Geology Department, UNIS

In 2014 the periglacial research group in the Geology Department of The University Centre in Svalbard, UNIS, did a summer permafrost drilling campaign at Station Nord, at 81˚N in northernmost Greenland using our UNIS permafrost drill rig. Two boreholes down to 22 m were drilled, cores partially collected, the boreholes cased and instrumented for continuous ground thermal monitoring. These installations form part of the scientific observation programme of the new Villum Research Station, which was also built this summer. This building activity enabled direct air transport between Svalbard and Station Nord of the drill rig. The campaign was carried out in collaboration with Center for Permafrost, CENPERM, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

In June-July 2014 the first of two planned AG-218/219 'International Bachelor Permafrost Summer Field Schools' as part of the University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Permafrost was held at UNIS in close cooperation with University of Alaska Fairbanks and other partners in this network. 25 students from nine different countries took this 5/10 ECTS course, which had as the main aim to provide an overview of how diverse permafrost studies are in modern Earth System Science, from potential carbon release due to increased permafrost thawing to conditions for infrastructure on permafrost.

A new PhD student, Graham Gilbert, has started working our group in the DEFROST Nordic Center of Excellence Project on ground thermal analyses, but also on cryostratigraphy. He will work on the Station Nord permafrost cores. Our Page21 PhD student Stefanie Härtel continued working on geomorphological and geocryological maps from Adventdalen and Zackenberg as deliverable products for this EU project and for her PhD thesis.

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Figure 1. UNIS permafrost drill rig getting ready to drill at Station Nord in northernmost Greenland, August 2014. Photo: Graham Gilbert.

Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo

The University of Oslo mainly conducted fieldwork on Svalbard and in the mainland of Norway, but Also elsewhere within a number of different projects and research initiatives, and partly in co-operation with other research institutions.

Automatic time-lapse cameras were installed on two mountain tops and the "Climate Change Tower" near Ny-Ålesund and Hornsund, Svalbard, in the project SMACS funded by the Svalbard Science Forum. With these images the timing and spatial patterns of the snow melt can be monitored for key science areas on Svalbard over large areas. (UiO: S. Westermann, B. Etzelmüller, K. Gisnås; Institute of Geophyiscs, Warsaw, Poland: B.Luks, T. Wawrzyniak, A. Nawrot; Alfred-Wegener-Institute Potsdam, Germany: J. Boike; University of Insubria, Italy: M. Guglielmin, S.Ponti).

Investigations on snow distribution, microtopography and ground thermal regime of palsa mires and peat plateaus in the county of Finnmark, Norway, were conducted during spring and summer field trips. Geophysical techniques were employed for selected palsa mires along a gradient from inland area to the coast (UiO: S. Westermann, B.Etzelmüller, A. Borge, K. Myhra, C. Steiger,L. Girod, T. Dunse).

The project CRYOMET (Bridging scales between the atmosphere and the terrestrial cryopshere) continued in 2014, with field work on Svalbard on snow distribution and northern Norway. There, a new automatic weather station was established by the Meteorological Institute in Norway (Ketil Isaksen), including a new radiation sensor (UiO, Met.no).

All automatically logged boreholes and small met-station were surveyed and sownloaded both in southern and northern Norway. These boreholes were mainly established during the IPY-TSP Norway and CRYLINK project.

The Nordic network PermaNordnet based on a cooperation between many Nordic Universities arranged a PhD course on Permafrost in the sub-arctic of Scandinavia, visiting a transect between Tromsø i Norway to Kilpisjärvi i northern Finland. The course was a cooperation between the University of Oslo and the University of Oulu (Bernd Etzelmüller, Ole Humlum, Sebastian Westermann).

Norway_Fig.2Figure 2. Rock slide monitoring installations at Nordnes, Northern Norway, visited by the The Nordic network PermaNordnet PhD course on Permafrost in the sub-arctic of Scandinavia. Photo: Ole Humlum.

Repeat terrestrial photos over three sorted soil circles on Kvadehuksletta, western Spitsbergen, were analysed using the Structure-from-Motion technology to arrive at digital elevation models, and vertical and horizontal deformations with millimetre-precision. A number of substantial deviations from the overall radial symmetry, both in horizontal displacements and in microrelief, shed new light on the spatio-temporal evolution of sorted soil circles, the soil turnover in such circles, and potentially the evolution periglacial patterned ground in general (UiO: A. Kääb, L. Girod; NTNU: I. Berthling).

Time series of X-band satellite radar images and radar interferograms over Lena delta, Siberia, were analysed to better understand the spatio-temporal patterns of frost heave, thaw subsidence, and changes in surface properties over this lowland permafrost area. (Collaboration between: AWI Potsdam (S. Antonova, J. Boike, M. Langer, B. Heim), DLR/HGF (German Space Agency), and UiO (A. Kääb, S. Westermann)).

Using growth anomalies from trees on rock glacier bodies, repeat aerial photography from Soviet archives, and high-resolution declassified and contemporary satellite imagery, the world's longest continuous record of rock glacier movements available today was reconstructed for four rock glaciers in the Tien Shan. The distinct changes in activity found were correlated with meterological and climatic information to decipher the climate sensitivity of rock glaciers and to reconstruct periods of high and low rock glacier activity in the Tien Shan since 1895.(Collaboration between: Universities Geneva, Bern and ETH Zurich (A. Sorg, A. Roesch, C. Bigler, M. Stoffel) and UiO (A. Kääb)).

Report prepared by Ole Humlum ( ole.humlum@mn.uio.no)