near Lake Hovsgol. A new 15-m deep borehole was drilled at the site of the one used in 1989. Two 5-m deep boreholes were drilled for monitoring the active layer, frost heaving and thaw settlement. In addition, an 85-m deep active borehole was located and instrumented for the CALM and GTN-P observations. There are currently 35 CALM and GTN-P boreholes in Mongolia. Sixteen boreholes are instrumented with temperature dataloggers. In addition, the dynamics of cryogenic processes and seasonal frost are monitored at some sites.

Within the framework of the project on Central Asian permafrost mapping, N. Sharkhuu is developing initial data for compiling a permafrost map of Mongolia. In September 2005, he obtained year-round datalogger recordings of soil surface temperatures at elevations between 2000 and 3400 m asl on the Tsambagarav Mountain, in the Altai region and at elevations between 1300 and 2250 m asl on the Bogd Mountain near Ulaanbaatar. These observations are continued in the Khangai and Khentii mountains.

N. Sharkhuu plans to participate in the IPA-IPY Permafrost Observatory Projects titled «Thermal State of Permafrost » and «Trans-North-Eastern Siberian Permafrost Observations» (M. Ishikawa, Japan).

We regret to announce that Dr. D. Tumurbaatar died in October 2005 at an age of 65 years. He worked as a permafrost researcher at the Institute of Geography, MAS, since 1967, after graduating from Moscow State University (PhD in 1990). He was the head of the permafrost laboratory at the Institute for the period 1979 to 2003 and president of the Mongolian Permafrost Association since 1995. D. Tumurbaatar was the author of several books and a number of publications on permafrost studies in Mongolia. Some of his publications are in Russian and English.

Natsagdorj Sharkhuu (sharkhuu_n@yahoo.com)

The Netherlands

During the Alterra (Wageningen) expedition to Taimyr (northern Siberia) by Bart Ebbinge, the depth of active layer was investigated. On August 13 to 15, 200 depth measurements were made with a simple steel probe at 10- m intervals over a straight 2-km long N-S transect on nearly level tundra at Cape East (Wostochny), Taimyr, northern Siberia (74° 06′ N, 86° 44′ E). Due to stoniness in the soil at some places, the frozen soil was not always reached.

The following preliminary conclusions can be drawn:

  • Different vegetation revealed different depth of the frozen soil but on average the thawing front was at 45 cm under the level surface
  • In micropolygons with bare clay surface the soil was thawed deeper (up to 55 cm) than around those with Dryas and Cassiopea
  • In wet places thawing was deeper (45 cm) under the grassy vegetation than under the moss hummocks (Sphagnum) spread over these places (less than 40 cm).

This project is carried out by Roeland Bom & Bas Pedroli.

The Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (Department of Hydrology and Geo-Environmental Sciences) investigates carbon and water exchange of taiga and tundra ecosystems in eastern Siberia, in collaboration with the Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone, Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Yakutsk. Measurements are using eddy correlation systems and soil flux chambers in a larch / birch forest near Yakutsk (Spasskaya Pad Field Station) and on a tundra site near Chokhurdakh in the Indigyrka lowlands (Kytalyk reserve). In 2004 and 2005, this research was extended with flux chamber measurements of methane fluxes and a survey of active layer thickness and temperature. The aim is to estimate the annual exchange rates and their interannual variability, and to determine the sensitivity to environmental factors of the fluxes. The present flux data show considerable inter-annual variability. In the tundra site, summer 2005 was a relatively dry year with lower methane fluxes than in 2004.

The 2005 campaign has been funded by the Vrije Universiteit and NWO (Dutch Organisation of Scientific Research) and is a continuation of research in the EU TCOS (Terrestrial Carbon Observation System) project. The methane flux measurements will also be used in a modelling study on last glacial climate and permafrost changes at rapid climate transitions, also funded by NWO. The later project is scheduled to start at the end of 2005. Direct enquiries to: J. van Huissteden (ko.van.huissteden @geo.falw.vu.nl)

Jef Vandenberghe (vanj@falw.vu.nl)

New Zealand

New Zealand was delighted to be accepted as a full member of the IPA at the council meeting held at the EUCOP II. We thank Antarctic New Zealand for the financial support that made this possible. Ian Campbell and Megan Balks from New Zealand attended the meeting and appreciated the warm welcome from the IPA.

In order to standardise our approach to soil description across Antarctica, Malcolm McLeod (Landcare Research, New Zealand) and Megan Balks have been working with Jim Bockheim (U.S.A.) to develop a minimum data set and manual for describing Antarctic soils as part of the ANTPAS project. A draft of the manual is currently out for comment among the ANTPAS members. We have also developed the ANTPAS website which is being hosted by the University of Waikato (http:// erth.waikato.ac.nz/antpas/).

Erica Hofstee (Earth Sciences, University of Waikato) is currently completing a soil map of the Seabee Hook area of Cape Hallet in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica as part of her MSc study. This will be the first published Antarctic soil map that we know of since that of JD McCraw for the Taylor Valley published in 1968. This Austral summer Malcolm McLeod and Jim Bockheim plan to continue their soil mapping work in the Wright Valley and Megan Balks will be working with Mauro Guglielmin (see Italian report) to drill and instrument two boreholes for permafrost temperature monitoring at existing soil climate monitoring sites at Marble Point and in the Wright Valley in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica.

Megan Balks (m.balks@waikato.ac.nz)


The Norwegian Geotechnical Society has established a Committee on Frost in Ground chaired by Ivar Horvli (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), with members from the scientific and the engineering community.


The committee is in contact with institutions within research, education and practical applications. The focus is on «Science and technology in cold regions» covering permafrost and seasonal frost. Planned activities include lectures, short courses, conferences and to issue an annual publication. The first publication Frost in Ground 2005 was printed with support from the Norwegian Public Road Administration. It contains 11 articles mainly in Norwegian with English summaries. The committee acts as the Norwegian adhering body to the IPA.

Cryosphere scientists in Norwegian universities have initiated the organisation CRYONOR, to cooperate and exchange data relating to research and education on themes ranging from permafrost and periglacial geomorphology to glaciology and Quaternary geology. CRYONOR was presented to the IPA Council at EUCOP II in Potsdam, and has since established contacts with cryosphere scientists in other Nordic countries. CRYONOR organises an annual workshop on permafrost and other cryospheric themes in Norway, and will be involved in the Norwegian IPA presentation together with Frost in Ground.

The International Permafrost Associations Secretariat at the University Centre in Svalbard, UNIS has received funding from the Research Council of Norway, and Angélique Prick is hired on part-time basis to operate the Secretariat, which is led by Hanne H. Christiansen. The Geological Survey of Norway organises permafrost and climate monitoring as part of its activities on unstable rock slopes in Norway (L.H. Blikra). In Møre and Romsdal, southern Norway, and in Troms and Finnmark, northern Norway, temperature data are collected in cooperation with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (K. Isaksen). A series of temperature data loggers are installed to monitor ground, surface and air temperatures on exposed sites with minimal snow accumulation. In Troms, the first temperature data from two 30-m deep boreholes were collected in September 2005 and indicated the presence of permafrost. The national databases are linked to the GTN-P database. Differential GPS measurements of the unstable rock slope in Troms are carried out in cooperation with the University of Oslo (T. Eiken). In 2005 mini shock loggers were installed on unstable rock slopes in Troms and in Møre and Romsdal for imroved registering of timing of movement. This was done in cooperation with UNIS (H.H. Christiansen).

