In order to become a member of the International Permafrost Association, a group of French research workers, professors and engineers of private companies have since July 1984 actively considered the foundation of a French Permafrost Association.
Indeed, there presently exists in France two committees particularly concerned with permafrost problems. Nevertheless, these two groups are not permanent and this is a difficulty for a future French permafrost representation. It is interesting to give an idea of the present French activities in the permafrost area of these two groups, namely:
The "G.I.S. Arctique", Scientific Interest Group of the C.N.R.S., which brings together C.N.R.S. research workers, university specialists and representatives from various institutes. In this group, about 15 establishments, working in fields ranging from cryo-mechanics and heat transfer to human cryobiology, are represented. Expeditions at the Spitsberg French Station, doctoral training, etc., have been encouraged and directed by this committee.
The "Club C.R.I.N. Arctique", coming out from the G.I.S. Arctique, promotes the relationship between research and industry. This is a group incited by the C.N.R.S. Committee of Industrial Relations and is made up of C.N.R.S. research workers, university professors and representatives of industries concerned with petroleum, ship construction and off-shore structures. Its broad objective is to help the technical industrial community to be prepared to deal with Arctic energy exploitation opportunities in the future.
Encouraged by the Ministry of Research, this group has prospected the industrial necessities and nineteen different research programs were outlined. This has led so far to the formation of one Arctic Style Engineering Group which has begun a certain number of activities in ice mechanics. It is expected that other research groups will be constituted to study problems such as freezing rocks and soil behaviour, influence of salinity and behaviour of materials at very low temperatures.
The present group has not had the best conditions to found the French Permafrost Association but it is planned that the Association should be functional very soon. Presently, the draft of the future French Permafrost Association Constitution has been submitted to a certain number of founder members, then the administrative steps necessary for the official creation will be engaged.
We remark that one of the future aims of the Association will be to invite other already existing committees, having a very broad field of interest, to join the particular permafrost actions in connection with the International Permafrost Association. We have in mind:
- The French Periglacial Commission which depends upon the French Committee of Geography
- The French INQUA Committee
- The French Quaternary Association
In conclusion, we are doing the best so that the French Permafrost Association will be fully established by the spring of 1988 and to belong to the International Permafrost Association at the date of the Trondheim International Conference.
Report by J. Aguirre-Puente and A.M. Cames-Pintaux.