International Permafrost Association Country Reports
In Austria permafrost research continues to focus on the dynamics and selected characteristics of active rock glaciers. Viktor Kaufmann (Graz University of Technology) has recently established geodetic/photogrammetric monitoring of velocity and vertical changes of rock glacier surfaces by different methodological approaches at three sites in the Hohe Tauern Range (Central Alps). Especially in the case of the Doesen rock glacier (which was presented at the 7 th International Conference on Permafrost in Yellowknife) a lot of quantitative information is now available providing data for discussion of rheology kinematics in connection with the IPA Task
Force on rock glacier dynamics.
Karl Krainer (University of Innsbruck) has started several activities in the Hohe Tauern range as well as in the Tyrolean Alps. His working group emphasizes sedimentological and hydrological investigations (water and ground temperature, discharge, hydrochemical characteristics and tracing experiments in order to understand runoff systems). Furthermore, surface velocity measurements using GPS techniques are carried out in some of the study areas.
Gerhard Karl Lieb (email@example.com)
Following an offer made by Don Hayley (Chair, CNC/ IPA) to the IPA Council at the time of the VII-ICOP (Yellowknife), the Organizing Committee prepared a Post- Conference Report. The purpose of the report was to document, for future organizing committees, the notification procedures, scheduling deadlines, paper submission and review procedures, the conference format, and the relevant associated conference administrative and financial details. This report (20 copies) was submitted to the IPA Executive Committee in July 1999.
At Disko Island, central W Greenland, research on rock glacier dynamics and surface climate is being continued by Ole Humlum, University of Copenhagen and the University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS). DGPS surveying of three active rock glaciers was carried out this year.
Surface climate investigations were extended, using various types of miniature dataloggers to measure surface and active layer temperatures. Automatic measurements of precipitation close to the rock glacier initiation line have been initiated. The timing of surface movements is experimentally recorded by means of vibrationsensitivedataloggers. Sampling of ice from rock glaciers, for isotopic analysis, has been continued and extended.
A Symposium on Changes in Permafrost and Periglacial Environment at Kevo, northernmost Finland took place 20-24 August 1999. It was organised by Matti Seppälä and Martti Eerola of the National Committee of Permafrost Research and Technics in Finland. There were 23 participants from 8 different countries. The paper and poster sessions had 15 presentations of both scientific and technical aspects of permafrost.
Thawing and formation of new permafrost was demonstrated to have taken place recently. Daily excursions were run in Finnish Lapland and northern Norway. No separate proceedings will be published, but the papers will be submitted to different journals.
Mattï Seppälä (firstname.lastname@example.org)
H. L. Jessberger (Ruhr University, Bochum) with a team of geotechnical engineers, continues to apply artificial ground freezing for tunnelling in Germany and abroad. This technology has been used for the subway line U5 in downtown Berlin, where the subsoil is dominated by Holocene sand with a high water table. Freeze pipesplaced in microtunnels, produce a frozen soil ring at least 2 m thick. For high capacity railroad tunnels and road tunnels of 3.5 to 6.5 km length in the Netherlands, artificial ground freezing was used for the construction of traverse galleries between the two parallel main tunnel tubes. The traverse galleries of up to 26 per tunnel are constructed in very difficult subsoil conditions (fine to medium sand or very soft organic clays with high water content and with about 400 kN water pressure). The relevant tunnels cross the Rotterdam Harbour (Botlek railroad tunnel), the Westerschelde (Westerschelde Tunnel at Vlissingen) and the Groene Hardt. In Boston (USA), Rome and Naples (Italy) several major ground freezing applications are in design state. Permafrost aggradation and degradation during the last 200 000 years was simulated numerically for two sections across Northern Germany (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, Hannover) as part of a multinational EU-project. Calculations are based on a detailed climate curve for this time period provided by Jeff Boulton, University of Edinburgh and on detailed knowledge of the geological subsurface conditions. Calculations suggest up to eight periods of permafrost development with maximum permafrost thickness varying between 40 - 150m The roles of rivers and lakes in preventing permafrost development, talik-formation was included in this modelling effort. Special attention was paid to likely permafrost degradation scenarios in front of the Scandinavian ice shield at the time of its maximum advance into Northern Germany during the Weichselian stage.
During 1999 the following activities were performed by the IPA Italian Adhering Body. In the EU PACE project:
- Monitoring of the thermal regime of the bedrock down to 100 m depth in the Stelvio Pass borehole (ItalianAlps; 3,000 m asl.) and of the active layer at La Foppa rock glacier;
- Chemical, physical and crystallographic analyses of the ground ice collected from the Foscagno rock glacier borehole;
- Development of a new spatial model of alpine permafrost distribution, based on DTM and climatic para- meters (air temperature and snow cover);
- Analysis of the relationships between vegetational ecosystems and permafrost occurrence.
