After reunification of Germany and the beginning of the reorganization of the governmental and university institutes of the former German Democratic Republic, scientific cooperation has started and efforts are being made for joint projects at many places. Special mention is made of the establishment of a multi-disciplinary polar branch "Kontinentale Polarforschung" at Potsdam by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar Research. The aim is to offer good research opportunities for polar scientists of the former GDR at a central place within East Germany. The research institution includes 40 full-time positions. The library of the former polar research in the GDR has been integrated in this institution and will be supplemented with literature from the western countries. The following topics will be mainly researched in Potsdam:
1. Atmospheric circulation in polar areas (atmospheric aerosols)
2. Periglacial research
a)Quantitative analysis of cryogenic weathering and denudation processes (with physical and geochemical methods)
b)Permafrost, periglacial processes and "global change"
3. Reconstruction of the Holocene glaciation history from sea sediments
4. Continental ice sheets as archives for "global change"
The National German Permafrost Committee is trying to contribute to these national efforts and distributes regularly a "Permafrost Circular" to permafrost scientists in Germany together with the IPA News Bulletin Frozen Ground.
The international and interdisciplinary "SPE" expedition to Liefdefjorden, northern Spitsbergen, will again take place in summer 1992. A group of 11 geographers from the universities of Basel, Giessen and Heidelberg will study processes mainly related to snow melt between May 15 and July 10. The main group, from 12 universities, will consist of 28 geoscientists and biologists with an additional marine-oriented group. Permafrost-related studies include periglacial geomorphology (ground ice and thermal erosion), glacial geomorphology (e.g. types of moraines in a permafrost environment), fluvial sediment transport and general permafrost ecology. Most of the groups listed in Frozen Ground No. 8 (p. 9-10) will again participate in this last Spitsbergen expedition. The base camp at Liefdefjorden, erected in the fall of 1989, will be closed at the end of August 1992 and removed. Results of the expedition 1990-91 were presented during a DFG-sponsored symposium in Stuttgart and will be published later this year in a text volume (in Stuttgart) and in a data volume (in Basel), respectively.
Engineering activities in Germany are related to artificial ground freezing for application in shaft sinking. Further permafrost-related, applied scientific activities are focused on the distribution of alpine permafrost in the Swiss Alps (Zermatt) and German Alps (Zugspitze).
Prepared by Lorenz King