Report from June 1995
Several U.S. membership and prokssional organizations continue their activities related to both seasonally and perennially frozen ground. These include the American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Association of American Geographers (AAG), and several boards and committees of the National Research Council. Permafrost research projects and monitoring are also active under several governmental programs. Brief reports follow.
The AGU continues to provide support for the IPA Secretariat and to promote permafrost interests both nationally and internationally. The Snow, Ice and Permafrost Committee meets regularly at the annual Fall meetings. As was the case in 1994, a special session on frozen ground is planned for the 1995 meeting in San Francisco. The topics are related to:
Continuing advances in understanding physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in areas of permafrost and seasonal frost, combined with increasing interest in the role of permahost in diverse practical problems ranging from Arctic contamination to global change, provide the impetus for this general session on frozen ground processes.
It is anticipated that some participants in the IPA Frozen Ground Workshop to be held at CRREL on 9-1 1 December (see inside back cover) will continue on to the San Francisco meetings and present additional reports.
The ASCE's Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering (TCCRE) continues to be active in all aspects of cold regions research and engineering. In addition to the work of the Frozen Ground Committee, the Design and Construction Committee is developing monographs on Roadways and Airfields, Arctic Foundations, and Cold Climate Utilities. TCCRE co-sponsored the 7th International Conference on Cold Regions Engineering in March 1994 with the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering in Edmonton, Alberta. An informative 869-page proceedings (with 20 permafrost and frozen ground papers) is available from Dan Smith, University of Alberta (403 492 4138). The Eighth International Conference is being held in Fairbanks, Alaska, on 12-17 August 1996, with a focus on infrastructure and including a mini-symposium on the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline. TCCRE is also sponsoring the International Symposium on Cold Regions Development (ISCORD 1997) in Anchorage on 16- 19 June 1997. ISCORD promotes the exchange of information and experience related to the
development of cold regions of the world. ASCE's quarterly Journal of Cold Regions Engineering has a new editor, Professor John Dempsey, Clarkson University. The journal continues to seek quality papers on all aspects of cold regions engineering and research. For information on TCCRE contact Jon E. Zufelt, CRREL (fax: 603 646 4477).
The AAG, under the leadership of Jesse Walker, Louisiana State University, has taken another step closer to forming
a Cryosphere Specialty Group. The group's interests would include snow, ice (glacier, lake, sea), permafrost, periglacial
processes, and cryosols, among other topics and disciplines in all cold regions of the Earth. It would organize special sessions at the annual meetings and other activities. In order to form such a group 100 interested AAG members are required and a petition is being circulated among members within and outside the U.S. to demonstrate support for
The NRC Transportation Research Board's Committee A2L04 on Frost Action met on 22 January 1995 in Washington, DC. Among the technical topics discussed were presentations on centrifuge modeling for frost effects, recent results from the Minnesota road test sections (MNIRoads), the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) monitoring program, the CRREL Frost Effects Research Facility (FERF), and open grade embankments in Alaska. The committee reviewed its research needs statements; more information can be obtained from the committee's new chairperson, Billy Connors of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, 2301 Peger Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709-5316.
Several research, monitoring and planning activities related to permafrost are underway in the U.S. The National Science Foundation funds permafrost and periglacial research in both the Antarctic and Arctic. The Arctic System Science (ARCSS) program has a number of projects in Alaska at which ground temperatures and active layer thickness are monitored. The ITEX-IPA protocol for active layer measurements is being conducted on six 1000-meter grid sites in 1995. The U.S. Geological Survey (Clow, Lachenbruch) and CRREL (Lunardini) continue to monitor permafrost temperatures at sites in northern and central Alaska. The University ofAlaska in Fairbanks has several groups at the Geophysical Institute (Osterkamp) and the Water Research Center (Kane and Hinzman) that continue their long-term measurements of permafrost and the active layer, respectively.
The National Science Foundation sponsored a small international workshop at the Byrd Polar Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, in January 1995 to define research priorities for the Russian Arctic land-shelf systems. Both subsea and onshore permafrost were identified as major topics of interest in understanding past, present and future processes. The 40 participants included invitees from Russia, Latvia, Norway, Germany, and Canada. More information will be provided as the research opportunities are identified.
Submitted by Jerry Brown
Report from December 1995
The U.S. National Research Council has appointed Bernard Hallet as Chair of the U.S. Committee for the International Permafrost Association (USC/IPA) for the period July 1995 through July 2000. He replaces Bill Lovell who served in this position for the previous five years. Hallet, formerly Vice Chair of the USC/IPA, is the Director, Periglacial Laboratory of the Quaternary Research Center at the University of Washington, a position formerly held by QRC founder Linc Washburn. The USC/IPA is a subunit of the U.S. National Committee on Geology (USNC/Geology), which in turn is under the Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resources. Other new members of the USC/IPA are in the process of being appointed.
Jon Zufelt, CRREL, reports that the ASCE Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering (TCCRE) met in San Diego on 21-22 October 1995. Some highlights from those meetings follow. TCCRE's Frozen Ground Committee continues its efforts in the technology transfer arena. The committee has developed two short courses which will be offered at the ASCE's 8th International Cold Regions Engineering Specialty Conference in Fairbanks on 12-17 August 1996. The first is "Computer-Aided Analysis of Frost Heave Using the CRREL FROST Program." The second course is on thermosyphon design. In other news, the committee is developing sessions on Anti-Icing Technology for Roads. The sessions are planned for the ASCE National Convention, to be held in Minneapolis in the fall of 1997. The committee has finalized contributions to the ASCE Monograph "Roadways and Airfields in Cold Regions." The existing Monograph, "Thermal Design Considerations," is currently being reviewed and updated. Jim McDougall of North of 60 Engineering, Ltd. in Calgary, Canada, was named as the new committee chair.
Jesse Walker reports that the April 1996 annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Charlotte, North Carolina, will have four sessions related to the cryosphere: 1) snow cover, 2) active layer, 3) glaciers and permafrost,
and 4) periglacial. The proposed AAG Cryosphere Specialty Group is likely to be formed in 1996.
Ron Paetzold of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Lincoln, Nebraska, reports on several soil climate projects in the northern United States. The Soil Moisture/Soil Temperature Pilot Project (SMIST) is a feasibility study for the establishment of a network of soil climate data collection stations to monitor temperature and moisture to depths of 2 meters. A second project is the Wisconsin Dense Till project (WDT), which consists of 28 instrumented sites in northern and central Wisconsin for monitoring soil moisture and temperature. A report by the NRCS Soil Climate Team entitled "Distribution of Soil Climate Stations for the United States" provides an inventory of reporting stations and data. This report is available from NRCS, Federal Building, Room 152, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508-3866.
Submitted by Jerry Brown