1994

The Argentina Committee for the IPA has 28 members. In 1994, the Adhering Body was able to pay its dues to the IPA for the first time. At a 23-27 November 1992 meeting on Geocryology and Paleoclimates of Northern Patagonia in Puerto Madryn, a series of papers was presented on basic and applied research, including some dealing with road construction in Patagonia. Members of this Argentina Committee presented papers at the XII Argentina Geological Congress in Mendoza, 15-20 October 1993, and the Symposium and Workshop on High Latitude Processes in Buenos Aires, 13-17 December 1993. A.E. Corte completed the Spanish contribution to the IPA multi-language index of terms.

Members of the Argentina PA Committee completed a several year program on the significance of active layer freezing and thawing and permafrost behavior on the hydrology of the Central Andes. Work on a periglacial basin originally started in 1982, but most ofthe activities have been since 1990. Meteorological stations at 1450, 2240, 2505 and 3565 meters indicate a lapse rate of 0.6°C/100 m, with precipitation increasing 17mm/100 m. During the last 13 years, the annual mean temperature of the Aquaditas underwent a clear increase. Glacier ice has diminished significantly. Discontinuous permafrost occurs above the 3000-3500 m zone and occupies 77% of the study area. Geophysical and temperature soundings in this zone indicate the active layer is about 2 m thick and the permafrost is 72 m thick. Below the sporadic permafrost zone, 17% of the area has seasonal frost. Mean annual flow of the Rio Blanca in 1992 was 500 L/s. It is estimated that the flow from the nearby Argostura basin must be equal or greater. Permafrost aquifers and residual flow produce significant winter flows. Rock glaciers and covered glaciers yield clear discharge. Winter flows have a higher solute concentration. Total solutes are greater in discharge from metamorphic areas than volcanic areas.

Report from June 1994

For some 30 years, the Permafrost Subcommittee of the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) was central to many aspects of coordination of permafrost research in Canada. The parent body of the Permafrost Subcommittee was the NRCC's Associate Committee on Geotechnical Research (ACGR). This committee, which was founded in 1945 to coordinate and stimulate research on the engineering and physical aspects of the terrain of Canada, was one of a number of advisory committees set up by the NRCC after World War II to consider scientific and technical problems of countrywide concern. The ACGR carried out much of its work through a number of subcommittees, which were expected:

To define problem areas in their assigned field, advise the Associate Committee on research needs, follow through actively in promoting research, and assist in the publication and application of the results of research.

Given that about half of Canada is underlain by permafrost, it was natural that the committee should pay particular attention to this subject. In 1958 the ACGR sponsored the first conference held in Canada devoted solely to the subject of permafrost. That conference, attended by 33 people from Canada and the USA, clearly showed the growing interest and concern developing in Canada regarding permafrost, the technical problems it presented for northern development, and the limited scientific understanding available to address these questions.

Report from June 1994

The Workshop on Remedial Techniques for the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Highway in Permafrost Regions was held on 13-15 April 1994, at the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, LIGG, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Thirty experts and scientists participated in this workshop. Several valuable proposals for the remedial scheme and design principles for the highway were presented and discussed. This workshop is one of the most important preparations for carrying out the remedial project on the Qinghai-Tibet Highway.

Progress on the permafrost and global climate change research program is as follows:

  • Chapters for the China report to the IPCC "Evaluation of the influence of climate change on environment in China" have been prepared as follows: Chapter 11: The influence of climate change on permafrost zones in China; Chapter 12: The influence of climate change on glaciers in China; and Chapter 13: The influence of climate change on snow cover in China.
  • The ground temperature monitoring system along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway has been set up.
  • A 100-m-deep and a 200-m-deep bore hole for monitoring ground temperature will be set up on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in 1994.
  • Investigation of the concentration of CH4 and CO2 will be carried out along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway

Membership of the Danish Society for Arctic Technology includes 20 companies and institutions, 85 private members and 2 students. Of these, 37 receive at their request, Frozen Ground. In Greenland, we collaborate with our sister organization, the Greenland Technological Society. The new Chairman for the Danish Adhering Body, the Danish Society for Arctic Technology (SAT), is Sven Bertelsen. Bertelsen is a director of the consulting engineering firm N&R Consult A/S (from 1 January 1995, Nellemann, Nielsen & Rauschenberger NS). N&R Consult has been involved in arctic engineering since the late 1950s. Through work mainly in Greenland, extensive knowledge of permafrost related to engineering has been gained.

With a change in the SAT chair, the address has also recently changed: Danish Society for Arctic Technology, N&R Huset, Sortemosevej 2, DK-3450 Allerød, Denmark.

As a result of restructuring at CNRS, Caen, the Centre de Géomorphologie is now a URA (Unité de Recherche Associée) of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. The laboratory is associated with the geologists of the  universities of Caen and Rouen (Normandy). This new unit depends on the department SDU (Sciences de l'Univers)  of the CNRS, which is mainly composed of geologists and of experts on the atmosphere and oceanography. The name of the URA is "Geomorphology and Surface Transfers" (URA 1694).

There are three main teams:

  • Milieux extrèmes (J. Aguirre-Puente, director of the unit): physics of the frost, planet Mars, and arid zones
  • Superficial formations, Quaternary (J.P. Lautridou and J.L. Lagarde)
  • Exchanges between water and sediments at the contact of the continent and the ocean (J. Avoine and R. Meyer)

The German Geoscientific Spitsbergen Expedition 1990-1992 consisted altogether of about 45 scientists from 14 different universities. The expedition results have since been published, with many results appearing in the latest volume ofZeitschrift fur Geomorphologie, Supplementband 97, N.F., 1994. A bibliography of expedition results may be obtained from Prof. Lorenz King.

The Geographical Institute of the Justus Liebig University, Giessen, has again begun its permafrost studies in the Zermatt/Gornergrat area of the Swiss Alps. The main research topics are permafrost distribution and its implication for construction (e.g. buildings, cablecars). At the same institute, comparative studies on the regeneration of Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems after human disturbances have been continued in Swedish Lapland (Kiruna mining site), a continuation of the former studies of E. Schmitt in Spitsbergen (Longyearbyen) and Canada (Mackenzie Mountains).

Report from June 1994

In October 1993, Professor and Mrs. Troy L. Péwé visited members of the International Permafrost Association in Italy. Professor Péwé presented invitational lectures on the origin and distribution of permafrost as well as of the history and status of the IPA at universities in Naples, Rome, and Camerino. Students of Professor Francesco Dramis are actively studying rock glaciers in the Alps and periglacial mass movement in the central Apennines, especially at Campo Imporatore. Recent work indicates modern permafrost may be present in the central Apennines.

Submitted by T.L. Péwé

Joint Siberian permafrost studies between Japan and
Russia were conducted in summer 1994. Thirty-one
researchers from various institutes in Japan joined this
program. There were five groups in different research
fields:

1. Permafrost
Objective: Permafrost response to global change of climate
Members: Institute of Low Temperature Science, Sapporo; Permafrost Institute, Russian Academy of Science, Yakutsk; Department of Cryolithology and Glaciology, Moscow State University
Research sites: Big Lhyavossky Island, Oyagosky Yar, Duvani Yar
Participants: Japan 4, Russia 8