H. Ridefelt and J. Boelhouwers at Uppsala University are continuing a project on spatial modeling of solifl uction processes in the Abisko region, northern Sweden.

A gridbased regional model outlines the occurrences of solifluction landforms and a solifluction activity map based on terrain classifi cation was developed. A study on mountain permafrost distribution in the same region was completed during 2008 and is to be published by Ridefelt et al. in the December issue of Norsk Geografi sk Tidskrift. A new method of assessing long-term movement rates of solifluction on a regional scale through photo analysis is presented in a submitted manuscript (Ridefelt et al.). Jan Boelhouwers initiated a workshop on biogeomorphological processes and environments of subantarctic and sub-arctic ecosystems. The workshop was held at the Låktatjåkka Mountain Station in Sweden in August 2008 with Swedish participants from Uppsala University and Lund University and South African participants from Stellenbosch University, University of Pretoria and University of Fort Hare. Else Kolstrup continued researches on stone heave under boreal-temperate climate conditions.

At Stockholm University, the Ph.D. project of B. Sannel on temporal and spatial dynamics of peat plateau / thermokarst lake complexes started in August 2004 (supervisor P. Kuhry) and includes plant macrofossil studies, remote sensing and ground monitoring of peat plateau areas in Sweden, Canada and Russia. In 2008 two papers were published on Holocene permafrost stability, and variable peat accumulation and decay rates in west-central Canadian peat plateaus. The new permafrost monitoring site in a remote peat plateau / thermokarst lake complex in Tavvavuoma, northernmost Sweden, was maintained since 2005. The setup consists of a meteorological station, a camera, nine snow stakes and nine shallow boreholes (2 m). In September 2008 an additional 6 m deep borehole was drilled into the peat plateau. M. Johansson and J. Åkerman, at the University of Lund participated in the live web event “IPY Polar Science Day” on June 18 with a presentation about the “thermal state of the Swedish permafrost”. Th e live sessions connected kids all over the world with scientists, preferably in the field at the time, followed by time for on-line questions.

The GeoBiosphere Science Centre of the Lund University continued and expanded its activities in the Abisko area. The “Nordic Centre for Studies of Ecosystem Carbon Exchange and its Interaction with the Climate System” (NECC) has two monitoring sites in the Stordalen area. The CARBOMONT project “Effects of land-use changes on sources, sinks and fl uxes of carbon in European mountain areas” and the ELSA project “Exchange processes between the land surface and the atmosphere” have intensive and important fi eld activities in the Abisko area, especially in and around the Stordalen bog. For these projects the status and dynamics of the active layer and the permafrost in the bogs are of great importance.

The old “IPA Abisko area active layer transect” is maintained in co-operation with the Abisko Research Station. J. Åkerman and M. Johansson are still maintaining 10 of the originally 12 CALM sites along the 100 km east-west transect. Two sites have been abandoned as all permafrost has disappeared. The three, high level (850-950 m.a.s.l.) sites have again been included and air and ground surveyed (both in 2007 and 2008). The active layer sites have now been monitored since 1978 and annual basic data is presented within the CALM reporting system.

In April 2008, five new boreholes were drilled in the Abisko area by M. Johansson through the Permafrost Young Researchers Network’s (PYRN) contribution to TSP. The boreholes were between 6 and 16 meter deep and were drilled closed to the old boreholes established in the 1980s by J. Åkerman. Preliminary results from the boreholes show that the permafrost thickness is decreasing from below as well as from above. The snow manipulation experiment, where future climate is simulated by adding snow on a peat mire, has been running for three years now. Data are now being analyzed and the experiment has worked well, with a clear change in the active layer thickness and vegetation observed. The snow fences are soon to be reinstalled for another season. The vegetation removal experiment was initiated last year on a mire and will continue for another year. The influence of removal of different vegetation types (dwarf shrubs, gramanoids and mosses) and the diff rent vegetation types on active layer thickness and ground temperatures, are being measured.

The Arctic Council of Ministers has requested a report on the current status of various aspects of the Arctic’s Cryosphere. The major sections are the Greenland Ice Sheet, Arctic Sea Ice and the Terrestrial Cryosphere, which consists of the chapters Snow, Permafrost, Glaciers and Ice Caps, Hydrology. Sweden together with Canada is coordinating the terrestrial cryosphere component and Sweden (T. Callaghan and M. Johansson) is leading the snow and permafrost chapters. The project will fi nish by the end of 2010.

A symposium on “Global change impacts on Nordic subarctic palsa mires and greenhouse gas feedbacks in the climate system” was held in Abisko on October 28-30, 2008.

H. Jonas Åkerman (jonas.akerman@natgeo.lu.se)