The Center for Permafrost (CENPERM) at Copenhagen University has continued the investigations at sites in Greenland, Svalbard, Siberia and Sweden. In 2015 a new snow fence experiment was established near Narsarsuaq in South Greenland. These additional snow fences will be used for exploring summer and winter warming effects on soil-plant interactions and should be seen in relation to the existing snow fence experiment established in Blæsedalen at Disko Island in West Greenland. Marked variations at contrasting altitudes and latitudes are expected which represent an uncertainty needed to be constrained before upscaling from plot to landscape and regional scales across sites in Greenland.
A national cooperation between CENPERM, the Department of Geoscience at Aarhus University and ARTEK has successfully resulted in shared publications on high temporal resolution electrical resistivity and induced polarization monitoring experiment at the Arctic Station research site in Central West Greenland. The co-operation is on-going.
Other important publications from CENPERM includes Hollesen et al., 2015 reporting in Nature Climate Change how permafrost thawing in organic Arctic soils can be accelerated by ground heat production. It was demonstrated that the impact of climate changes on organic soils could be enhanced compared to other soil types with crucial implications for the amounts of organic matter being decomposed and potentially emitted. This is particularly important for degradation of the uniquely well-preserved, organic archaeological artefacts in organic middens with the risk of losing evidence of human activity in the Arctic. Secondly, Westermann et al. (2015) reported in The Cryosphere on the future permafrost conditions along environmental gradients in Zackenberg, Greenland. The work was based on stepwise downscaling of future projections derived from a general circulation model using observational data, snow redistribution modelling, remote sensing data and a ground thermal model.
Currently, eighteen CENPERM PhD projects are ongoing and one completed in 2015. Hanna Valolahti successfully defended her PhD entitled ”Impacts of climate change induced vegetation responses on BVOC emissions from subarctic heath ecosystems” on November 27, 2015.
The Arctic Technology Centre (ARTEK) at the Technical University of Denmark has been involved in the evaluation of permafrost conditions at the main Greenlandic airport of Kangerlussuaq. A political process has been initiated to reorganize the Greenlandic airport infrastructure with the purpose of upgrading regional airports for international traffic and downgrading or closing the existing facilities at Kangerlussuaq. The present runway was constructed by the US Air Force in the 1950‘ies based on experiences from Alaska and Thule, and following extensive site investigations. Construction blueprints and site investigation reports indicate limited sensitivity to permafrost thaw in general, with a few local settlement problems. Major runway maintenance (repaving) has been neglected, and political prioritation is needed to ensure continued operability.
Report prepared by Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen (firstname.lastname@example.org)