Different aspects of permafrost were investigated in 2012 in two areas: the Tatra Mountains and on Spitsbergen.
The Tatra Mountains are a zone of random occurrence of permafrost. Investigations in the area were carried out by permafrost researchers from the University of Silesia (Sosnowiec) and from the University of Science and Technology (Kraków).


The scientists from the University of Silesia studied in 2012 the ground thermal regimes in the sporadic permafrost occurrence zone under climate change conditions (including importance of snow cover and ventilation processes) (Gadek, 2012; Gadek and Leszkiewicz, 2012).
The University of Science and Technology continued in 2012 recording (started in 2004) of the ground temperature at the depths of 0, 20 and 50 cm and air temperature (200 cm agl.) at two sites on the northern slopes of Mt. Swinica (1,950 – 2,000 m a.s.l.) and at one site in the Kozia Dolinka valley (1,950 m a.s.l.) in the Tatra Mts. The temperature was logged permanently all year round at two-hour intervals. In the season of 2012, in-snow temperature studies (started in 2011) were continued in Hala Gasienicowa. A set of  12 loggers measured temperature every 5 cm at 30-minute intervals.
On Spitsbergen, measurements of the active layer depth of permafrost, its thermal conditions, as well as its dynamics were carried out at the sites included in the CALM project (Site P1 Calypsostranda – the base of the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (Lublin) (Fig. 1) and Site P2 (A-C) - Kaffiøyra – the station of the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Torun) (Fig. 2). In Kaffiøyra the ground temperature was also measured at standard depths to 1-2 m in three different ecotopes: the beach, the moraine and the tundra (see Fig. 2).

Figure 1                                              Figure 2

In addition, the researchers from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan continued during the field season 2012 previous studies on permafrost and periglacial processes in the Ebba valley located on the eastern coast of Petuniabukta, northern tip of Billefiorden in Central Spitsbergen (Svalbard). Investigations were the part of the established long term monitoring of the permafrost active layer temperature measured at two sites (since 2005), four times a day, with the use of thermistors at the depths: dry site – 5; 10; 20; 50; 75; 100 cm below the ground, wet site – 5; 10; 20; 27 cm below the ground. The observations period lasted from July 12 until September 15. Additionally, results from temperature loggers located in vertical ground profiles, collecting data for the overwintering time 2011/2012 at three locations (dry site, wet site and bare-ground site in the central part of the valley) were collected. Loggers, with sampling period 1h, were located at the depths of 5; 10; 20; 50 and 100 cm below the ground, but not all of them revealed the year round record. Additionally to ground temperature registration meteorological data were also collected from automatic weather stations during the summer/fall season of observations and one of the stations, colleting year round data, was located at the altitude of 500 m a.s.l. on one of neighboring glaciers (Svenbreen).
Slope periglacial processes were registered on the example of active layer detachments (ALD) on the southern slope of Ebba valley. The structure of above permafrost table deposition and deformations was described and sediment samples were taken for further analysis. The relation between ALD’s activity and plant cover was registered (in terms of dendro-geomorphology based on Dryas Octopetala and Salix Polaris tree rings differentiation). Eolian processes were investigated in the scope of: 1. their activity in relation to anemometric conditions in different parts of the valley, 2. deposition of eolian sediments within the slope and valley bottom covers, 3. contemporary transported particles trapping and 4. intensity of corasive activity on especially polished for this purpose rock surfaces. (Main investigators involved in the studies were: Agata Buchwal, Jakub Malecki, Grzegorz Rachlewicz, Krzysztof Rymer, Lilianna Siekacz).
Besides field research, theoretical and critical studies of permafrost and cryospheric terms and definitions were conducted by W. Dobinski. A clarification and a new usage of selected terms was suggested (for details see Dobinski W., 2012a-c).

 

Publications:

Dobinski W., 2012a, Permafrost. The contemporary meaning of the term and its consequences. Bulletin of Geography, Physical Geography Series, 5 (in press).

Dobinski W., 2012b, Kryosphere and Glacial Permafrost as Its Integral Component. Central European Journal of Geosciences 4, 4, (in press).

Dobinski W., 2012, The concept of cryo-conditioning in landscape evolution – comment to the paper published by Ivar Berthling and Bernd Etzelmüller, Quaternary Research 77, 211-212.

Gadek B., 2012, Debris slopes ventilation in the periglacial zone of the Tatra Mountains (Poland and Slovakia): The indicators. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 74-75, 1-10.

Gadek B., Leszkiewicz J., 2012, Impact of climate warming on the ground surface temperature in the sporadic permafrost zone of the Tatra Mountains, Poland and Slovakia. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 79-80, 75-83.

Rajmund Przybylak

based on annual reports sent by W. Dobinski,  B. Gadek, W. Moscicki, G. Rachlewicz, and P. Zagórski