In 1999 a new three-year research project ‘Permafrost and Climate Change in Antarctica’ (PCCA) (F. Dramis) has been approved within the PRNA (National Research Project on Antarctica). The main topics are:
-Analysis and monitoring of the surface energy balance and the active layer thermal regime in different environmental conditions with particular reference to vegetational ecosystems and gas flux changes;
- Reconstruction of palaeoclimatic conditions from the analysis of ground ice occurring in deglaciated areas.
In this framework, international cooperation programmes have been started with the Antarctic Institute of Argentina (Jorge Strelin) and the University of Ottawa (Hugh French); cooperation agreements are in progress with research institutions of the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Investigations on present-day and Quaternary periglacial landforms and processes are in progress in
the Alps and the Apennines.
Francesco Dramis (email@example.com)
Mauro Guglielmin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Kazakstan Alpine Permafrost Laboratory took part in the International Archaeological expedition in the Altai Mountains (Buchtarma Valley). It investigated permafrost in burial mounds and permafrost in natural conditions. The low limit of the sporadic permafrost belt at approximately 1100 m asl. (49º20’N and 86º22’E) ha been determined.
The laboratory carried out monitoring of the thermal regime of alpine permafrost, of seasonally frozen ground and dynamics of solifluction processes, kurums and the Gorodetsky rock glacier in the Northern Tien Shan. A manuscript about fossil debris flows near Almaty was prepared for publication.
The cooperation programme of permafrost investigation between Mongolia and Kazakstan will be initiated in 1999, and continue until 2001. During 1998-1999 about 20 articles on topics of cryogenic processes have been published. Modelling of alpine permafrost distribution in connection with climate change continues in the Tien Shan Mountains.
A.P. Gorbunov (email@example.com)
Detailed permafrost maps of Mongolia at the scale of 1:1 500000, and of the Selenge River Basin at the scale of 1: 500000 will be compiled by N. Sharkhuu in a new scientific project on Mongolian permafrost, running from 1999 to 2001. Likewise a map of seasonal freezing and thawing at the scale of 1:1 500 000 will be prepared by D. Tumurbaatar. The compilation of these maps will be carried out on the basis of analyses of data on Mongolian permafrost investigations obtained during the last 20 years. The maps will show distribution, thickness, temperature, ice content and composition of permafrost, cryogenic processes and phenomena and depths of seasonal freezing and thawing of ground. Legends for the maps will be prepared in both Mongolian and English.
Monitoring of permafrost temperature (for GTNet-P) and active layer (for CALM) at several sites of the Khentei and Khubsugul mountain regions, Mongolia, have been conducted by N. Sharkhuu since 1996. At these sites ground temperatures in boreholes were measured 10-25 years ago. In 1999 N. Sharkhuu installed frost tubes in two holes to a depth of 2.5 and 2.0 m for CALM at sites of the Terkh and Chuluut valleys in the Khangai mountain region. Besides, at the Argalant site of the Khentei mountain region, he drilled a borehole to a depth of 12 m and equipped it with a thermistor cable and a frost tube. At present, there are 10 active boreholes for CALM and GTNet-P in Mongolia. These are: Baganuur (15 m and 21 m deep), Nalaikh (5 m and 50 m deep), and Argalant (12 m deep) all in the Khentei mountain region, Burenkhan (50 m deep) and Ardag (15 m and 25 m deep) in the Khubsugul mountain region, and Terkh and Chuluut surface boreholes in the Khangai mountain region. Next year it is planned to install soil temperature dataloggers in some of the boreholes for CALM.
Members of the New Zealand group are currently undertaking a number of research projects in the Ross Sea sector of Antarctica. There is little active periglacial/permafrost research currently being undertaken in New Zealand itself although a number of relevant projects have recently been completed. In Antarctica Warren Dickinson (Victoria University of Wellington) has an ongoing programme of drilling permafrost in the Dry Valleys area using ground ice to improve our understanding of paleoclimate and landscape history.
Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo (http://www.geografi.uio.no/) continues its activities continues its activities within the EU-PACE project. The first deep PACE borehole (102 m) was drilled in May 1998 at Janssonhaugen (78°12' N, 16°28' E at 250 m asl.) on Svalbard. The first year of data collection from Janssonhaugen shows seasonally temperature variations down to a depth of 18.0 m, equivalent to the depth of zero annual amplitude. The depth of the active layer in the first summer was 1.55 m, with a maximum depth on 4 September. At both 0.2 m and 0.8 m there are high-frequency variations throughout the entire year. Below the permafrost table, high-frequency temperature variations diminish rapidly, as revealed from theory, and closely follow a sinusoidal curve at 5.0 m depth. The permafrost thickness is estimated to be approximately 220 m. Analyses reveals an increasing temperature gradient with depth. Using a heat conduction inversion model a palaeoclimatic reconstruction shows a warming of the surface temperature over the last 60-80 years. The temperature profile represents a regional signal on Svalbard, which shows an inflection associated with near surface warming of 1 ° to 2 °C in the last century.
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