Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo (http://www.geografi.uio.no/) has continued its activities within the EU-PACE project. Further geophysical studies were carried out around the PACE borehole site at Juvvasshøe (61º 41' N, 8º 22' E, 1894 m asl.) in Jotunheimen, southern Norway, and in the Dovrefjell area.

 

2D resistivity tomography survey was performed along a profile, with the choice of site based on 530 BTS measurements in the area. During the summer 2000 the study of rock glaciers at Prins Karls Forland, Svalbard, was continued. At the Brøggerbreen rock glacier close to Ny Ålesund, Svalbard, 2D resistivity tomography was carried out. At Finse, southern Norway, measurements of ploughing boulder displacements were continued. The joint project between the University of Wales (Charles Harris),University of Dundee (Michael Davis) and the University of Oslo (Johan Ludvig Sollid) to monitor solifluction processes continues. There are currently problems with handling displacement measurements using LVDTs mounted on frames due to the snow pressure.

Investigations on geomorphic activity, bedrock weathering rates and rock glacier dynamics were initiated around Longyearbyen (78ºN) at Svalbard, by Ole Humlum (the University Courses on Svalbard, UNIS). At sea level MAAT is about -6ºC, and most of the study sites are within the zone of continuous permafrost. Precipitation and temperature (air, ground surface and within the active layer) are measured on various terrain units by miniature data loggers, and geomorphic events and snow cover variations in the area are monitored daily by three automatic cameras. Precipitation has been sampled since 1999 in order to calibrate the oxygen isotope signal obtained from ice within rock glaciers and other terrain elements. Two CALM sites have been established close to Longyearbyen by Mette Oht (UNIS) at different altitudes, both equipped with data loggers measuring active layer temperatures. Investigations on ice wedge development, dynamics and oxygen isotope stratigraphy in nearby Adventdalen have been initiated by Jon W. Jeppesen (UNIS). In the Operafjellet area, investigations on the evolution of an ice cored rock glacier, the local meteorological environment, and the associated Holocene oxygen isotope stratigraphy are carried out by Sisse Korsgaard (UNIS).

At the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Arne Instanes is coordinating the research project ‘Arctic oil spills on Russian permafrost soils’ funded by the Norwegian Research Council and NGI. The purpose is to study transport, spreading and penetration of oil types on the surface and into soils and ice. Another project called ‘Permafrost response to industrial and environmental loads’ (http://www.ngi.no/ SIP/SIP7/index.html) is also coordinated by Arne Instanes, and sponsored by the Norwegian Research Council and NGI for 1999-2003. The main objective is to investigate how permafrost responds to different loads such as terrestrial pollution and industrial activity and to establish reliable, effective and environmentally safe solutions for construction on permafrost and remediation of polluted areas. Numerical models and field and laboratory investigations will be used to reach this objective. The technologies developed will benefit Norwegian industry involved in industrial development on Svalbard and Northwest Russia.

Arne Instanes is also working with the Arctic Technology Programme at the University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS), where the purpose is to introduce students to technological and environmental problems that are relevant in the Arctic, including conducting field activities in Svalbard communities.

At the 1998 Yellowknife Permafrost Conference it was discussed that engineering should be more active within the IPA. Soon after the Conference the Norwegian Adhering Body started preparing a workshop on permafrost engineering to be held in Longyearbyen on the Svalbard archipelago. The International Workshop on Permafrost Engineering took place 18-21 June 2000, with 45 participants from 10 different countries. T

he workshop goals were to:

• Strengthen the cooperation and network building between the Nordic countries in the field of permafrost engineering.

• Strengthen the international network, in science as well as engineering, and to promote environmentally friendly solutions to permafrost engineering problems.

• To arrive at a set of conclusions and recommendations covering the workshop themes.

The workshop was sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers within the ‘Nordic Arctic Research Programme 1998 – 2002’ and organised by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), The University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS) and Department of Geotechnical Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

An important part of the Nordic Arctic Research Programme is to stimulate young scientists to choose an Arctic research career. Only three or four of the workshop participants could be considered under the category ‘young permafrost engineering scientists’, and this demonstrates the importance of this IPA engineering initiative. Research opportunities have diminished with reduced interest in new resource development. This situation may change with the growing interest in development of Arctic regions such as Greenland, Northwest Russia, and renewed interest in Alaska and the Mackenzie Delta. The increasedemphasis on alpine permafrost in densely populated areas of central Europe may inspire young scientists to a career within this field. At the closing session it was summarized that the conclusions of the workshop should provide recommendations for the Permafrost Engineering Working Group in preparation for the 2003 Conference in Switzerland. The workshop highlighted the importance of environmental friendly solutions to engineering projects in permafrost regions, and again, the need for standardised methods for in-situ geotechnical testing of permafrost soil was brought forward. Professor Kaare Senneset, chairman of the Organising Committee, contributed a tremendous effort into organising the workshop and especially his contribution in preparing the workshop proceedings with almost 30 papers must be mentioned.

Kaare Flaate (kflaate@online.no)