2006

In Alaska, the project named «2004 Forest Fire Impacts to Hydrological Cycles, Permafrost and Eco Systems in Central Alaska» started in 2005 was carried out in the summer of 2006 to monitor permafrost conditions after a severe wildfire (M. Fukuda, K. Harada, Y. Sawada and K. Narita). Observations were carried out at Poker Flat near Fairbanks in July and August, and at Kougarok near Nome in August. In 2006, water and thermal conditions in the active layer were investigated by electrical soundings and pit surveys. These data will be compared with those in 2005 and 2007, and will be used for the prediction of the impacts of wildfire on permafrost.

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.

The Hovsgol GEF/WB (Global Environment Facility/ World Bank) project was completed successfully after implementing its investigations during the last four and half years in the six valleys along the eastern shore of Lake Hovsgol.

ORGANISATION OF CRYOSPHERE SCIENCE IN NORWAY CRYONOR, the network of Cryosphere scientists at Norwegian universities, had its first annual workshop at the Finse Research station, Southern Norway in September 2005, with 16 persons attending a two-day meeting with field excursions and presentations on ongoing research.

The research project of the Committee for Scientific Research entitled: «Structure, Evolution and Dynamics of Lithosphere, Cryosphere and Biosphere in the European Sector in the Arctic and in the Antarctic» (PBZKBN- 108/P04 /2004) continued in 2006. This project is based on the interdisciplinary research, partly in connection with the IPY and coordinated by international collaboration. One of the main research topics is the response of continental cryosphere (glaciers and permafrost) to global climate change.

Activities of the Portuguese group during 2006 focused on (1) palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of permafrost environments, (2) permafrost of the Maritime Antarctic, (3) preparation of the International Polar Year.

During the past year, Romanian researchers have developed glacial, periglacial and permafrost research in the Romanian Carpathians. The Geography Department of the West University of Timisoara works on the Research Project financed by National Council for Superior Education Scientific Research (CNCSIS) entitled «Geographical risk phenomena in the alpine belt of the Southern Carpathians: use of GIS technique and the achievment of maps of risk phenomena» (Mircea Voiculescu).

In 2006, Russian research covered regional permafrost conditions, cryolithozone dynamics under natural and human impact, cryogenic processes and phenomena, permafrost mapping and zonation.

This report encompasses Spanish permafrost activities in 2005 and 2006. Spanish research on geomorphologic processes associated with frozen ground and snow is ongoing in several mountain regions of the Iberian Peninsula and in other parts of the world. A number of teams are monitoring ground temperature in the Pyrenees in order to detect permafrost.

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.