The Geological Survey of Norway also continues longterm research on mass transfer, denudation, sediment budget and relief development in four catchments in subarctic and arctic environments in Iceland and Lapland (A. Beylich). Research is focussed on an integrated study of source-to-sink-sediment fluxes, including monitoring of surface processes, analysis of sinks, permafrost analysis, analyses of surface processes and vegetation cover. A new monitoring programme is started in Erdalen, Norway. A. Beylich is coordinating the ESF Network SEDIFLUX (see: www.ngu.no/sediflux).

In Jotunheimen, southern Norway, temperature data from the Juvvasshøe PACE borehole (established in 1999) are collected, and on Dovrefjell, southern Norway, temperature data are collected along a transect through the permafrost transition zone, from 11 boreholes drilled and instrumented in October 2001 in cooperation between the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the University of Oslo (K. Isaksen, R.S. Ødegård, T. Eiken and J.L. Sollid). Borehole temperature data are collected within a long-term climatic monitoring programme run by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (K. Isaksen). In August 2004, six temperature data loggers were established on Dovrefjell in connection with a Norwegian monitoring programme of palsa peatlands, co-ordinated by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (A. Hofgaard, K. Isaksen and J.L. Sollid).

In Svalbard data from the Janssonhaugen PACE borehole (established in 1998) are collected in cooperation between the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (K. Isaksen), University of Oslo (O. Humlum) and UNIS (H.H. Christiansen). Data from a shallow 2-m deep borehole on Janssonhaugen (established in October 2003) are analysed and compared with the PACE borehole data from the same site (S. Hansson and K. Isaksen).

Permafrost and periglacial activities at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) focus at collecting various types of field data for research and education (H.H. Christiansen, O. Humlum and L. Kristensen). This basic monitoring goes on in the area around UNIS, in the valleys of Longyeardalen and Adventdalen, and in the surrounding mountains. Two mountain meteorological stations are operated at 260 m asl. at Janssonhaugen, and at 470 m asl. at Gruvefjellet. Snow cover thickness, geomorphic activity and active layer temperatures are monitored at various sites. Active layer thaw progression data have been collected for six years at the UNISCALM site, where shallow borehole (10 m) permafrost temperatures are also recorded. Avalanche research in the permafrost environment around Longyearbyen is carried out to determine the meteorological control on snow avalanching, and for improved geomorphologic process understanding.

The monitoring program was extended in 2005 to the Kapp Linné area, at the west coast of Spitsbergen, well known from the work of Jonas Åkerman. This is integrated into a new UNIS course AG-327 «Holocene and recent climatic change in the high arctic Svalbard landscape », which ran for the first time in summer 2005. By this, similarities and contrasts between the more continental setting at Longyearbyen and the maritime setting at Kapp Linné will be investigated especially with regard to ground temperatures and permafrost.

H.H. Christiansen is conducting studies of ice-wedge dynamics in collaboration with Norikazu Matsuoka (University of Tsukuba, Japan), with additional field instrumentation installed in summer 2005. A 15-m borehole in a rock glacier in Longyeardalen was established and instrumented by N. Matsuoka during summer 2005 to measure ground temperature and deformation, in collaboration with O. Humlum and L. Kristensen. Collaboration with Charles Harris (University of Cardiff ) on solifluction process measurements was initiated by H. H. Christiansen, and in the late summer 2005 a new solifluction monitoring station was established in Adventdalen (see photograph in the UK report). Thermal conditions of the ice-cored moraines deposited by late- Holocene surges of the glacier Paulabreen are studied by L. Kristensen, by means of several boreholes. A. Prick has continued her research on rock temperature monitoring and weathering processes both on Svalbard and across Troms, in cooperation with UNIS.

In southern Norway, the research initiated in 2004 on mountain meteorology, snow cover and ground temperatures were extended to a number of new research sites, making use of automatic digital cameras and data loggers (O. Humlum, H. Juliussen, University of Oslo). The project covers a transect from the humid west coast (Sognefjorden – Ålesund) to the more continental regions at the Swedish border to the east (Femunden – Trysil). About 80 data loggers are placed at individual sites. In addition to investigating the modern environmental conditions also past conditions are investigated. The detailed deglaciation and dynamic behaviour of the last remnants of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet is studied to reconstruct the occurrence of permafrost in the Norwegian mountains during the early Holocene. The ground surface thermal regime above and below the natural tree limit is being studied to obtain information on the influence of past and future tree line changes on permafrost distribution.

In northern Norway, extensive ground surface temperature measurements and DC resistivity soundings were carried out in the Lakselv region, Finnmark (H. Farbrot, B. Etzelmüller, University of Oslo), as part of a larger survey of permafrost distribution in Finnmark in collaboration with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (K. Isaksen).

In Iceland, the University of Oslo (B. Etzelmüller, H. Farbrot, T. Eiken) works in collaboration with A. Gudmundsson (Jardfrædistofan EHF, Iceland) and the University of Iceland (H. Björnsson) on permafrost disdistribution and slope dynamics in the permafrost zone. Four shallow boreholes are equipped with temperature dataloggers, and ground surface temperatures are measured at approximately 40 sites in northern and eastern Iceland. Velocity, mass flux and age estimates are obtained for rock glaciers in northern Iceland (B. Wangensteen).

The University of Oslo (B. Etzelmüller) continued its cooperation in northern Mongolia with the GEF/World Bank financed Hövsgöl project (C. Goulden, B. Mendee, N. Sharkhuu), aiming to assess the relationship between permafrost thermal dynamics, vegetation pattern and nomadic pastorals. This year’s field visit aimed at obtaining DC resistivity tomograms describing permafrost and land cover transitions in the area. In addition further ground temperature measurements and modelling is carried out in cooperation with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (N. Sharkhuu) and its Institute of Geoecology.

Kaare Flaate (kflaate@online.no) and Ole Humlum (ole.humlum@geo.uio.no)


The project «Structure, Evolution and Dynamics of the Lithosphere, Cryosphere and Biosphere in the Antarctic and the European Arctic» started at the beginning of 2005 within the Committee for Scientific Research (No. PBZ-KBN-108/P04/2004).

The project realization is based on interdisciplinary research which is partly included in the research network connected with IPY 2007/2008 and the internationally coordinated CALM programme. One of the main research topics is the response of continental cryosphere to climate global warming. As in the previous years, Polish polar research focused in two regions:

  • Arctic: Polish Polar Station of Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences in Hornsund; working year-round and with university stations active only in the summer season;
  • Antarctic: Henryk Arctowski Station on King George Island, South Shetlands; Department of Antarctic Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, yearly cycle.

Arctic research is carried out mostly in earth sciences while biological sciences are predominant in Antarctic activities.

In the summer of 2005, research on permafrost was carried out in the following Svalbard regions: at the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund (K. Migala, J. Klementowski); at Calypsostranda in Recherchefjorden (northwest of Wedel Jarlsberg Land), in Calypsobyen, the base of Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin (K. Pekala, J. Repelewska-Pekalowa); on the Kaffioyra plain (Oscar II Land), at the station of Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun (M. Grzes); in the Billefjorden region (Petuniabukta), in the research area of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (A. Kostrzewski, G. Rachlewicz). Logistic problems were solved through a scientific cooperation with the Gdynia Maritime University (A.A. Marsz, A. Styszynska) whose research ship «Horyzont II» was used for transport between Gdynia and Spitsbergen and for research on the waters around Svalbard. Glaciological investigations mainly on glacier mass balance in Spitsbergen started in the early spring and were partly continued in the summer (J. Jania, Silesia University).

