The research group on Antarctic permafrost at the Centre for Geographical Studies, University of Lisbon, (CEG-UL) continued in 2007 the activities in the South Shetlands (Antarctic Peninsula region) under the coordination of G. Vieira.
The collaboration within the project PERMAMODEL with the University of Alcalá de Henares (Spain) included fieldwork in Livingston and Deception islands with the maintenance and installation of CALM-S sites: Crater Lake in Deception Island and Reina Sofia Hill and Ramos Col in Livingston Island. Studies on coastal rock platform erosion by brash have started in both islands, with the installation of a series of transverse micro-erosion meter monitoring sites by M. Neves, who participated in this campaign. A. Trindade participated in the Bulgarian Antarctic Campaign in Livingston Island, and installed a CALM-S site in the vicinity of the Bulgarian station.
In the Antarctic season of 2007-08 the CEG-UL group is co-coordinating the project PERMADRILL/ PERMAMODEL, a collaboration with the Spanish and Bulgarian Programmes, including researchers from the universities of Lisbon, Évora, Alcalá de Henares, Zurich and Sofia. The objective is to drill two 25 m boreholes in permafrost in Livingston and Deception Islands to start long-term monitoring sites. This project is funded by the Spanish Polar Programme and by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
The collaboration with the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute is continuing in the season of 2007/08 with the project ShallowDrill. This is a partnership between the CEG-UL group and Hilti, which is providing drilling equipment for 5-7 m boreholes. In this framework a series of shallow boreholes will be drilled in bedrock in the vicinity of the Bulgarian Antarctic Station, for monitoring permafrost and active layer temperatures. A. Trindade will be participating in this campaign.
In the collaboration between the CEG-UL and the University of Buenos Aires (A. Caselli), R. Melo will be participating in the Argentinean campaign in January 2008 in Deception Island. She will be conducting detailed geomorphological mapping with to identify and survey permafrost degradation sites (i.e. thermokarst and debrisflow activity). The research is complimentary to the themes studied within the CEG-UL group, and intends to relate permafrost degradation in to climate change and volcanic activity in the island.
June 25-27 the 1st Iberian Conference of the IPA took place in Guarda, organised by the Centro de Estudios Geográficos of the Universidade de Lisboa and the Centro de Estudios Ibéricos and coordinated by G. Vieira. The general topic of the conference was ‘Periglacial environments and climatic variations: from mountains to high latitudes’ and the meeting welcomed more than 40 participants from Spain, Portugal and USA, and included lectures by J. Brown, R. Melo and A. Gomez- Ortíz. 19 communications and 15 posters were presented in the scientific sessions. Papers from the conference will be published in the Portuguese Geography journal Finisterra. The meeting is a continuation of the IPA-Spain series, which began in 1993. From now the meeting will be organised in collaboration between Spanish and Portuguese colleagues, and the next meeting, the Second Iberian Congress of IPA will be organized by Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (Spain) in June 2009.
The CEG-UL group has also been very active in the implementation of a national programme for polar research. A proposal has been submitted by the Portuguese IPY Committee to the Portuguese Science Foundation and is now under evaluation. In this proposal permafrost research plays a significant role, and has been taken as a priority by the Committee.
Portugal has been actively involved in the Permafrost Young Researchers Network with the participation of the national PYRN coordinator (R. Melo) in the Abisko meeting in February 2007. A. Trindade is the national representative in the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), and he attended the Stockholm meeting in September 2007.
Permafrost research has been also a major focus on IPY Education and Outreach activities. The CEG-UL group is co-coordinating (with the Centre of Marine Sciences - University of the Algarve and Association of Geography Teachers) the national IPY E&O project LATITUDE60! which links scientists to society during the IPY. The project is funded by the national agency Ciência Viva, and has been enthusiastically received by the public and more than 100 schools and 400 teachers have joined the project. The project is cross-cutting several disciplines and includes students from kindergarden to high school and university level. Several activities with a relationship to permafrost have been going on: 1) an exhibition that was in five major shopping centres in central and northern Portugal; 2) an educational DVD on permafrost research to be distributed freely to schools; 3) permafrost scientists go to schools for talks; 4) IPY launch event with a focus on permafrost; 5) daily blogs by permafrost scientists; 6) ask a scientist with the participation of permafrost scientists answering from the Antarctic; 7) videoconference event from the Antarctic with permafrost scientists. One of the main activities was the national contest ‘Discover the Polar Regions’ that had more than 8,000 students involved. Five high school students were selected from the contest and offered trips to the Antarctic within the international expedition Students-on-ice. The blog of the project LATITUDE60! can be visited at .
Gonçalo Vieira ([email protected])