Investigations based at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) in Longyearbyen (78N), covering a range of geomorphic activities initiated in 1999 continued throughout 2003. Several of the activities are described in greater detail on the UNIS homepage (www.unis.no; see Department of Geology).

During 2003 studies of geoecosystems were carried out throughout the year at the permanent polar stations of the Polish Academy of Sciences, i.e. the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund (Spitsbergen, Svalbard) and the Polish H. Arctowski Station on King George Island (South Shetlands, Western Antarctic). During the summer the university stations situated on the west coast of Spitsbergen were operated.

Research on periglacial processes by G. Vieira (CEG– University of Lisbon) continues in the Serra da Estrela, Central Portugal. The installation of a meteorological station at the top of the mountain with monitoring of ground temperatures, radiation and energy fluxes is under preparation.

Field investigations were conducted over the Russian permafrost territory including the Northeast, Yakutia, northern West Siberia, Zabaikalye, Sakhalin, Primorye and the European North. They mostly involved surveys for large investment projects related to pipeline construction and mining operations.

The VI Meeting of the IPA-Spain group took place from June 25–27, 2003, in La Granja de San Idelfonso (Segovia, Spain) at the base of the northern foothills of Peñalara Massif (Guadarrama Mountains of Spain’s Central Range). Members of the Department of Geodynamics at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Department of Geological Engineering at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha organised the meeting.

Research activities included those at the Abisko Research Station, CALM–related observations, and other university projects dealing with permafrost and periglacial environments in the alpine, Arctic and Antarctica.

The EVENT in 2003 was the preparation for the 8th International Conference on Permafrost in July. The main work load was carried out by the University of Zurich, the ETH Zurich and the SLF Davos, but all other Swiss institutes working on permafrost contributed as well.

The Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (Han Dolman), in collaboration with the Institute for Biological Problems of Cryolithozone of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Yakutsk, is performing studies on the carbon and water exchange of larch and tundra ecosystems on permafrost. Measurements are taken by means of micrometeorological techniques above a larch forest in Yakutsk and a tundra site in the Far North near Chokurdakh. The aim is to estimate the annual exchange rates and determine the sensitivity to environmental factors.

Jef Vandenberghe (jef.vandenberghe@falw.vu.nl)

A conference entitled Cryospheric Systems: Glaciers and Permafrost was organised by the British Geomorphological Research Group and the Quaternary Research Association at Burlington House, the headquarters of the Geological Society of London, on January 13–14, 2003. The convenors were Charles Harris and Julian Murton.

Two oral sessions and one poster session on permafrost were presented at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco the week of December 8, 2003. The U.S. Permafrost Association held its annual meeting at the AGU. Results of this year’s election are posted on the Association’s web site (www.uspermafrost. org).