Several activities took place in 2005 at the GeoBiosphere Science Centre of the Lund University and in the Abisko area. The CALM-grids along the east-west transverse from Bergfors to Riksgransen were monitored as usual (Jonas Åkerman, Margaretha Johansson).
The record series now covers the period 1978-2005. In two of the monitored bogs, permafrost is now more or less completely gone and the dry heath vegetation has turned into a wet Sphagnum and Carex dominated swamp. Torbjörn Johansson continues the newly established grid at Stordalen and here the mire was intensively surveyed using real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS-technique with an high accuracy. A total of approximately 10,000 points were surveyed during a two-week period over the whole mire (ca. 16 ha) with an intensified survey within the CALM grid. With these measurements we have now created opportunities to follow permafrost degradation and changes in thermokarst features on the site at a centimetre scale (point). The general resolution is approximately 10 meters. The micro-topography data is used in a carbon flux perspective to quantify «hot spots» on the mire. During the summer months vegetation mapping within the CALM grid was completed. Implications of already observed changes for methane emissions at the landscape scale were published in 2004.
Margaretha Johansson has filled the new PhD studentship post on «Permafrost dynamics and its implications for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning» (supervisors: Torben R. Christensen, Jonas Åkerman). Installations of snow cover manipulation plots, snow cover depth, soil temperature measurements and a complete microclimatic station were initiated next to one of the old CALM grids (AL 1- Storflaket).
Research at Uppsala University continues in the field of periglacial processes (Else Kolstrup, Jan Boelhouwers, Hanna Ridefelt). E. Kolstrup continues the research on boundary constraints of geomorphological forms and processes in past and present periglacial environments. Spatial variability in solifluction process rates and environmental parameters in the Abisko mountains of northern Sweden is the topic of H. Ridefelt’s Ph.D. J. Boelhouwers continues his work on soil frost processes and spatial variability on sub-Antarctic Marion Island, including a pilot study on interactions with vegetation in collaboration with ecologists from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. A coastalinland transect of active layer temperature monitoring sites and sediment movement rates was established in Western Dronning Maud land between the Swedish Wasa and Svea stations.
At Stockholm University (Britta Sannel and Peter Kuhry) installed monitoring equipment in a peat plateauthermokarst lake complex in Taavavuoma, northern Sweden (68°27’ N, 20°58’ E) in September 2005, as a part of the Ph.D. project of B. Sannel. The monitoring equipment consists of a meteorological station measuring air temperature, relative humidity and precipitation and three cables with thermistors measuring ground temperature down to depths of two meters in different parts of the peatland. A stationary digital camera taking one image a day at 1 PM was installed overlooking four stakes for snow depth measurements. This monitoring station will be test run during the winter 2005/2006. The plan for summer 2006 is to further expand monitoring with a wind speed and direction sensor, additional thermistor cables, additional snow depth stakes and possibly tilt metres along the part of the peat plateau that is collapsing into a thermokarst lake. The main objective of the project is to study local climate, permafrost and ground dynamics in a peat plateau-thermokarst lake complex to obtain a better understanding of how these permafrost peatlands respond to climate change.
Swedish permafrost researchers met in May 2005 with the aim to develop a Swedish permafrost group. Swedish permafrost researchers and all those with permafrost-related research in Sweden are invited to join this group and provide project information. For further information, see: www.eld.geo.uu.se/SPG/
Jonas Åkerman (Jonas.Akerman@nateko.lu.se)