The Annual Meeting of the Scientific Council on Earth Cryology was held 25-28 April 1994, in Pushchino, Moscow Region at the Institute of Soil Science and Photosynthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Twenty-six papers were discussed at the Plenary Session. The main subject of the meeting was Global Climate Warming and Permafrost. 
Nine sessions of contributed papers (67 papers) dealt with permafrost age and evolution (northern part of European Russia, Transbaikal area, high mountainous regions of the Earth); stability and protection of permafrost; prediction of air  temperatures by the different climate scenarios; remote sensing to observe the dynamics of the permafrost and northern ecosystems; trace gases and carbon in soils; thermokarst lakes in tundra; and construction problems related to gas, oil and mining developments. Other papers were devoted to the problem of geothermal stability in Siberia; to the technogenic impact on permafrost, to the geomorphological processes in permafrost such as thermokarst and slope failure; the development of sea and lake shorelines; frost heaving processes; methods of assessment of ice content and stability of the frozen soil, the depth of the active layer; geophysical control of the structure and composition of the frozen soil; and seasonal thaw and freezing of the ground.

A meeting resolution was passed which approved the activities of the Council and proposed the main research problem areas:

  • Evolution of the cryolithozone
  • Monitoring of the cryolithozone
  • Study and prediction of global changes in the environment, climate, and cryolithozone
  • The ecology and recommendations for rational land management on permafrost
  • Fundamental and applied research in the processes of soil thawing and freezing
  • Elaboration of the theory of stability in the thawing and freezing of soil associated with the anticipated climate warming

It was recommended that the Scientific Council on Earth Cryology organize a Russian conference in 1995 and invite scientists and specialists from abroad. The subject of the conference was: "Evolutionary Geocryological Processes in the Arctic Regions and Problems of Global Changes of the Environment and Climate in Permafrost Areas."
IPA should be asked to assist in involving the scientists and specialists to participate and present papers on the above-mentioned problems.
Several of the activities discussed above are conducted under Program 18 "Environment and Global Climate Change" and its permafrost component which includes:

  • The assessment or estimate of the influence of climate change on the cryolithozone
  • The monitoring of the cryolithozone
  • Methods and measures to protect construction and the environment in the North.

Numerous institutes, universities and private contractors are involved, including those of the Russian Academy of Sciences and its Permafrost Institute, the Institute of Northern Development, the Institute of Geography and the Institute of Soils and Photosynthesis at Moscow State University and the Faculties of Geography and Geology, VSEGINGEO, and PNIIIS. The program is financed by the Ministry of Science under the direction of Yuri Israel and Academician George Golitsin. The permafrost program is directed by Academician P.I. Melnikov and the Scientific Council on Earth Cryology.
Experimental sites for monitoring changes in air and ground temperatures were established in northern West Siberia and two sites were established in Yakutia in cooperation with Japanese, Canadian and US specialists. Based on measurements from experimental sites, engineering methods to protect construction are being developed including use of thermopiles, thermosyphons, insulations, and special foundations using horizontal cooling of frozen basements.

Submitted by Nikolai A. Grave

Stanislav Grechishchev, VSEGINGEO, reported on investigations during 1993 as follows.

  • The results of 15-year studies of geocryologyclimatic conditions at the stations Marre-Sale (Yamal) and Parisento (Gydan) were analyzed.
  • Rates of shoreline movement along the Kara Sea were observed.
  • The ice-thermal regime of lakes for eight years was analyzed.
  • The estimation of possible changes of ground temperature was undertaken forthe Global Change Program.
  • The mathematical model "Shlier" of physicochemical and mechanical processes in freezing thawing water-saturated soils was produced.
  • The temperature depression at the freezing front versus the freezing velocity was studied.
  • Methods of echo-geological surveying and monitoring in ore fields in permafrost areas were developed.
  • New publication-Investigations of Engineering-Geocryological and Hydrogeological Conditions of the upper Horizons of Permafrost Ground in Oil-Gas Regions (E.S. Melnikov, S.E. Grechishchev, A.V. Pavlov, Ed). 280 pp.