International Permafrost Association Country Reports
In order to become a member of the International Permafrost Association, a group of French research workers, professors and engineers of private companies have since July 1984 actively considered the foundation of a French Permafrost Association.
Indeed, there presently exists in France two committees particularly concerned with permafrost problems. Nevertheless, these two groups are not permanent and this is a difficulty for a future French permafrost representation. It is interesting to give an idea of the present French activities in the permafrost area of these two groups, namely:
The "G.I.S. Arctique", Scientific Interest Group of the C.N.R.S., which brings together C.N.R.S. research workers, university specialists and representatives from various institutes. In this group, about 15 establishments, working in fields ranging from cryo-mechanics and heat transfer to human cryobiology, are represented. Expeditions at the Spitsberg French Station, doctoral training, etc., have been encouraged and directed by this committee.
The "Club C.R.I.N. Arctique", coming out from the G.I.S. Arctique, promotes the relationship between research and industry. This is a group incited by the C.N.R.S. Committee of Industrial Relations and is made up of C.N.R.S. research workers, university professors and representatives of industries concerned with petroleum, ship construction and off-shore structures. Its broad objective is to help the technical industrial community to be prepared to deal with Arctic energy exploitation opportunities in the future.
The Adhering National Body of Germany (FRG) is the National Committee for Permafrost which was established in 1984. The chairman is Professor Jessberger, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Bochum, with Professor Liedtke (vice-chairman), Department of Geography, University of Bochum, Dr. Burchkhardt, Geological Survey of Northrhine-Westphalia and Professor Thyssen, Department of Geophysics, University of Minster, being the other members of the National Committee. At present, the National Committee is under the auspices of and supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the central non-governmental institution for the promotion of sciences in West Germany. About 200 scientists have declared an interest in various aspects of permafrost or permafrost related research, half of which are earth scientists and the remainder engineering scientists. Recently, industry (e.g. steel industry) has indicated support of the National Committee's interests. The Committee may be enlarged by representatives for bio-sciences and planetology, if necessary. The aim of the National Committee is to represent German permafrost research within IPA and to support and coordinate permafrost research in Germany. Matters of the National committee have been discussed on several occasions, e .g. on Meetings of the German Society for Polar Research, the German Association for Quaternary Research, the National Committee of SCAR and the DFG-Senate's Commission for Geosciences. Discussions are still going on as to whether the National Committee should actively affiliate with or become a body of one of the existing scientific societies.
The Italian I.P.A. Adhering Body has begun a systematic research on rock glaciers in the Italian Alps. This project, in which more than 20 researchers from different Universities are involved, is financially supported by the National Research Council of Italy. It has the aim of producing in some years a medium-scale map of the alpine rock glaciers which will be distinguished according to their typology and state of activity.
More detailed studies, such as large scale geomorphological mapping, sedimentological analyses, geophysical soundings, lichenometry and so on, will be carried out on well developed and particularly representative forms. Other researches were also started to analyse different high mountain cryogenic forms and deposits, both in the Alps and in the Apennine.
Report by F. Dramis.
Report of the U.S.S.R.
Report by President Melnikov to Council on 5 August, 1987, Ottawa, Canada. I shall try to inform you shortly about some directions in studying the permafrost problems in the U.S.S.R.
Much attention is paid now to agriculture in the North, especially to the development and fertility of poor soils. The amelioration in permafrost areas needs special irrigation methods. It is necessary to determine the amount of water because of the instability of the permafrost table. Too much water causes negative results. Correct irrigation, for example, in Yakutia, promotes rich productivity of meadows, a big harvest of vegetables and root crops. It is of great importance for the supply of local food for the natives.
Environmental protection in permafrost areas and in areas of deep seasonal freezing is a significant problem too. Many agencies that have carried out investigations in the developing area of the North pay attention to the protection measures which provide correct land use management.
Within the U.S. National Research Council there are two committees responsible for permafrost activities; the U.S. Committee for the International Permafrost Association (USC/IPA) of the Board on Earth Sciences (BES) and the Permafrost Committee coordinates activities within the United States.
On behalf of the IPA, the USC/IPA is coordinating the preparation of the second 5-year Bibliography on Permafrost for the Period 1983-1987. A special Workshop on Permafrost Data and Information is being organized by the World Data Centre A (Boulder, Colorado), which will be held in Trondheim immediately before the August 2-5, 1988, Fifth International Conference on Permafrost (VICOP).
Numerous permafrost and related projects are conducted by government agencies, universities, and industry. The results will be reported in the approximately 75 U.S. papers presented at VICOP. Briefly, permafrost-climate investigations are conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in deep bore hole measurements of temperature in Northern Alaska and by the University of Alaska in shallow bore holes.