In 2005, two conferences allowed direct contacts between researchers, prompt publication of the latest results and an improved information flow. Polish and foreign polar researchers met September 2005 in Kielce, at the XXXI International Polar Symposium organized by the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, the Polar Club of the Polish Geographical Society and the Committee on Polar Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. A plenary session allowed the presentation of interdisciplinary results on periglacial geoecosystems in the Arctic and the Antarctic. The conference of the Polish Geomorphologists Association was held in Krakow September 19-22, 2005; periglacial research was one of the conference topics.

Polish researchers took part to the EUCOP II Conference in Potsdam. They presented seven papers. The topics include: rock glaciers, permafrost distribution and its thermal conditions in High Tatra Mountains, pingos on Spitsbergen, geophysical evidence of permafrost occurrence in Northeast Poland as well as measurements of electrical resistivity of contemporary glacial and fluvioglacial deposits on Spitsbergen.

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


Research on periglacial processes and landforms in the Serra da Estrela is being carried out by the University of Lisbon group. Current focus is on the study of the Pleistocene permafrost and periglacial landforms, their relationship to the glacial landforms and palaeoenvironmental significance. In the Limestone Massif of Estremadura the group is studying relict stratified slope deposits. The University of Coimbra group is studying the Serra do Caramulo area with a focus on relict periglacial slope deposits.

During the past year the investigations of Antarctic permafrost by the University of Lisbon group have developed further. A collaborative project with the Universities of Alcalá de Henares (Spain) and Zurich (Switzerland) was funded by the Spanish Antarctic Programme. This project is within the framework of the International Polar Year projects on Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) and Antarctic Permafrost and Soils (ANTPAS). Field work focusing on geophysical and geomorphological survey in order to define the sites for borehole drilling is planned for January – February 2006. A project focusing on the installation of CALM-S sites in Livingston and Deception Islands is under preparation.

A proposal for a national committee for the International Polar Year is under evaluation and permafrost is planned to be a major theme in the Portuguese IPY.

Results of Portuguese research on periglacial environments have been presented in several international meetings in 2005, namely in the EGU conference in Vienna, EUCOP II in Potsdam and IAG conference in Zaragoza.

2005 was a especially significant year with Portugal being accepted as Associate Member of the IPA.

Gonçalo Vieira (gtvieira@fl.ul.pt)


The research program entitled «Geographical risk phenomena in the alpine belt of the Southern Carpathians. Utilization of GIS technique and the achievement of maps of risk phenomena» run by the team from West University of Timisoara and led by Mircea Voiculescu will continue with the financial support of the National Council for Scientific Research in Superior Education (CNCSIS). The main monitoring program of periglacial slope processes is focused on the Parâng and Fagaras Mountains in the next season.

The papers presented at the International Workshop on Alpine Geomorphology and Mountain Hazards (September 23-26, 2004, Bâlea Cascada, Fagaras Mountains) were published in English in a special issue of Analele Universitatii de Vest din Timisoara- Geografie.

Present-day periglacial processes, glacial and periglacial landforms, and permafrost relict features – particularly rock glaciers – are currently studied in the eastern part of the Fagaras Mountains by Petru Urdea.

Within the project «Surface exposure dating of glacial deposits from the last glacial cycle, Evidence from the East Alps, the Bavarian Forest, the Southern Carpathians and the Altai Mountains» (2003-2005), coordinated by Anne Reuther (Regensburg University), absolute age dating of glacial landforms by cosmogenic isotopes has been carried out and was also applied to some rock glaciers of the Retezat Mountains.

In order to better monitor the snow cover in mountain areas, a Laboratory of Nivo-meteorology and Avalanche Prediction, coordinated by Maria Motoiu, was created by the National Administration for Meteorology in February 2004. It is aimed at investigating the future evolution of snow cover, and the conditions prone to avalanches. This laboratory will develop an elaborated nivological balance for each winter season.

Petru Urdea (urdeap@rectorat.uvt.ro)


In 2005, Russian research covered all important topics of modern-day permafrost science and engineering.

At the Department of Geocryology, Moscow State University, a genetic interpretation was found for the thick deposit series of coastal lowlands in Northeast Russia that include ice-rich complex formed from the Eopleistocene up to the Holocene (V. Zaitsev and L. Maximova). For the Bolshezemelskaya tundra in the European part of Russia, it was established that the increasing trend of the mean air annual temperature does not exceed 0.01° C/ year. A scheme showing various zones in this territory has been worked out at a scale 1:500,000 with a particular emphasis on hazards resulting from cryogenic processes (L. Garagulia).

Under the direction of L. Khrustalev, permafrost dynamics was forecasted for some regions. With reference to the cities of Yakutsk and Salekhard, it appears that the life time of buildings foundations is reduced by 30-40 years in Yakutsk and 90-100 years in Salekhard due to climate warming.

The following patents on inventions have been obtained: V.G. Cheverev et al., No. 2227194 «The frost heave protection of the foundation» (application No. 20022127435 with priority of 14.02.2002); L.N. Khrustalev, E.D. Yershov, S. Yu. Parmuzin, No. 2242813 «Ferroconcrete store of radioactive waste».

The group lead by N. Romanovskii conducted in collaboration with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Germany) the mathematical modelling of permafrost evolution of the rift system on the Laptev Sea shelf for the last 400 000 years. This region is characterized by a highly predictable presence of oil and gas. Modelling showed that traps for gases and their hydrates could form beneath the permafrost base.

The geologic-structural map of Mars was prepared at a scale 1:50,000,000. It was estimated that permafrost thickness on Mars is of the same order as on the Earth (E. Ershov and I. Komarov).

E. Chuvilin developed experimental research methods and has obtained new data on the kinetics of disintegration of a porous methane hydrate in sandy ground under thermal effect. New experimental data were obtained for the thermal properties and strength of oil-polluted frozen soils depending on pollution type, temperature, moisture, etc. (R. Motenko, L. Roman and Yu. Zykov). On the basis of experimental studies, L. Roman, L. Shevchenko and S. Volokhov developed existing concepts of long-term strength and bearing capacity of salt-rich frozen soils. They defined the regularities of ice segregation with respect to shear in a frozen clay-rich soil.

The team of the Department of Cryolithology and Glaciology, Moscow State University, detected the cryogenic traces in the late Pleistocene loess deposits on the territories of the central Russian Plain and Middle Germany. In the Altai Mountains, it has been shown that cryogenesis plays an important part in determining the composition of soils and loose deposits; its intensity is well correlated with altitudinal zones (V. Konishchev, V. Rogov). Massive ice bodies were investigated in the Norilsk region. It is proposed that ground ice could have formed because of the interaction of marine and coastal ground waters. Ecological and geotechnical hazards in permafrost area were divided in 12-main types in the context of climate warming (V. Grebenets).

Photographs obtained by American Mars exploration rovers were analyzed at the Department of Cryolithology and Glaciology, MSU. It was concluded that cryogenic weathering processes are widely developed on Mars (V. Rogov).

Geocryological map series was prepared and included in the atlas of Yamalo-Nenetsky okrug (N. Toumel).

