One of the most important activities in Argentina was the thorough development of regional inventories of Andean rock glaciers, which were associated with Andean river basins, and according to federal law to protect glaciers, covered glaciers and rock glaciers. Thus the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan show their wealth of creeping mountain permafrost. Working steps in the inventory in these cases are well advanced. In other cases as in the province of Chubut, in the Southern or Humid Andes, cryoforms occurrences are not outstanding. Data and information that is coming from this mentioned Inventory are submitted to the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS).

In 2013 various activities took place by Austrian permafrost researchers regarding permafrost-related conferences in Austria, permafrost organisational issues as well as research on permafrost in the Austrian Alps. Furthermore, the Austrian Permafrost Working Group (see earlier reports for details) continued to improve collaborations between different permafrost researchers in the country. In the first part of this report general permafrost activities and events are presented in a chronological order. In the second part permafrost research carried out by the different permafrost research groups in Austria is summarised.

The Canadian permafrost community has had a very busy year. There is much activity with respect to initiatives to support adaptation to a changing climate in Northern Canada. A number of these projects have been led by the governments and other organizations in Canada’s northern territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut). A few of these are highlighted in this report.

The report is mainly on the project activities and meetings related to the studies of permafrost and cold regions engineering in China during the period of 2012-2013.

Major programs/projects on permafrost


During the 2012-2013, 20 major research program/projects were initiated or ongoing on permafrost and cold regions engineering in China (Table 1), in addition to many smaller projects from various funding sources. The research and development funding from all levels of governments and industry increased in 2012-2013 in order to meet the demands for socioeconomic development in cold regions and for basic research in geocryology and cold region science and technology. In perspective, the research funding in the next two years should be somewhat cut back in certain areas while an appreciable growth of funding is expected from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This is a result of a consolidation of all funding sources in China for a better managerial purpose and also from an expected slowed growth of economy in China during the 2014-2015 period.

During 2013, the activities of French periglacial communities and permafrost researchers were undertaken in a wide range of approaches (geomorphological field study, physical modelling and numerical approach) and cover several areas (Spitsbergen, Iceland, Central Norway and Central Yakutia (Russia).

The hydrological and hydrogeological instigations carried out on the Austrelovénbreen catchment (western Spitsbergen) are still going on in 2013 and also in 2014. The projects CRYOSENSORS / GRAAL result from the collaboration of 3 French laboratories : IDES (Univ Paris-Sud / CNRS), THEMA and FEMTO (Univ. de Franche Comté/CNRS). The research work is funded by the National Research Agency of France (ANR), by the GDR Mutations polaires (CNRS) and by IPEV (French Polar Institute).

Reports from Potsdam (AWI, GFZ)


In collaboration with Jörg Hartmann at AWI Bremerhaven, the Helmholtz Young Investigators Group TEAM (Trace Gas Exchange in the Earth-Atmosphere System on Multiple Scales) led by Torsten Sachs from the German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam GFZ) successfully completed the third “Airborne Measurements of Methane Flux” (AIRMETH) campaign, again covering extensive areas on the North Slope of Alaska and the Mackenzie Delta, Canada with airborne eddy covariance flux measurements of latent and sensible heat, carbon dioxide, and methane. One flight in Alaska was synchronized with a NASA CARVE (Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment) flight and hyperspectral and LIDAR data were collected both in Alaska and Canada in support of various others projects. Contact: torsten.sachs@gfz-potsdam.de

The Italian research in the permafrost and periglacial environments was focused on the entire Alpine arch, in the Balkans and in the Antarctic region.

Eastern Alps

Permafrost research focused primarily on the completion of the Rock Glacier Inventory and on the study of permanent ice deposits in high altitude karst caves. The Rock Glacier inventory has been realized using a geomorphological approach in the classification of the landforms (R.R. Colucci, M. Guglielmin).


In central Japan, an inter-university project on ‘Recovery of Geoenvironments in the Japanese Alps Region’ is ongoing (period: 2010–2015). The research organization consists of more than 100 scientists in various fields of geoscience, biology and agrobiology, mostly from three universities (Tsukuba, Shinshu and Gifu). The research topics include snow, permafrost and periglacial slope dynamics in the Japanese Alps and their effects on alpine ecology. The first summary of the project was published in a special issue of Journal of Geography (publisher: Tokyo Geographical Society), Vol. 122(4), 2013, entitled ‘Changing Natural Environments in the Japanese Alps region’ (Chief editor: N. Matsuoka). The issue comprises 17 papers and 3 pictorials, mostly written in Japanese with English abstract. Full texts can be downloaded at J-STAGE: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jgeography/122/4/_contents.

As mentioned in the recommendation of the second international symposium on mountain and arid land permafrost, to extend the interest group area from Central Asia to Asian countries where permafrost exists and to organize an effective international team of experts to continue the project on mapping of mountain permafrost in Asia. In January 2013, there was a meeting at Hokkaido University between the permafrost researchers from Oslo University, Norway (prof Bernd Etzelmuller, Dr Sebastian Westermann), from Hokkaido University, Japan (prof M. Ishikawa, Dashtseren Avirmed, doctoral student of Hokkaido University, Iyo Yamahashi, master student of Hokkaido University), from Geography Institute of Mongolia (Dr Ya.Jambaljav) and from EngGeoTech LLC (Dr M.Myagmarjav). Thanks to professor M. Ishikawa, we had discussed successful on the topic of permafrost mapping in Mongolian territory. As Mongolia lies in Asian ecotone from Siberian tundra to Central Asian Desert, Mongolia has permafrost in the northern part and South of Mongolia is characterized by Gobi desert. Southern or lower limit of permafrost distribution in Mongolia is one of the critical issues.

Geology Department, UNIS

In 2013 the periglacial research group in the Geology Department of The University Centre in Svalbard, UNIS, did a winter snow mobile based hand drilling campaign as part of several research project activities in Adventdalen and at Kapp Linne. The campaign was coordinated by PhD student Stefanie Härtel, the EU Page21 project and Markus Eckerstorfer, the PermaSAR project coordinated from Norut, but also as part of our DEFROST Nordic Centre of Excellence activities. More than 35 m of permafrost cores were obtained from 20 locations down to 2.8 m depth for detailed cryostratigraphical and basic sedimentological studies.
In 2013 an UNIS PhD course AG-833 ‘High Arctic Permafrost landscape dynamics was held in Svalbard and Greenland’, in cooperation with the Center for Permafrost, CENPERM, University of Copenhagen, and as key part of the Nordic permafrost network Perma-Nordnet. 10 Nordic PhD and advanced master students travelled to research station Zackenberg in NE Greenland, and studied the periglacial landscape development in this area based on the extensive basis monitoring going on there, but also comparing permafrost conditions in NE Greenland to Svalbard. The first installations of permafrost thermal regimes from different landforms in the Zackenberg valley were recovered during the course.