Completion of the CD-ROM Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS) by the staff of the National Snow and Ice Data Center was a major activity during 1998. Members of a small international Working Group met for several weeks in Boulder during February and March to prepare the final documentation. The group included Julia Branson and Mike Clark (U.K.), Marina Leibman (Russia), Jerry Brown (U.S.) and from NSIDC, Chris Haggerty, Claire Hanson, Ann Brennan and Roger Barry. Following demonstration of the prototype CD at Yellowknife over 350 disks were mailed to the Conference attendees and contributors to the CD (see inside back cover for more details). The CD was presented at the 17th Polar Libraries Colloquy in Reykjavik, Iceland, in September.
Several new National Science Foundation Arctic programs began in 1998: Arctic Transitions in the Land–Atmosphere System (ATLAS) and the Russian–American Initiative on Shelf–Land Environments in the Arctic (RAISE). The first set of RAISE proposals is under review.
ATLAS is the next terrestrial phase (1998–2002) of the Arctic System Science (ARCSS) program and is focusing on north–central Alaska and ultimately on projects in northeast Russia (see Frozen Ground No. 19 for the ARCSS report). Included are permafrost thermal studies by V. Romanovsky, soil carbon studies by C.L. Ping, University of Alaska, and the CALM network by Ken Hinkel, University of Cincinnati. The new five-year CALM project provides support to the existing Russian sites (see Frozen Ground No. 21), the establishment of a Web site, and collation of all site data for transfer annually to the WDC-A in Boulder. As the first step in the new CALM project, F.E. Nelson met in Moscow in May with Russian investigators to discuss summer 1998 sampling and equipment. The CALM protocol was reviewed at a meeting in Yellowknife. Ron Paetzold and C.L. Ping instrumented a site for soil temperature and moisture at the Fenghuo Shan Station, Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau, in cooperation with Zhao Lin and the Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology.
NSF support of the U.S. International Tundra Experiment projects continues for sites at Barrow, Atqasuk and Toolik in Alaska and Niwot Ridge in Colorado, as well as permafrost–climate modeling (Nelson at University of Delaware) and data analysis (Barry at University of Colorado).
Of the 50 U.S. participants at the Yellowknife Conference, 14 (including 7 students) received partial support from an NSF travel grant to the American Geophysical Union.
The Ninth International Conference on Cold Regions Engineering was held in Duluth, Minnesota, 27–30 September 1998. The conference theme Cold Regions Impacts on Civil Works was addressed in 24 technical sessions, and there was an exhibition of engineering products and services developed for cold regions. The Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering (TCCRE) committees met to plan future activities. The State of the Practice Committee is in the final phases of preparation of a new monograph entitled Piles in Frozen Ground. The ASCE President-Elect Daniel
S. Turner reappointed R. G. Tart as the ASCE Liaison Representative to the USC/IPA, and requested he report IPA activities to the ASCE as they relate to civil engineering.
Special sessions on permafrost continue to be organized by Bernard Hallet at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In 1997 a session honoring A.L. Washburn resulted in 25 oral and poster abstracts and presentations. The 1998 session is being held to honor A.H. Lachenbruch and his contributions to permafrost and geothermal research; 59 reports are planned.
Syun Akasofu, Director of the newly established International Arctic Research Center (IARC), University of Alaska, reports that the Center's primary goal is to study Arctic climate change. Eight broad research subjects are identified as the framework:
- Detection of contemporary change,
- Paleoclimatic reconstruction of past changes,
- Interactions and feedback that affect change,
- Atmospheric chemistry of the Arctic region,
- Impacts and consequences of change,
- Space weather prediction,
- Tectonics in the Arctic, and
- Integration of 1-7 on a regional scale.
The first seven subjects will be studied by researchers from Japan, the US, and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) participating countries.
The program FROSTFIRE, a landscape-scale prescribed fire experiment, is underway north of Fairbanks, Alaska, in the Caribou–Poker Creeks Research Watersheds. A research project Improving Predictive Capability of Boreal Forest Response to Forest Fires seeks to determine the impacts and interrelated effects of fire on boreal ecosystems in a 2600-acre sub-watershed (C4). This diverse project includes studies related to fire science, nutrient dynamics, permafrost and vegetation response and recovery, climatic influence and feedbacks, and hydrology. The research will measure the carbon storage and flux in a boreal forest. This program is sponsored by the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, Kyoto, Japan. The principal investigators are Masami Fukuda of Hokkaido University and Larry Hinzman, University of Alaska Fairbanks. International participants include scientists from the Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, and the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada.
Gary Clow, U.S. Geological Survey, reports that he has established six new climate-monitoring stations in northern Alaska at Tunalike, Awuna, Umiat, Inigok, West Fish Creek, and Drew Point. These stations provide increased spatial coverage and are associated with the deep geothermal bore-hole sites reported on the CAPS CD-ROM.
To improve communication concerning scientific and technical aspects of permafrost, active layer and frozen ground studies, Tom Osterkamp, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, has established an electronic (e-mail), unmoderated and international discussion list. It is supported by the University of Alaska computer staff in Fairbanks. If you wish to become part of this discussion list (i.e. to subscribe to the list), send the following command (and only this command) in the body of an e-mail message:SUBSCRIBE PALS-L to: email@example.com.
The server (computer) should automatically send you a welcome and instruction message which will enable you to take part in discussions.
Compiled by Jerry Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) with contributions by Larry Hinzman (email@example.com) and Bucky Tart (firstname.lastname@example.org)