The Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) has continued the research project ‘Arctic oil spills on Russian permafrost soils’ which is a co-operation project between NGI, Moscow State University and the Earth Cryosphere Institute.
Fieldwork with experimental oil spills is carried out at Cape Balvanskij, Nenets, Northwest Russia, where the Earth Cryosphere Institute started investigations of permafrost in 1983. Laboratory tests are performed at Moscow State University and at the Earth Cryosphere Institute. NGI also runs another research programme entitled ‘Permafrost response to industrial and environmental loads’. The programme was initiated in 1999 and will continue until 2003. This year’s work was focused on fieldwork in Longyearbyen and Svea, Svalbard, and on laboratory work in Oslo (www.ngi.no/SIP/SIP7/ index.htm).
The University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS), Department of Arctic Technology (www.unis.no) runs eight courses on undergraduate and graduate level. The programme offered at UNIS is unique as the courses have the advantage of being given in an Arctic environment where technology has been applied for decades. Investigations on geomorphic activity, bedrock weathering rates and rock glacier dynamics are continued by Ole Humlum (UNIS), Department of Geology. Research on bedrock weathering in cold climate has been initiated by Angelique Prick (Belgium). Humlum has continued measurements of precipitation and temperature (air, ground surface and within the active layer). Two meteorological stations are established, one of these at the PACE borehole on Janssonhaugen. A precipitation sampling scheme (initiated in 1999) has been continued. In addition, three automatic cameras are providing daily visual information on geomorphic phenomena. A CALM site was established in 2000 was by Mette Oht (UNIS). A new CALM site has been established near Ny Ålesund (79ºN) by Ole Humlum in 2001. Investigations on icewedge development, dynamics and oxygen isotope stratigraphy in Adventdalen was continued by Jon W. Jeppesen (UNIS). In the Operafjellet area, a short distance north of Adventdalen, investigations on the evolution of an ice-cored glacier was continued by Sisse Korsgaard (UNIS).
In 1996 the Norwegian coal mining company, Store Norske, asked permafrost scientists on Svalbard if it was possible to construct and operate a road on the Höganäs glacier, for access to a new mine. The glacier is located outside the mining community Svea. No literature or documented experiences on similar projects existed, and a feasibility study was initiated early in 1997, focussing on issues related to glaciology and road construction methodology on sensitive frozen terrain. Field investigations and road design went on until construction started in 1999, and the 3-km long road was ready and in operation from early 2000. The road is placed on pure glacier ice on the central moraine ridge of the Höganäs glacier. Substantial glacier ablation cause an increasing height difference beslopes become unstable. Since construction, road modifications have been made to cope with drainage and erosion problems. Smaller channels are seasonally active and runoff usually is high because there is no infiltration. It is impossible to place culverts to convey the surface runoff across the embankment and seepage through the fill is inevitable. The costs of operation and maintenance are relatively high, especially for erosion control. The annual road maintenance cost is well within the limit for a profitable coal mining operation at 78ºN. The Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo (www.geografi.uio.no), arranged a two-week field course for doctoral students on permafrost mapping in Jotunheimen and on Dovrefjell, southern Norway, in August. The Nordic Council (NorFA) financed course was conducted by J. L. Sollid and B. Etzelmüller. Teachers and students from all Nordic countries participated. The department has established a field station at Hjerkinn, Dovrefjell, in southern Norway, for permafrost studies. In October J. L. Sollid and K. Isaksen, in co-operation with the Norwegian Geological Survey (NGU), drilled 11 boreholes, 9 m deep. All boreholes are instrumented with temperature dataloggers. A CALM site will be established there as well. Permafrost mapping (BTS measurments, DC resistivity soundings, seismic surveys) was carried out in eastern parts of southern Norway (E. Heggem). On Svalbard, T. Eiken and K. Isaksen continued studies of rock glaciers in the Nordenskiöldland area, and K. Isaksen collected borehole temperature data from the Janssonhaugen PACE borehole.
Kaare Flaate (firstname.lastname@example.org)