Investigations on permafrost and contemporary periglacial phenomena were carried out in 2009 largely in the polar regions and high mountain areas on the Northern Hemisphere: Spitsbergen, the Tatra Mountains and Scandinavian Mountains (Abisko region). They are based and are continuation of the IV International Polar Year 2007/2009 programs: GLACIODYN, KINNVIKA, POLARCAT, TOPOCLIM, as well as the IPA – CALM project.

Measurements of permafrost active layer depth, its thermal condition, as well as its dynamics were carried out at the sites included into the CALM project (Site P1 Calypsostranda – base of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University (Lublin) and Site P2 - Kaffiöyra – station of Nicolas Copernicus University (Toruń). Studies of frost process dynamics were also undertaken near the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund, as well as in the region Petuniabukta where the base for Adam Mickiewicz University expedition (Poznań) is located. There were also large-scale explorations on occurrence of mountain permafrost in some areas of central and northern Europe (W. Dobiński – Silesia University).

In April/May 2009 IPY research continued in the POLARCAT project and focused on anthropogenic pollution of atmospheric precipitation in the region of Hornsund Fiord. Snow pits on Werenskiold and Hans glaciers were sampled by W.E. Krawczyk (University of Silesia) in cooperation with K. Migała (Wrocław University) and D. Puczko (Institute of Geophysics, PAS) from the TOPOKLIM project and conducted analyses of inorganic ions, organic compounds and isotopes. Daily precipitation samples were taken at the environmental station in the Fuglebekken. Sampling in the Fuglebekken aimed at collecting nutrient concentrations in waters at different distances from bird colonies and to describe the hydrochemical environment characteristic of different plant and algal communities. The results of this sampling will also provide information on the intensity of chemical weathering processes in the permafrost active layer.

In the KINNVIKA project, in August, 12-14 water samples originating from permafrost thawing were taken on Storsteinhalvoya, Nordaustlandet at 80°N with the aim to investigate intensity of chemical weathering processes of rocks in the northernmost part of Svalbard, in a polar desert environment. GPR profiles were conducted on uplifted marine terraces, close to the Kinnvika station by P. Dolnicki (University of Silesia).

The GLACIODYN project (headed by J.Jania, Silesia University) covering dynamics of arctic glacier development under changing climate conditions and rising sea level was further pursued in 2009. In particular, the frontal parts of polythermal glaciers and their forefields were investigated to better understand the glacier/permafrost interactions. The studies employed geodesic and geophysical methods such as shallow electromagnetic  sounding , shallow seismic sounding and ground penetrating radar.

In the summer of 2009, a large range of interdisciplinary studies of periglacial phenomena were carried out in the region of stations/bases of Polish universities. The results of investigations will be published and presented at international conferences.

Kazimierz Pękala (