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.

Within the framework of this project, N. Sharkhuu and Sh. Anarmaa obtained the following data this year: year-round datalogger recording of ground temperatures in 14 shallow (5-10 m deep) boreholes; summer and autumn measurements of ground temperatures in more than 20 shallow boreholes; year-round datalogger recording of soil surface temperatures at seven sites with different vegetation covers; experimental observation of the thermal impact of cutting dense grass cover on permafrost; spring and autumn levelling measurements of frost heaving and thaw settlement of pingos and active layers at eight sites; and winter observations of spring icing dynamics and snow covers at 15 sites. In August 2005, Bernd Etzelmuller (University of Oslo, Norway) carried out within the project area resistivity tomography measurements at about 20 sites with different elevations, topographic aspect, vegetation cover and soil moisture. We collected more detailed observations on permafrost along the study transect in Dalbay valley. The young researcher Sh. Anarmaa visited the University of Oslo for four weeks in order to prepare an annual report on Hovsgol permafrost studies under B. Etzelmuller’s consultation. She spent five weeks at the University of Delaware under the supervision of F. Nelson and N. Shiklomanov to learn CALM techniques for analysing Mongolian CALM and GTN-P data. She made a presentation entitled «Monitoring of Permafrost in the Hovsgol Mountain Region, Mongolia» at the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. We extend our gratitude to the Netherlands Government for financial support of the Hovsgol GEF project.

The Japanese and Mongolian ERONIAR project continued for its fourth year in the Nalaikh and Terelj areas near Ulaanbaatar. In collaboration with M. Ishikawa and T. Katoda, N. Sharkhuu and Battogtokh downloaded every month temperature data from two automatic weather stations and carried out levelling measurements at several shallow boreholes in order to study spring icing dynamics and snow cover in the Terelj study area. In addition at the Nalaikh site, 7-m deep boreholes were monitored monthly in order to assess frozen ground hydrology.

N. Sharkhuu continued permafrost monitoring in Mongolia. In May 2005, he extended the observations in four boreholes located in the Darkhad depression near Lake Hovsgol. A new 15-m deep borehole was drilled at the site of the one used in 1989. Two 5-m deep boreholes were drilled for monitoring the active layer, frost heaving and thaw settlement. In addition, an 85-m deep active borehole was located and instrumented for the CALM and GTN-P observations. There are currently 35 CALM and GTN-P boreholes in Mongolia. Sixteen boreholes are instrumented with temperature dataloggers. In addition, the dynamics of cryogenic processes and seasonal frost are monitored at some sites.

Within the framework of the project on Central Asian permafrost mapping, N. Sharkhuu is developing initial data for compiling a permafrost map of Mongolia. In September 2005, he obtained year-round datalogger recordings of soil surface temperatures at elevations between 2000 and 3400 m asl on the Tsambagarav Mountain, in the Altai region and at elevations between 1300 and 2250 m asl on the Bogd Mountain near Ulaanbaatar. These observations are continued in the Khangai and Khentii mountains.

N. Sharkhuu plans to participate in the IPA-IPY Permafrost Observatory Projects titled «Thermal State of Permafrost » and «Trans-North-Eastern Siberian Permafrost Observations» (M. Ishikawa, Japan).

We regret to announce that Dr. D. Tumurbaatar died in October 2005 at an age of 65 years. He worked as a permafrost researcher at the Institute of Geography, MAS, since 1967, after graduating from Moscow State University (PhD in 1990). He was the head of the permafrost laboratory at the Institute for the period 1979 to 2003 and president of the Mongolian Permafrost Association since 1995. D. Tumurbaatar was the author of several books and a number of publications on permafrost studies in Mongolia. Some of his publications are in Russian and English.

Natsagdorj Sharkhuu (sharkhuu_n@yahoo.com)