The Polar Research Secretariat, SWEDARCTIC 2007 and SWEDARCTIC 2008 organised in September 2006 a planning and coordination meeting regarding subarctic research during IPY, with 23 participants.
More than 20 research projects with planned activities in northern Sweden during IPY were presented and discussed. Various coordination issues were discussed. It was agreed that there is a need for both formal and informal coordination and that an institution like the Polar Research Secretariat potentially could facilitate such coordination.
The 13th scientific conference of the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA) entitled «New Challenges in Management of Boreal Forests» was held in Umeå, Sweden, August 28-30. One of the topics of this conference was «Peatlands and Permafrost» <www.sfak.slu. se/ShowPage.cfm?OrgenhetSida_ID=4763>.
At Stockholm University, within the PhD project «Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of Subarctic Peat Plateau / Thermokarst Lake Complexes» (Britta Sannel, Peter Kuhry), a monitoring station which collects climate and ground data in a peat plateau / thermokarst lake complex in Taavavuoma, northern Sweden, has now been operating for a full year. The monitoring station consists of a meteorological station measuring air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed and wind direction and eight cables with altogether 50 thermistors measuring the ground temperature down to 2-m deep in different parts of the peat bog. A stationary digital camera that registers one image a day is overlooking eight stakes for snow depth measurements as well as the thermokarst erosion bank.
At Uppsala University, Hanna Ridefelt, Jan Boelhouwers, Christer Jonasson and Johannes Förster are collaborating to investigate the permafrost distribution in the Abisko region, northern Sweden. BTS field campaigns have been undertaken during March 2005 and 2006. Statistical analyses are under way to define the correlation of BTS-values to topographic parameters (altitude and slope) and to vegetation and aspect. Preliminary results indicate no dramatic thaw of mountain permafrost during the last decades, as reported from investigations in the peat permafrost in the Abisko area. This BTS-project will be part of a national mountain permafrost project, submitted for funding by Per Holmlund at Stockholm University. In the same region a study on the spatial variability of solifluction processes is also being undertaken (H. Ridefelt and J. Boelhouwers). It makes a first attempt to evaluate the spatial distribution and variability of solifluction processes and associated landforms from the micro- to the regional level (landscape) and to provide a better quantitative understanding of associated environmental parameters.
The GeoBiosphere Science Centre of the Lund University continued and expanded its activities in the Abisko area. The «Nordic Centre for Studies of Ecosystem Carbon Exchange and its Interaction with the Climate System » (NECC, <www.necc.nu>) has two monitoring sites in the Abisko / Stordalen area. The CARBOMONT project «Effects of land-use changes on sources, sinks and fluxes of carbon in European mountain areas» and the ELSA project «Exchange processes between the land surface and the atmosphere» have intensive and important field activities in the Abisko area, especially in and around the Stordalen bog, with a special emphasis on the status and dynamics of the active layer and the permafrost in the bogs.
The Abisko area active layer transect is maintained in co-operation with the Abisko Research Station. Jonas Åkerman and Margaretha Johansson continue maintaining 10 of the originally 12 CALM sites along the 100 kmlong E-W transect. Two sites have been abandoned as all permafrost has disappeared. The active layer sites have now been monitored since 1978 and annual basic data is presented within the CALM reporting system.
Torbjörn Johansson successful finalised in September 2006 his PhD dissertation «Temporal and spatial variability of carbon cycling in a subarctic landscape». This project constitutes a continuation with measurements of the active layer dynamics of the Stordalen mire and with an intensified and expanded greenhouse gas exchange monitoring programme.
M. Johansson is continuing her PhD project «Permafrost dynamics and its implications for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning» (supervisors: Torben R. Christensen, J. Åkerman). This project is jointly financed by the Abisko Research Station and Lund University. Installations of snow cover manipulation plots, snow cover depth, soil temperature measurements, a daily camera survey and a complete microclimatic station are operating next to one of the CALM grids. The snow manipulation experiment at Storflaket has been running for a year and already after one year we could detect a difference between the six plots with snow fences and the six without. At the plots without snow fences the AL was slightly shallower than last year, in contrast at the plots with snow fences AL was either at the same depth as last year or deeper. Soil temperature records were collected from all 12 plots. The snow fences are now reinstalled for yet another season.
J. Åkerman and Sarika Mittra are investigating and modeling the permafrost distribution and recent development in the Abisko region using remote sensing and as «base line» data the geomorphological mapping from the 1970’s and the input data for the IPA Permafrost Map (1997).
At the University of Karlstad, Dep. of Earth Sciences, Rolf Nyberg is maintaining a few small projects in the Abisko area: The dynamics of the Kårsa glacier; Permafrost and slope processes in the Pallenvagge and Nissunvagge valleys; The assessment of the importance of extreme erosional events as geomorphological hazards and as climatic indicators in the Abisko area.
Jonas Åkerman (Jonas.Akerman@nateko.lu.se)