The Jancouat and Garabashy glaciers (Central Caucasus) have shown a positive balance during the past years. At the same time, all glacier fronts on the southern slopes have retreated. The established forecast for the next 10- 20 years indicates that new disasters in the Kolka glacier circus are unlikely to happen; a full degradation of the ice body will take more than 10 years (D. Petrakov).

The Permafrost Institute (Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, SB RAS) determined that grainsize distributions correspond strongly to ground lithogenesis types. A new granulometric classification of frozen soils is proposed that allows predicting their physico-mechanical properties (I. Gourianov).

Conditions of construction operations were analyzed for the massifs created in Yakutsk with a hydraulic fill method. Frozen ground conservation beneath the structures prevents the interconnection between ground water of relict taliks and the Lena River channel. This worsens the drainage and enhances formation of cryopegs (N. Anisimova). Research shows that contemporary climate warming in Yakutia is within the limits of possible natural changes. The anthropogenic signal is not revealed against this background (V. Balobaev, N. Shender, Yu. Skachkov).

Unique data on relic permafrost of the Laptev Sea shelfcoastal zone was obtained and allows for the development of a new model of subsea permafrost evolution. The Arctic sea coastal dynamics were studied in collaboration with the Institute of the Earth Cryosphere (SB RAS). A mathematical model was proposed for the rapid response of coastal permafrost to natural impacts of «moderate» scale (M. Grigoriev, V. Kounitsky, S. Razumov).

The Institute of Earth Cryosphere (SB RAS) developed a GIS approach for geocryological data at global, local and elementary levels.

Long-term measurements at the Nadym polygon (Western Siberia) showed that ground temperatures rose, with a maximum in the late 1990’s. This occurred in the context of a positive trend of air temperature (N. Moskalenko). A collection of small-scale electronic maps displaying the contemporary changes in air temperature has been published (A. Pavlov, G. Malkova).

The retreat rate of the Kara Sea coastline was measured, including those sites with massive ice; the volume of material entering the sea has been calculated (A. Vasiliev, M. Leibman, A. Kiziakov). The cyclic nature of catastrophic cryogenic processes affecting slopes was determined. Climatic and statistic models of cryogenic slump were developed and show that this process cannot be repeated more frequently than every 300 years (M. Leibman).

The maps of contemporary exogenic processes in the Russian Arctic were compiled (G. Gravis, L. Konchenko). The modelled maps were compiled for economically important regions in the north of Western Siberia; they display the current state of the permafrost and its changes due to natural and human impact (D. Drozdov, E. Melnikov).

A thermodynamic capillary model of hydrate formation in porous media was developed and verified experimentally. It describes the influence of the main factors upon pressure and temperature conditions on hydrate formation, including equilibrium temperature depression (A. Nesterov).

Palaeo-reconstructions were performed for the Russian Arctic in accordance with different levels of the Arctic Basin. In Northwestern Siberia, some new features in the deposits cryogenic structure reflect the regional permafrost history (E. Slagoda, A. Kourchatova).

The Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science demonstrated that methane distribution in the Kolyma lowland deposits indicates an absence of diffusion from the moment of ground transfer into the frozen state. Therefore, methane distribution reflecting the situation at the start of the freezing process can be used for palaeo-reconstructions. The role of present-day and fossil microorganisms on greenhouse gases production was clarified. During the recession of the Arctic Ocean, the gases emission was comparable with those in present-day permafrost landscapes (E. Rivkina, D. Gilichinsky).

The Institute of Environmental Geosciences (RAS), in collaboration with the Permafrost Institute and the Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Geocryology (both of SB RAS), started to restore the permafrost station in northern Zabaikalie (D. Sergeev, M. Gelezhiak, D. Shesternev). In the mountains of this region, ground temperature rose 1.1° C at a depth of 19 m during the last 18 years. Modelling shows that, if the air temperature rises by 1° C (while solar radiation, snow thickness and other factors do not vary), the ground surface would only become 0.3-0.4° C warmer (G. Perlshtein, A. Pavlov, A. Bouiskih).

S. Alekseev from the Institute of the Earth Crust (SB RAS) proposed a new concept of cryo-hydrological system consisting of interconnected aquifers (aquifuges or drained deposits) which are deeply modified in response to cryogenic processes. A classification of such systems was made.

A joint group from Moscow State University and the Institutes of the Earth Crust and Earth Cryosphere (SB RAS) conducted a complex research programme on the «Frozen Yar» (steep bank) exposure in the western part of the Tojin depression (Tuva). The history of the syncryogenic deposits was reconstructed and the formation of many-tier syngenetic ice wedges was explained (S. Alekseev, L. Alekseeva, S. Arjannikov, Yu. Vaslchuk).

At the Institute of Geography (SB RAS), a genetic classification of dangerous hydrological and glacial phenomena was developed based upon the physiographic analysis of heat and moisture redistribution in both the Earth hydrosphere and cryosphere (V. Alekseev and L. Koritny). Alekseev prepared a map for the regions of Russia and contiguous countries that are prone to icings.

At the North-Eastern Interdisciplinary Institute (Far Eastern Branch RAS), the connection between wind dusting and heat exchange features on the surface of tailings area was explored. For undisturbed watercourses, the tendency of decreasing total runoff was detected against a background of climate warming (V. Glotov, L. Glotova).

The observations at the two field stations were conducted within the CALM program by the Chukotski Division (North-Eastern Interdisciplinary Institute). Groundwater reserves were estimated at water supply points for the Chukotka region.

The Komi State Monitoring Centre continued monitoring the zones of discontinuous and also relict (Pleistocene) permafrost in the Komi Republic. The most important works were carried out at the Vorkuta permafrost station where the polygon has an area 2600 square km. Observations on the climate dynamics and permafrost parameters, groundwaters and cryogenic processes have been conducted there since 1963.

At the Institute of Oil and Gas Problems (RAS), a method for estimating and forecasting the anthropogenic component of environmental dynamics was developed based on remote sensing data. The consequences of pyrogenic impact were estimated to be the most significant factor determining the changes in cryogenic landscapes. Data from Landsat 4 and 7 satellites show that at the latest successional stages (more than 10 years) the radiation temperature of the disturbed sites surface is 1.2-1.6° C lower than within the undisturbed areas. Therefore, a cover type and its properties as heat insulation can be determined from the spectrozonal photography in visual and thermal wavelengths (S. Kornienko).

The Research and Production Enterprise «TRANSIGEM» (V.G. Kondratiev) developed some new technical decisions and recommendations concerning road building on permafrost terrain.

PNIIIS compiled engineering and geocryological largescale maps for high-priority objects with difficult permafrost conditions in the north of Western Siberia and in the Northeast European Russia. Moreover, a series of specific electronic maps was prepared for the long pipelines in Central Siberia and Zabaikalie. The dynamics of the local geocryological conditions were forecasted according to the development of the European North oil-and-gas fields.

The Laboratory of Geocryology and Hydrates of VNIIGas Ltd. investigated the shows of gas and hydrates in permafrost deposits for the oil and gas fields of Western Siberia. This research has been supported by the INTAS (grant No. 03-51-4259 «Experimental studies of composition, structure and features of gas-hydrate formation in deposits»).

The International Conference on «Priorities in Earth Cryosphere Research» took place in Pushchino, May 24- 27, 2005. It is interesting to note that besides traditional geocryological sessions, the medico-social and planetary questions were considered there. Immediately following the 3rd Conference of Russian Geocryologists was held at Moscow State University as a part of its 250th anniversary celebrations. More than 500 permafrost scientists and engineers from Russia and other countries participated in interesting discussions about the current permafrost issues. This Conference summarised Russian permafrost activity for the last four years and outlined the main goals for further investigations. Russian researchers also attended the First CliC International Science Conference (Beijing, April 2005) and the EUCOP II Conference (Potsdam, June 2005).

