At the University of Bonn, the research project SORP (Sensitivity of Rock Permafrost to regional climate change), which is part of the DFG-bundle SPCC, is centered on rock permafrost monitoring and permafrost induced rock wall instabilities. S. Verleysdonk started her Ph.D. thesis within the project with field sites in the German (Zugspitze) and Swiss Alps (Turtmann Valley and Piz Corvatsch). S. Bledow and D. Funk installed extensometer measurements at the Zugspitze and are carrying out shear tests on thawing cleft material as well as stability modeling based on empirical data. Further research focused on the relationship between summer snow cover and rock permafrost detected by refraction seismics (D. Dräbing, Turtmann Valley). M. Krautblatter discussed patterns of multiannual aggradation of permafrost in rock walls with and without hydraulic interconnectivity as well as temperature-calibrated imaging of seasonal changes in permafrost rock walls by quantitative electrical resistivity tomography at the Zugspitze (Krautblatter et al., acc.). Within the sub-project “Monitoring and process analysis of permafrost creep and failure in changing temperature regimes” (I. Gärtner), kinematics of several rockglaciers in the Valais and Grisons were quantified combining terrestrial and remote sensing methods. Together with ground surface temperature monitoring as well as geophysical soundings these data aid in investigating rockglacier dynamics.
At the University of Würzburg, the permafrost research group led by C. Kneisel continued investigations on permafrost characterization using surface and subsurface temperature monitoring and geophysical mapping techniques in different (sub-)alpine and subarctic environments in Switzerland and northern Sweden.
Research on sites with sporadic permafrost below the timberline (Engadin and Appenzell, Swiss Alps), with focus on permafrost-humus interaction, thermal regime and the influence on temporal and spatial permafrost variability are continued by D. Schwindt within his Ph.D thesis. T. Rödder has started his Ph.D. project investigating the sensitivity of alpine permafrost in unconsolidated sediments and its spatio-temporal variability in a changing climate at the Murtel/Corvatsch site. This research project is part of the DFG-bundle project SPCC (http://www.spcc-project.de). Recently, A. Bast finished his diploma-thesis on small scale distribution of permafrost within the glacier forefield Muragl (Swiss Alps) regarding multiple geomorphological parameters. C. Kneisel and several undergraduate and graduate students undertook additional 2D geophysical surveys for investigating the spatial distribution and characteristics of permafrost on different periglacial landforms (e.g. solifluction /gelifluction slopes) in a subarctic mountain environment in the Abisko region, northern Sweden. Furthermore, permafrost conditions at an isolated lowland palsa were investigated (active-layer and near- and subsurface temperature measurements, permafrost depth detection).
At the University of Jena, C. Hilbich is currently conducting a geophysical monitoring network at 6 different permafrost sites in the Swiss Alps with permanent electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and refraction seismic tomography (RST) profiles within the SPCC project and in close co-operation with the Swiss PERMOS network. The applicability of both ERT and RST monitoring for the detection and quantification of ground ice degradation was investigated on short time scales by the application of appraisal analysis.
At the University of Giessen, O. Wild analyzed two data sets of near-surface ground temperatures at Stockhorn-Plateau, 3410 meters a.s.l. (Valais, Switzerland). The long-term temperature monitoring at Kleinmatterhorn (3820 meters a.s.l.) started in 1998 by L. King will be continued after recalibration of the temperature-loggers.
AWI (Potsdam) conducts research in the Canadian Arctic continuously since 2005. At Polar Bear Pass (Bathurst Island), field work focuses on the hydrology and energy balance of a High Arctic Wetland in cooperation with Prof. K. Young from York University. On Herschel Island and the Yukon Coastal Plain, AWI works together with McGill University (Montreal) studying coastal erosion and paleoenvironmental dynamics on the East-Beringian edge using lake sediments and ground ice. The 12th Russian-German-Expedition Lena Delta 2009 with 35 participants took place from June to August. The overall aims are to continue ongoing research on carbon, water and energy cycling, coastal erosion, land-sea interaction and paleoclimatic reconstruction, carried out on the polygonal tundra, on Yedoma surfaces and thermokarst depressions, within the channel network and on a N-S-transect. The 141 m permafrost core from Elgygytgyn Crater ICDP deep drilling in Chukotka has successfully arrived in the lab. Now it is being subsampled for multidisciplinary studies between Germany, Russia, and the US. Revealing the stable oxygen isotope record from Elgygytgyn lacustrine diatoms is ongoing in the AWI-Potsdam lab. Periglacial surface structures were studied during the field campaign „Svalbard Permafrost Landforms as Analogues for Mars“ on Spitsbergen in July 2009. The data will be used as ground truth for high-resolution stereo images acquired by the high-resolution camera HRSC-AX. The AWI-project “Sensitivity of Permafrost in the Arctic” were continued to characterize the spatial heterogeneity of the permafrost energy budget near Ny-Alesund, in spring and summer 2009. High resolution stable isotope records (delta18O, d-excess) in ice wedges from Alaska (Barrow) and Northeast-Siberia (Dmitrii Laptev Strait) enable to reconstruct regional climate changes during the late Glacial and the Late Holocene and highlight the potential of ground ice as climate archive. As a final result of a joint German-Russian-Switzerland INTAS Project, the 36Cl/Cl dating method was successfully applied to syngenetic ice wedges from six sites in northern Yakutian middle and late Pleistocene ice-rich deposits. A Data User Element Program (DUE PERMAFROST) was launched in spring 2009 by the European Space Agency (ESA) as a platform to users and service providers to integrate earth observation service focussed on permafrost monitoring. http://www.ipf.tuwien.ac.at/permafrost/). The German Helmholtz Association and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research are supporting a Joint Russian-German Young Researcher Group focused on the sensitivity of the Siberian permafrost coast to change that includes the AWI (Potsdam) and the Institute for Coastal Research (Geesthacht), along with three Russian partner institutes.
Lorenz King (Lorenz.King@geogr.uni-giessen.de)