Research on permafrost and contemporaneous periglacial processes, carried out in 1996–97, was a continuation of a complex program of research in the region of the H. Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station, King George Island, West Antarctica, on the west coast of Spitsbergen in the vicinity of Hornsund Fjord and the Polish Station founded there in 1956, and other university polar stations which are active during the summer months. In the Hornsund region (south Spitsbergen), research was undertaken by teams from the Silesian University in Sosnowiec, the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, and the University of Wroclaw. The Maria Curie–Sklodowska University in Lublin was engaged in research in the Recherche Fjord region (central Spitsbergen), whereas the Mikolaj Kopernik University of Torun owns a station on the Kaffoyra plain on the northwest coast.

The studies carried out are complex in character:

 

  • Thermics and dynamics of the active layer of different tundra ecosystems
  • Physico-chemical processes in the active layer
  • Thermic and hydrological regime
  • Development of relief influenced by contemporaneous periglacial processes on slopes, in marginal areas of glaciers, on coastal plains and in coastal areas

Since 1993, geophysical research on fossil permafrost in the alpine zone of the Tatra Mountains has been undertaken by teams of scientists from the Silesian University in Sosnowiec, the Institute of Geography of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy in Krakow. The Maria Curie–Sklodowska University has cooperated with the Institute of Marine Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in research on periglacial phenomena in the Khibiny Mountains on the Kola Peninsula.
Research programs are coordinated by the Permafrost Committee of the Committee on Polar Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the National Adhering Body for IPA. The results of research and studies carried out by these Polish teams are presented during Polar symposia, organized annually by the Committee on Polar Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polar Club of the Polish Geographical Society, as well as during topical conferences. These results were published in conference proceedings in Biuletyn Peryglacjalny (1996, vol. 35, p. 153–195) and Polish Polar Research (1996, vol. 17, 1–4; 1997, vol.18, no. 1).
Conference publications include:

  • 23rd Polar Symposium, Sosnowiec, 1996
  • 24th Polar Symposium—40 Years of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund, Spitsbergen, Warsaw 1997
  • Problems of the Contemporaneous and Pleistocene Periglacial Zone, Spitsbergen Geographical Expeditions, Maria Curie–Sklodowska University Press, Lublin, 1996
  • Dynamics of the Polar Environment. Spitsbergen Geographical Expeditions, Maria Curie–Sklodowska University Press, Lublin, 1997

Submitted by Kazimierz Pekala (pekala@golem.umcs.lublin.pl)