The defences of theses for a Doctor’s degree by M. Leibman, V. Mikhailov, A. Popov, F. Rivkin and E. Slagoda were important events for the Russian permafrost community this year. The following monographs were published: Khrustalev, L.N. Fundamentals of permafrost geotechnics (Manual). M.: Edited at MSU ; Alekseev, V.R. Landscape indication of the icing phenomena. Novosibirsk, Nauka.

Georgy Z. Perlshstein (cryo2@yandex.ru)


Several activities took place in 2005 at the GeoBiosphere Science Centre of the Lund University and in the Abisko area. The CALM-grids along the east-west transverse from Bergfors to Riksgransen were monitored as usual (Jonas Åkerman, Margaretha Johansson).

The record series now covers the period 1978-2005. In two of the monitored bogs, permafrost is now more or less completely gone and the dry heath vegetation has turned into a wet Sphagnum and Carex dominated swamp. Torbjörn Johansson continues the newly established grid at Stordalen and here the mire was intensively surveyed using real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS-technique with an high accuracy. A total of approximately 10,000 points were surveyed during a two-week period over the whole mire (ca. 16 ha) with an intensified survey within the CALM grid. With these measurements we have now created opportunities to follow permafrost degradation and changes in thermokarst features on the site at a centimetre scale (point). The general resolution is approximately 10 meters. The micro-topography data is used in a carbon flux perspective to quantify «hot spots» on the mire. During the summer months vegetation mapping within the CALM grid was completed. Implications of already observed changes for methane emissions at the landscape scale were published in 2004.

Margaretha Johansson has filled the new PhD studentship post on «Permafrost dynamics and its implications for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning» (supervisors: Torben R. Christensen, Jonas Åkerman). Installations of snow cover manipulation plots, snow cover depth, soil temperature measurements and a complete microclimatic station were initiated next to one of the old CALM grids (AL 1- Storflaket).

Research at Uppsala University continues in the field of periglacial processes (Else Kolstrup, Jan Boelhouwers, Hanna Ridefelt). E. Kolstrup continues the research on boundary constraints of geomorphological forms and processes in past and present periglacial environments. Spatial variability in solifluction process rates and environmental parameters in the Abisko mountains of northern Sweden is the topic of H. Ridefelt’s Ph.D. J. Boelhouwers continues his work on soil frost processes and spatial variability on sub-Antarctic Marion Island, including a pilot study on interactions with vegetation in collaboration with ecologists from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. A coastalinland transect of active layer temperature monitoring sites and sediment movement rates was established in Western Dronning Maud land between the Swedish Wasa and Svea stations.

At Stockholm University (Britta Sannel and Peter Kuhry) installed monitoring equipment in a peat plateauthermokarst lake complex in Taavavuoma, northern Sweden (68°27’ N, 20°58’ E) in September 2005, as a part of the Ph.D. project of B. Sannel. The monitoring equipment consists of a meteorological station measuring air temperature, relative humidity and precipitation and three cables with thermistors measuring ground temperature down to depths of two meters in different parts of the peatland. A stationary digital camera taking one image a day at 1 PM was installed overlooking four stakes for snow depth measurements. This monitoring station will be test run during the winter 2005/2006. The plan for summer 2006 is to further expand monitoring with a wind speed and direction sensor, additional thermistor cables, additional snow depth stakes and possibly tilt metres along the part of the peat plateau that is collapsing into a thermokarst lake. The main objective of the project is to study local climate, permafrost and ground dynamics in a peat plateau-thermokarst lake complex to obtain a better understanding of how these permafrost peatlands respond to climate change.

Swedish permafrost researchers met in May 2005 with the aim to develop a Swedish permafrost group. Swedish permafrost researchers and all those with permafrost-related research in Sweden are invited to join this group and provide project information. For further information, see: www.eld.geo.uu.se/SPG/

Jonas Åkerman (Jonas.Akerman@nateko.lu.se)


PERMOS, the «Permafrost Monitoring Switzerland» (www.permos.ch) reached its last year within the pilot phase.

There are indications that PERMOS will be established within the federal environment monitoring system. The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SAS), the Federal Office for Water and Geology (FOWG) as well as by the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL) are the official partners, which are crucial and supportive for this «docking». MeteoSwitzerland, the federal office for meteorology, will become a new PERMOS partner, with which the link to GCOS/GTOS will be strengthened in the future. PERMOS has been and will be further operated by the eight Swiss university institutes involved in permafrost research.

Initiated by the FOWG, a task force composed on SMEs (Academia Engadina, Getest and Geo7) and a scientific advisory panel published maps (1:50,000) of the entire Swiss Alps where permafrost distribution and potential zones of natural hazards are plotted.

At the University of Zurich, the permafrost distribution modelling for the North-Ossetian Caucasus initiated within the project, «High-Mountain Hazards Prevention, North Ossetia» (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) was finalized. A first-order assessment of the permafrost distribution implies a lower limit of possible permafrost at a mean altitude of 2600 m asl and of probable permafrost at 2980 m asl. The lower limit of permafrost distribution is strongly dependent on aspect and was affirmed in selected locations by the occurrence of active rock glaciers (R. Frauenfelder, S. Zgraggen-Oswald, C. Huggel, A. Kääb, W. Haeberli). The new information primarily concerns debris-covered areas. In the near future, temperature loggers installed in several rock free faces in the area will allow acquisition and more analyses of the temperature distribution in steep rock walls (S. Gruber, R. Frauenfelder, S. Zgraggen-Oswald, C. Huggel, A. Kääb, W. Haeberli).

A new project was initiated, focussing on the investigation of glacier-permafrost interactions and associated features in a transect spanning from the high Arctic on Svalbard over the subarctic area of Northern Norway into the boreal mountain regions of Southern Norway (R. Frauenfelder, funding by the Swiss National Foundation).

The Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Davos continued to investigate the thermal and geotechnical effects of water in the active layer of steep scree slopes. Detailed measurements are collected in the field while numerous shear-box tests are carried out in the laboratory (A. Rist). Three instrumented boreholes (two vertical and one horizontal) are currently being added to the SLF network. These are particularly interesting as they are located in narrow rock ridges and will be used in the context of a new project on the mechanical behaviour of rock walls containing ice. Continuing monitoring of 16 other boreholes located in rock glaciers, scree slopes and under structures such as cable car stations or avalanche defence structures constitutes already a nine-year data set (temperature and deformation) for several of these boreholes, which partly contributes to PERMOS (M. Phillips). The SLF models SNOWPACK and ALPINE- 3D are currently being adapted to simulate permafrost distribution and evolution in complex alpine terrain (M. Lehning and I. Völksch).

