Detailed permafrost maps of Mongolia at the scale of 1:1 500000, and of the Selenge River Basin at the scale of 1: 500000 will be compiled by N. Sharkhuu in a new scientific project on Mongolian permafrost, running from 1999 to 2001. Likewise a map of seasonal freezing and thawing at the scale of 1:1 500 000 will be prepared by D. Tumurbaatar. The compilation of these maps will be carried out on the basis of analyses of data on Mongolian permafrost investigations obtained during the last 20 years. The maps will show distribution, thickness, temperature, ice content and composition of permafrost, cryogenic processes and phenomena and depths of seasonal freezing and thawing of ground. Legends for the maps will be prepared in both Mongolian and English.
Monitoring of permafrost temperature (for GTNet-P) and active layer (for CALM) at several sites of the Khentei and Khubsugul mountain regions, Mongolia, have been conducted by N. Sharkhuu since 1996. At these sites ground temperatures in boreholes were measured 10-25 years ago. In 1999 N. Sharkhuu installed frost tubes in two holes to a depth of 2.5 and 2.0 m for CALM at sites of the Terkh and Chuluut valleys in the Khangai mountain region. Besides, at the Argalant site of the Khentei mountain region, he drilled a borehole to a depth of 12 m and equipped it with a thermistor cable and a frost tube. At present, there are 10 active boreholes for CALM and GTNet-P in Mongolia. These are: Baganuur (15 m and 21 m deep), Nalaikh (5 m and 50 m deep), and Argalant (12 m deep) all in the Khentei mountain region, Burenkhan (50 m deep) and Ardag (15 m and 25 m deep) in the Khubsugul mountain region, and Terkh and Chuluut surface boreholes in the Khangai mountain region. Next year it is planned to install soil temperature dataloggers in some of the boreholes for CALM.
In November 1998 a joint Japanese - Mongolian group headed by Masami Fukuda, conducted a permafrost survey in the Khatagal (near Khubsugul lake) and Nalaikh (near Ulaanbaator) areas for three weeks. During the survey, three boreholes were drilled to a depth of 5-8 m and geoelectrical soundings were carried out. Data were collected on the Busnuur pingo near The Nalaikh area. This year a new group headed by Fujio Tsuchiya worked on a joint research programmeme on the study of permafrost degradation under influence of Mongolian forest fire. This programmeme lasts from 1999 to 2002. The main objective is to monitor the thermal gradient shift in permafrost after fire occurrence and the temperature gradient change near heat pipes as a counter measure of degradation, as well as to investigate the ecological impacts of forest fire and processes of regeneration. This summer permafrost surveys were conducted in the areas with forest fires of the Khentei mountain, Mongolia, for two weeks. During the survey heat pipes were installed in two surface boreholes (about 2 m deep) one with and one without permafrost. Financial support from the IPA enabled N.Sharkhuu to visit the Kazakstan high mountain permafrost laboratory in Almaty for two weeks in June 1999. Based on analyses of permafrost research materials from Mongolia and Kazakstan and financial possibilities, geocryologists from both countries discussed and constituted a programmeme of joint Mongolian and Kazakstan permafrost studies in the period 1999-2001. They will start to develop a joint programme for mapping and monitoring permafrost as part of CALM, and GTNet-P and the IPA Task Force of Mapping and Distribution Modelling of Mountain Permafrost. For permafrost modelling and mapping, the Burenkhan phosphorite area, Mongolia and the Big Almaty area, Kazakstan were selected as permafrost conditions that have been studied and mapped previously.