Geothermal research on permafrost and seasonally frozen rocks continued at fixed control points in the Zailiyskiy Alatau Mountains (Northern Tien Shan) and on the foothill plain. During the second 10 days of July 2006, hot and dry weather led to more severe permafrost thawing than the average perennial behaviour.
According to the Hydrometeorological Service data, the zero average daily air temperature rose up to 5000 m asl in the second decade of August, leading to high glacier ablation, a severe glacier degradation, high discharge in the river basins. On moraines and debris-covered glaciers, newly formed lakes caused intense thermokarst erosion. Moreover, cryogenic landslides and rapid solifluction were widespread.
Edward Severskiy took part in the international archeological expedition in the framework of the UNESCO project «Frozen Tombs of the Altai Mountains: strategy and prospects» by invitation of the Bureau of UNESCO in Almaty (cf. Belgium country report). Geocryological researches were carried out in the upper part of the Karakaba River, the Katonkaragai district of the East Kazakhstan region (49°05´N; 86°00´-86°10´E; 1650- 1900 m asl). The fieldwork area is in a sub-zone of island permafrost; permafrost patches are widespread in the mosslarch forests on the northern slopes and on the flat bottom of the wide Karakaba depression. Temperature inversions are well marked there during the colder months. Geothermal research is carried out on and adjacent to stone tombs (kurgans) located on a sandy terrace composed of weakly-cemented loam up to a depth of 0.6 m. In that location, seasonal thawed layer has been measured to be 3.7 m on July 24-29, the estimated position of the top of permafrost. Under the tombs, active layer thickness decreases because of the cooling influence of the porous stone fill, and the top of permafrost is higher. Therefore, it was established that: the thicker the stone fill, the closer to the surface is the top of permafrost. So, under a 0.9-1.0 m high tomb, permafrost lies at a depth of 2.7 m, i.e. 1 m closer to the ground surface than in the surrounding area.
Geocryological research was also carried out in the Karkaraly Mountains (49°20´N; 75°30´E) in the Karaganda region. The Karkaraly Mountains lie at 800- 1400 m asl. The mean annual air temperature in the foothills is 1.4 °C; the MAAT 0º C isotherm lies at 1000- 1100 m asl. Information reported by workers of the Karkaraly National Natural Park in August 1997 about permafrost thickness in pine forests has not proved accurate. Fieldwork carried out in August 2006 concluded that there is a possibility to develop seasonally frozen ground (pereletok) only in favourable years.
A Regional Workshop on «Assessment of Snow-Glacier and Water Resources in Asia» was held in Almaty, November, 28-30, 2006. It was organized by the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), Man and the Biosphere (MAB), the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty, The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), the European Commission, and the Institute of Geography, Republic of Kazakhstan, in close cooperation with the Beijing, Jakarta, Moscow, New-Delhi, and Tashkent UNESCO Offices.