The Institutes of Geography at the University of Lausanne (Christophe Lambiel, Emmanuel Reynard) and Fribourg (Reynald Delaloye) carried on their close collaboration in alpine permafrost research in the western Swiss Alps. The focus is on two main aspects:

  • (1) Survey of surface movement of alpine permafrost features (active and inactive rock glaciers, frozen deposits in Little Ice Age glacier forefields, talus slopes) by differential GPS (E. Perruchoud) and photogrammetry (G. Fasel). After a general acceleration between 2000 and 2004, a significant decrease in surface velocities occurred in 2004 and 2005. The satellite based InSAR measurements confirm field observations and showed a kind of «surging rock glaciers» (velocities of about 5 m a-1).
  • (2) Thermal regime and the occurrence of permafrost in talus slopes at low elevation (J. Dorthe, S. Morard) and in the belt of discontinuous alpine permafrost (K. Pieraci). In order to investigate the influence of air circulation on the thermal regime of such talus slopes, drilling and instrumentation of two shallow boreholes (5 and 15 m) were carried out in November 2004 at Combe de Dreveneuse (1550 m asl, Valais Prealps). First results indicate the predominance of a non-conductive thermal regime driven by the complex ventilation system affecting the debris accumulation.

A. Kääb published in 2005 the book «Remote Sensing of Mountain Glaciers and Permafrost Creep» in the Physical Geography Series, University of Zurich (vol. 48, 266 p., ISBN 3 85543 244 9) (See: http://folk.uio.no/kaeaeb/ publications). The PhD thesis of Regula Frauenfelder «Regional-scale modelling of the occurrence and dynamics of rockglaciers and the distribution of palaeopermafrost» was published in the same series (vol. 45, 70 p., ISBN 3 85543 241 4) (For ordering or PDF download: rfelder@geo.unizh.ch).

Dani Vonder Mühll (Daniel.VonderMuehll@UniBas.ch)

United Kingdom

The British periglacial and permafrost community is in the process of formally developing as an association affiliated to the IPA, the British Periglacial and Permafrost Association (BPPA). Its inaugural meeting was planned for December 14, 2005 at Cardiff University, organised by Charles Harris and Julian Murton.

Full-scale modelling of gelifluction processes has been initiated by Charles Harris, Julian Murton and Michael Davies in collaboration with Marianne Fonte and Gérard Guillemet in the cold laboratories of Laboratoire Morphodynamique Continentale et Côtière, UMR CNRS 6143 / Université de Caen, France. Two full-scale slope models have been constructed, 4 m in total length, 1.5 m in width, and constructed in identical Caen silt. Models are subject to identical air temperature freezing and thawing cycles, but a freezing plate is installed in the base of one slope, maintaining a permafrost surface beneath a 30- cm thick active layer, while the second model has a basal drainage layer and is allowed to thaw completely between freezing cycles. The research will compare solifluction processes associated with one-sided, active-layer freezing (nonpermafrost) and two-sided freezing (permafrost) by measuring soil and air thermal conditions, frost heave and settlement, downslope soil movement, volumetric moisture content and pore pressures. Three, full freeze-thaw cycles have so far been completed.

A second project entitled «Modelling Pre-failure Shear Strain (Solifluction) in Freezing and Thawing Soil Slopes» commenced in May 2005 at Cardiff University, with Charles Harris (Earth Sciences), Hywel Thomas and Peter Cleall (Engineering) as principal scientists, and Martina Luetschg (Earth Sciences) and Katherine Butterfield (Engineering) as Post-Doctoral Fellows. The programme will develop numerical modelling of periglacial solifluction, calibrated and validated against scaled physical modelling in the geotechnical centrifuge and field monitoring. As part of this programme a new field station was installed in Endalen, Svalbard, in collaboration with Hanne H. Christiansen of UNIS and Fraser Smith of Dundee University. The station will monitor permafrost solifluction process variables and replicate the Caen full-scale laboratory modelling experiment, measuring air and ground thermal conditions, surface frost heave and settlement, downslope displacement, volumetric moisture content and pore pressures.

The bedrock ice-segregation experiments, funded by NERC and led by Julian Murton (Sussex University), finished in the Caen cold rooms and preliminary results were presented at the Second European Permafrost Conference in June 2005. The results are currently being analysed for publication in collaboration with Rorik Peterson (University of Alaska, Fairbanks).

Julian Murton (j.b.murton@sussex.ac.uk)

United States of America

The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union was held in San Francisco, California, December 5-9, 2005. More than 50 oral reports and posters were presented in two special topical sessions on permafrost, seasonally frozen ground, hydrates, hydrology, and related topics.

Forty-nine reports were presented in four sessions under the general heading «Permafrost and Seasonally Frozen Ground in a Changing Climate». The sessions were organized by Stephan Gruber (France), Tingjun Zhang and F.E. Nelson. A poster session consisting of eight reports on «Gas Hydrates and Their Relationship to Geohazard and Global Climate Change» was organized by Scott Dallimore (Canada) and Tim Collett.

The U.S. Permafrost Association (USPA) continues to develop and attract new members. Visits to the USPA website exceeded 4,000 «hits» during 2005 (www.uspermafrost.org). The USPA held its annual meeting and election during the AGU. Members of the 2006- 2007 Board of Directors include: President: F. E. Nelson; Past President: Vladimir Romanovsky; President Elect: Jon Zufelt; Board members David Norton, Jennifer Hardin, Michael Lilly (Treasurer), Ken Hinkel (Secretary). The U. S. National Committee for the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost met in open session prior to the AGU. Planning for the NICOP was reviewed in preparation for the mailing of the first announcement in early 2006. The Local Organizing Committee is developing the details of the conference programme and activities. Conference plans and pre-registration information are posted at: www.nicop.org.

A special session on the International Polar Year was organized by Jerry Brown and Fritz Nelson for the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) to be held in Chicago in March 2006. The IPY sessions are sponsored by the AAG’s Cryosphere, Geomorphology, and Climate Specialty Groups. At its annual meeting in April 2005 in Denver, Colorado, more than 50 cryosphere-related reports and posters were presented. Several awards were presented for the best poster presentation by young investigators.

Jon Zufelt provided the following report on recent and continuing activities of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and its Technical Council on Cold Regions (TCCRE) during the year:

  • Completed the TCCRE publication titled «River Ice Monograph».
  • Organized and sponsored «Cold Regions Symposium » with six sessions at the ASCE World Water and Environmental Resources Congress held in Anchorage, AK, May 16-19, 2005, and presented two awards: the Can-AM Civil Engineering Amity Award to Jon Zufelt of CRREL, Anchorage, and the Harold R. Peyton Award to Norbert Morgenstern, University of Alberta, Edmonton.
  • TCCRE EXCOM met in San Francisco at the AGU, participated in the meeting of the USNC for NICOP and is assisting in planning the conference.
  • 100 abstracts were received for the 13th International Conference on Cold Regions Engineering at Orono, Maine, July 23-26.
  • Co-sponsoring with RIL and the Finnish Society of Civil Engineers, the International Society for Cold Region Development (ISCORD) Conference in Tampere, Finland, September 25-27, 2007. 
  • Initiated planning for the 14th International Conference on Cold Regions Engineering in Duluth, MN in 2009.
  • Continued to review manuscripts and published the quarterly Journal of Cold Regions Engineering and the preparation of new Cold Regions Monographs on Field Properties and Site Investigations in Frozen Ground, Hydraulics and Hydrology, Water Treatment in Cold Regions, Specialty Foundations in Cold Regions, and Ports and Harbors in Cold Regions.

Bucky Tart is the incoming chairman of the TCCRE Executive Committee (EXCOM). David Prusak rotates off the EXCOM and John Woodworth, a structural engineer from Duluth, MN has been elected to the EXCOM.

