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.
According to a climatic recording of air temperature, the mean annual air temperature has been increased by more 2 degrees over Mongolia since the 1940s. As mentioned in the recommendation of the second international symposium on mountain and arid land permafrost, the Mongolian permafrost and ecological network were recognized as critical for understanding the dynamics of permafrost. This 2013 year is the last year of the national project “Establishment of the long term permafrost network over Mongolia” and we (Mongolian permafrost researchers) have been collaborating with Japanese colleagues, such as the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and Hokkaido University since 2002. In the framework of this collaborative study there were established not only some permafrost monitoring sites also ecosystem observation sites in some regions of Mongolia. Terelj J site is located in south-facing grassland slope, near the Ulaanbaatar (figure 1 AWS at the observation site near Ulaanbaatar, Terelj site).For details on this activity refer to the PYRN newsletter for November and december.
Figure 1. AWS at the observation site-Terelj J site (photo by Dr Y.Iijima)
In 2010 the Mongolian parliament adopted a national water program in which was appointed to increase the number of boreholes for permafrost monitoring. The Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment has completed drilling 30 boreholes in 2013. On the way to download the data from boreholes we have done an additional monitoring points with depths from 0 to 8 m using hand motor drill in 2013. Therefore, Mongolia has established a permafrost network over Mongolia with supports from foreign and national organizations.
Long (10-45 years) term monitoring of permafrost temperature, and active layer thickness is continued by Sharkhuu in more than 40 boreholes with mainly 10-15 m to 100-200 m depths located in the Hovsgol, Hangai and Hentei mountainous regions of Mongolia.
We have more than 100 boreholes with different depths from surface to deep boreholes (figure 2 Location of boreholes for permafrost monitoring). As shown on figure 2, the blue dots indicate the location of active monitoring points and red is newly established point.
Figure 2. Map of permafrost monitoring points.
As a growing of Mongolian economy, there are actively increasing the construction of infrastructure. The construction of road is meeting the area with continuous permafrost in Northern Hangai, Mongolia.
Sharkhuu finished two years detailed measurements for studying effects of the soil surface (different vegetation, snow and icing) covers on ground temperatures and active layer thickness in the upper Selbe River valley near Ulaanbaatar. These studies were conducted within the framework of a local project on nature protection. Currently, he is conducting ground temperature measurements within the framework of a geotechnical project, of which aim is to make a perspective plan of infrastructure around Ulaanbaatar territory. He will compile a permafrost (1: 100,000) map of the area around Ulaanbaatar (75x66 km2) and detailed permafrost maps of several settlement territories near the city.
Report prepared by Jambaljav Yamkhin (firstname.lastname@example.org)