2005

Most of the permafrost research in Austria is carried out by the research groups in Innsbruck and in Graz. The Innsbruck group (K. Krainer) is continuing rock glacier monitoring in the western Stubai and Oetztal Alps (hydrogeology, ground temperature, surface velocities). Furthermore investigations on active rock glaciers in South Tyrol (Central Alps and eastern Dolomites) started with similar thematic focus using georadar information.

At the University of Ottawa, Antoni Lewkowicz and his graduate students are undertaking permafrost research in the mountains of northwest Canada (supported by the Yukon Geological Survey, YGS and the Geological Survey of Canada, GSC as well as NSERC) and on Ellesmere Island (with PCSP support).

Permafrost research in China focused in 2005 on the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway which will be completed by October 2005. The Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was involved in revisions of the pavement design for ordinary embankment, as well as for viaducts on ice-rich, warm permafrost, at an estimated cost of 1.7 billion Yuan (about 200 millions USD).

The Society of Arctic Technology (SAT) arranged meetings with Danish and Greenlandic and foreign experts related to technologies adapted to the special climatic, geological and social relations in Polar Regions. In 2004- 2005 climate change and permafrost was addressed at a number of meetings. SAT is the national contact for Denmark to the IPA.

In Caen (team CNRS-UMR 6143), a new programme funded by the INSU/CNRS (Programme National «Relief de la Terre» 2004) studies the role of debris flows on slope degradation in periglacial environments (J.L. Lagarde, M. Font, J.P. Lautridou and E. Vedié).

One of the most prominent German permafrost activities in 2005 was the Second European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP II) hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam (see report in Global and Regional Activities).

The activities of the Italian IPA group include different topics: mainly relict periglacial features in the Apennines; permafrost distribution and monitoring, and periglacial features in the Alps. Moreover, Italians researchers are deeply involved in the Italian Antarctic Research Project.

In Alaska, a project on «2004 Forest Fire Impacts to Hydrological Cycles, Permafrost and Ecosystems in Central Alaska» started in 2005 to monitor permafrost conditions after the severe wildfires of 2004 (K. Harada, Miyagi University; Y. Sawada and J. Mori, Hokkaido University).

The book The Treasures of Frozen Burial Mounds of the Kazakh Altai by A. Gorbunov, Z. Samashev and E. Seversky was published in 2005 in English. The first geocryological map of Kazakhstan (scale 1: 5,000,000) was compiled by A.P. Gorbunov and E.V. Seversky.

The Hovsgol GEF (Global Environment Facility) project including permafrost studies continues for the fourth year in the six valleys entering the eastern shore of Lake Hovsgol.