Vladimir Romanovsky, Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks and the permafrost research group (Kenji Yoshikawa, Sergei Marchenko, Dmitri Nicolsky, Ronald Daanen, and Valeri Groshev) continued their efforts to record active layer and permafrost dynamics at our more than 60 sites within Alaska. All sites were visited in June – September along the northern portion of Alaska and some sites within the southern portion of the Alaskan transect to collect air and ground temperatures and soil moisture data from the data loggers. Active-layer depths and other environmental characteristics were also collected. Permafrost temperatures in all deeper boreholes (60 to 80 meters) were measured within the northern portion of the transect. Generally, active layer thickness was less this year compared to the last year, but it is still greater than average for the last 15 years. Temperatures in permafrost continue to increase in northern Alaska, but with lower rate compared to the 1990s. In Interior Alaska permafrost temperatures are approaching the highest level that was recorded during the mid-1990s. At many locations mean annual temperatures at the permafrost table are within several tenths of a degree C of the melting point of ice. A new near-surface, permafrost observatory was established at Isachsen (Ellef Ringnes Island, Canada) as a part of Walker’s Biocomplexity project. This installation completed the Canadian Arctic transect of permafrost observatories (Banks Island, Mould Bay and Isachsen) and extended our Alaskan transect into the High Arctic. A new observatory is under development at the southern end of the transect at Gakona, Alaska.

Tom Osterkamp reports that after monitoring active layer and permafrost conditions at permafrost observatories along a north-south transect of Alaska for the last twenty five years, this project will now be continued by Vladimir Romanovsky. This database through 2004 is available on-line through NSIDC: http://nsidc.org/data/ arcss034.html and http://nsidc.org/data/arcss106.html.

Ken Hinkel and Wendy Eisner (University of Cincinnati) provided reports on several projects. Hinkel, Richard Beck and three graduate students were at Barrow in April to determine the elevation of the snow drift along the Cakeater Road snowfence using DGPS towed behind a snowmachine. Snow thickness was estimated by comparing these transect measurements to the high resolution IFSAR DEM. Soil warming and summer ponding has resulted in ground subsidence of about 10 cm in the past five years; the effect is maximized beneath the crest of the snow drift. In August, the team completed the Barrow Urban Heat Island study. Over four winters, the village core averaged about 3° C warmer than the tundra; on some days it was 9° C warmer. In summer, the village tends to be a bit cooler owing to the maritime effect along the coast. Wendy Eisner, Hinkel, and Chris Cuomo are involved in an interdisciplinary project studying landscape processes on the North Slope of Alaska. Native people of the North Slope have first hand knowledge of these Arctic changes. UC graduate students John Hurd and Benjamin Jones, joined the team in Barrow and Atqasuk in August. Fifteen Inupiaq Elders were interviewed and many have indicated that landscape changes are occurring at a rapid rate. They have identified lakes that have drained, areas where permafrost thaw has been extreme, and places where the sea and river bluffs are eroding. The team has been able to verify many of these observations through the use of aerial photography, satellite imagery, and radiocarbon dating. Ben Jones is now working at the U.G. Geological Survey in Anchorage.

Frederick Nelson (University of Delaware) reported that with the appointment of Hugh French as an affiliate of the University of Delaware’s Center for Climatic Research, the UD Permafrost Group (UDPG) now consists of 13 students, affiliates, and faculty. With masters student Mark Demitroff, H. French is examining the landscapes of southern New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula for traces of Pleistocene permafrost and periglacial features. The Appalachian Mountains and Mid-Atlantic coastal plain are becoming a focus for much of UDPG’s work: Mike Walegur is analyzing the lengthy records from his network of air- and ground-temperature stations in the Appalachian Highlands. Andrea Wedo is completing her study of the Hickory Run Boulder Field in Pennsylvania, and Kim Gregg’s masters thesis on blockfield distribution in the Appalachians is being readied for publication. Other news includes the arrival of Meixue Yang, a cold-regions specialist from Lanzhou China, who will be a visiting Research Associate for the next two years. Anarmaa Sharkhuu from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences spent several weeks in residence with UDPG during the fall semester of 2005. Other new UDPG personnel include masters student Melanie Schimek and doctoral student Dmitri (Dima) Streletskiy. Dima completed his masters program in geocryology at Moscow State University in June. Anna Klene defended her doctoral dissertation in May 2005 and is now Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Montana in Missoula. Research Associate Kolia Shiklomanov spent August 2005 assessing CALM sites in Siberia. Silvia Cruzatt installed a series of stations at high elevation (~5000 m) in the Peruvian Andes in late 2004. Heath Sandall and Jon Little are completing masters theses on their CALM-related fieldwork in northern Alaska. The 2005 CALM field crew in Alaska consisted of Nelson, Klene, Streletskiy, Schimek, Sandall, and Cathy Seybold (U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service).

Skip Walker (University of Alaska Fairbanks) reported on the fourth expedition conducted under the NSF-funded project «Biocomplexity of patterned ground». The primary goal of the project is to better understand the complex linkages between patterned ground formation, biogeochemical cycles, vegetation, disturbance, and climate across the full Arctic summer temperature gradient in order to better predict Arctic ecosystem responses to changing climate. The 2005 expedition to Isachsen, Ellef Ringnes Island in the Canadian Archipelago was logistically the most difficult because of the size of the group (25 scientists, students, and support staff ), and remoteness of Ellef Ringnes Island. Isachsen is near the extreme cold end of the summer temperature gradient in Canada. It was the site of a joint U.S.-Canadian climate station from 1948 to 1971 and is characterized by very low summer temperatures and low biological diversity and productivity (mean July temperature 3° C). The Biocomplexity project now has 10 locations along an 1800- km North American Arctic (NAA) transect starting in the northern boreal forest and passing through all five Arctic bioclimate subzones of Alaska and Canada. Participants came from Canada, France, Germany, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, and the United States and included five students who participated in the Arctic Field Ecology course taught by Bill Gould and Grizelle Gonzalez through the University of Minnesota.

Chien-Lu Ping, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Torre Jorgenson, ABR, Inc., Fairbanks, initiated their new three-year, collaborative project «Flux and transformation of organic carbon across the eroding coastline of northern Alaska» under the NSF Study of Northern Alaska Coastal Systems (SNACS) program.

The 2005 field season started at Barrow and ended on the Colville River Delta, with 24 sites along the Beaufort Sea coast studied and sampled. The sites included coastal marshes/tidal flats, and bluffs with elevation up to four meter. Community-based monitoring sites were established with schools at Barrow, Nuiqsut and Kaktovik. This year’s international team consisted in addition to Ping and Jorgenson of Fugen Dou (post-doc, UAF), Sabine Fiedler, (Soil Scientist, University of Hohenheim, Germany), Mikhail Kanevskiy (UAF post-doc fellow from the Russian Earth Cryosphere Institute), Prathap Kodial (graduate student, UAF), Gary Michaelson (Palmer Research Center, UAF), Yuri Shur (Civil Engineering, UAF), Vladimir Tumskoy (Moscow State University) and Jerry Brown (IPA).

Torre Jorgenson, Yuri Shur and Tom Osterkamp initiated a new NSF-project on «Effects of ground ice on the evolution of permafrost-dominated landscapes under a changing climate». The research addresses the effects of ice aggradation and degradation on terrain evolution, and the current extent and rate of thermokarst development in Alaska. Data from the first summer of field work are currently being examined.

