Since 1989 several high-mountain areas in southern Norway have been investigated by the University of Oslo to map permafrost distribution using BTS, DC resistivity sounding, and sledge hammer seismic technique. A map of permafrost in southern Norway was recently presented based on this type of investigation. A new grid-based temperature map of mean annual air temperature by the Department of Norwegian Meteorological Institute (DNMI) and GIS analysis opens the possibility of mapping the southern limits of discontinuous permafrost over vast areas. Sporadic permafrost in connection with palsas and snow patches is excluded. The approach is well suited for interpretations on a regional scale to study past and future climate through change in permafrost distribution. A special study of frozen ground processes is being performed at Finse.
Rock glaciers on Svalbard have been studied for several years. In the vicinity of Ny Ålesund, a velocity measurement program was launched in 1985. In collaboration with ETH-Zurich (W. Haeberli), rock glaciers in this area were investigated by geophysical methods, including refraction seismic, geoelectric and gravimetric surveys. In the Longyearbyen area rock glaciers are examined, in collaboration with UNIS, with a view to morphology, velocity and internal structure. Permafrost problems associated with the runway at Svalbard airport have been studied since 1994, including changes in the surface elevation. The runway was constructed in 1976 without adequate attention being paid to the effect of the permafrost.
A program to study rock glaciers on Prins Karls Forland in western Svalbard was established in 1995. On the northwestern part of the island, rock glaciers build a 10-kilometer-long continuous transition between the rockwall and the strand-flat area. Results of the flow pattern, internal structure and morphology of some of these rock glaciers are analyzed based on geodetic surveys, DC resistivity soundings, and high-resolution digital modeling. These results will be used in a numerical model to estimate build-up time of the rock glaciers. This might contribute to better understanding of the paleoclimate in the area and the size of the Weichselian ice sheet.
Submitted by Johan Ludvig Sollid (firstname.lastname@example.org)