Through a grant from the NSF EPSCoR program, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) researchers are bringing permafrost studies to schools around Alaska. Kenji Yoshikawa, Yuri Shur and Douglas Goering are installing instrumented boreholes near schools in Nome, Fairbanks, Noatak, Beaver, Galena, and Barrow that will permit students to participate in installing instruments, measuring temperatures and join discussions of the role of permafrost in Alaskan ecosystems.

UAF researchers Kenji Yoshikawa, Douglas Kane, and Larry Hinzman are investigating groundwater dynamics in the continuous permafrost regions of the North Slope of Alaska by examining the physical and chemical properties of groundwater springs and aufeis fields. While some of the aufeis have very local sources of water, it appears that many springs derive their water from the south side of the Brooks Range, releasing water that is at least 2000 years old. Daniel White and Larry Hinzman are studying the degradation of permafrost on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska to understand the consequent effect to hydrological processes and communities.

Douglas Kane and Larry Hinzman continue various projects related to permafrost hydrology in the Kuparuk Watershed on the North Slope of Alaska. This research program has operated continuously since 1985, maintaining nearly continuous hydrological and meteorological observations at many stations for 20 years. These data are available via: http://www.uaf.edu/water/projects/ NorthSlope/introduction.html.

Kenji Yoshikawa collected spring water and ice core samples from frost blisters at Sukakpak Mountain (Brooks Range), North Folk Pass (Yukon, Canada) to compare with previous studies. The isotopic signals of the spring water has not changed since the 1980s. Other drilling was carried out at the Alpha pingo (near Fairbanks), Cripple Creek pingo, Maclaren River palsa, Copper River Basin, and a broad base mound on the North Slope.

Horacio Toniolo (UAF) continues permafrost degradation and sedimentation studies at Caribou Poker Creeks Research Watershed. This research watershed was established in 1968 by CRREL and has been an active study site for numerous studies over the years. Half of this watershed was burned in a wildfire in 2004, and now presents opportunities to monitor the fire impacts. Numerous thermokarsts are now evident in CPCRW, some in response to fire, others related to a flood event, and others probably forming in response to a warming climate.

Gary Clow and Frank Urban (U.S. Geological Survey) continued development of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s contribution to the GTN-P monitoring program. The primary focus during 2005 was adding radio telemetry capability to several of the active-layer monitoring stations in the eastern portion of the National Petroleum Reserve (NPRA) in northern Alaska. This is being done in collaboration with Michael Lilly (GW Scientific) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The total number of stations in the DOI/GTN-P active layer network is now 15. Repairs and upgrades were made to several of the wells in the DOI/GTN-P deep borehole array in preparation for the TSP campaign. A major effort was initiated to quantify the uncertainties in TSP borehole temperature measurements. The USGS’ polar temperature logging system is being upgraded in response to this analysis.

Larry Hinzman reported on «An Evolving Arctic Workshop: Hydrologic Responses to Degrading Permafrost», August 9-12, 2005, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The purpose of the workshop was to examine how the warming climate will impact the hydrological regime and the resulting impacts to local ecology and surface energy balance through degrading permafrost. The primary focus was upon the influence of permafrost warming and thawing to elucidate further influence through feedback processes. This workshop included local field trips in the Fairbanks area to observe and photograph evidence of permafrost degradation. Workshop attendees observed various permafrost features that characterize the interdependence among the dynamic thermal and hydrological processes. Hydrologic processes impacted by degrading permafrost include increased winter stream flows, decreased summer peak flows, changes in stream water chemistry, and other fluvial geomorphological processes. Several changes in local hydrology have already been witnessed including drying of thermokarst ponds, the increasing importance of groundwater in the local water balance, and differences in the surface energy balance. As our climate continues to change, it becomes paramount to understand and predict changes in hydrological processes. A workshop report is in preparation.

At the University of Washington, Ron Sletten, Bernard Hallet and Birgit Hagedorn completed the third year of a NSF study «Biocomplexity of Carbon Cycling in the High Arctic» at the Thule Air Base, Greenland. The multi-institutional project includes Jeff Welker and Paddy Sullivan (University of Alaska, Anchorage), Heidi Seltzer (Colorado State University) and Josh Schimel (the University of California, Santa Barbara). Physical, chemical, and biological interactions and feedbacks on carbon flux, weathering, and ecosystem dynamics are being investigated. This past summer was our most extensive field season with 28 participants. In addition, we held a 3-week field course with 12 international students, two NSF-supported teachers, John Sota (U.S.) and Jane Buss Sorensen (Nuuk, Greenland). The course was designed to provide students with hands-on experience in ecology, soils, hydrology and periglacial processes. Jennifer Horwath, a PhD student, completed her final field season on soil organic carbon. Three members of our group spent 10 days in the Kangerlussuaq region to collect lake core samples that PhD student Heather Heuser is using to analyze 18O in diatoms. We continued our studies of contraction crack dynamics and formation of ice-rich permafrost in the Dry Valleys. A new project to investigate salt diffusion is planned for the coming year. For further information, see: http://depts.washington.edu/icylands.

Edwin Clarke (Soils Alaska) reported on a geotechnical investigation of a 40 acre subdivision that occupies a patchwork of thin, discontinuous permafrost consisting of silts and sands underlain by gravels. Recommendations were made as to which portion of the subdivision could be developed now and which portion should be cleared to increase the depth of thaw. We are designing structurally enhanced and adjustable foundations for use on frozen sands and gravel with excessive differential thaw strain. We also participated in the design of a 12,000 square foot building with an adjustable foundation on frozen silt.

Jack Hebert and John Davies report that the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC, University of Alaska Fairbanks lower campus), started construction on its new Research and Test Facility (RTF) this summer. An extensive monitoring system was installed, in partnership with GW Scientific (Michael Lilly) and Campbell Scientific (Austin McHugh) to help monitor permafrost and active layer conditions, groundwater conditions on top of permafrost, and thermal and unfrozen soil-moisture conditions in the subgrade portions of the basement. The CCHRC RTF will help provide valuable information for building construction techniques in permafrost conditions (www.cchrc.org).

W. Berry Lyons (Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University) reported on an investigation sub-surface seeps in Taylor Valley, Antarctica, as part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research (MCMLTER). They did a walking reconnaissance of the valley and sampled seeps for their isotopic and geochemical compositions. The work was a research project of Kate Harris (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and involved collaboration with Andrew Fountain (Portland State University) and Anne Carey (Department of Geological Sciences, OSU). This investigation is part of the MCMLTER’s long-term research dealing with the overall hydrologic cycle in Taylor Valley.

Nicole Mölders (University of Alaska Fairbanks), with colleague Narapusetty evaluated the hydro-thermody namic soil-vegetation model that is used in various community- climate and weather forecast models by means of data from the BALTEX data bank, the ATLAS project, and the IARC permafrost observatory, as well as, by use of a theoretically advanced numerical scheme. Currently the soil model is being implemented into CCSM 3.0.

Patrick Webber became Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology at Michigan State University, and will complete his tenure as President of IASC (International Arctic Science Committee) in April 2006. He remains active in several projects, especially ITEX (International Tundra Experiment, BAID (Barrow Arctic Information and Data project, CEON (CircumArctic Environmental Observatories Network) and several IPY projects.

Many other projects reported in Frozen Ground 28 continued and information can be obtained directly from the investigators or from the U.S. Permafrost Association web site (www.uspermafrost.org).

Larry Hinzman (ffldh@uaf.edu) and Lynn Everett (everett.2@osu.edu)