A. L. Ahumada, G. Ibánez Palacios and S. Verónica Páez of the Institute of Quaternary Geology (Miguel Lillo Foundation, San Miguel de Tucumán) pursued their exploration and research of the cryogenic environment of Sierra de Aconquija with a special emphasis on fields of thufurs at 4200 m a.s.l. The same working group was the fi rst to document talus rock glaciers of glacigenic origin for Cumbres Calchaquíes (Province of Tucumán), which display active fronts from 4270 m a.s.l. on upwards. Their spatial extent is constrained by the climatic characteristics of the region.

Comprehensive research on permafrost issues in Austria is currently carried out by nine institutions and by a increasing number of scientists: University of Innsbruck (with two research groups: K. Krainer and J. Stötter), Vienna University of Technology, University of Graz, Graz University of Technology, Joanneum Research (Graz), University of Salzburg, Geological Survey of Austria (Vienna) and by two branches of the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (Vienna and Salzburg).

Activities related to cold environment in Belgium can be divided in three parts:

  • The building of a Polar Research station on Antarctica The Princess Elisabeth Antarctica“
  • The research of paleoenvironmental remnants of ice wedge casts and sand wedge casts
  • The continuation of the archaeological research of the frozen Scythian tombs in the Altai Mountains (Siberia)

This Canadian year’s report focuses on IPY permafrost projects. It also includes reports from select other research activities at the Geological Survey of Canada, University of Ottawa, and McGill University. Finally a special item is provided on Don Hayley, in recognition of his 40 years of service to the Canadian and broader permafrost community.

The majority of the 2008 permafrost and cold regions engineering studies in China were associated with the construction and maintenance of high-elevation highways and railways in Southwestern China (Qinghai-Tibet Plateau) and the construction of a 1,030-km, 813mm-diameter, ambienttemperature crude oil pipeline in Northeastern China. Additional research in permafrost science was focused on augmenting and developing basic long-term data collection at established stations in both areas.

There are about ten IPY coordinated projects in Finland. The leading projects are Interhemispheric Conjugacy in Geospace Phenomena and their Heliospheric Drivers (ICESTAR/IHY) and Change and variability of Arctic Systems Nordaustlandet, Svalbard (“Kinnvika”). The key participants in Finnish IPY research are the Arctic Centre, Finnish Meteorological Institute, University of Oulu, University of Lapland and Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

Started in 2006, the objective of the Hydro-sensor-FLOWS project (2006-2010, IPY#16) is to investigate the hydrology of the Loven-East Glacier basin (10 km2, Brøgger peninsula, Svalbard) by continuous monitoring of the dynamics of the runoff , the snow cover, the ablation/accumulation limit of the glacier and the glacier itself. The project is coordinated by M. Griselin (UMR Th ema, Besançon) and C. Marlin (UMR IDES, Orsay) in association with SET (Pau), FEMTO (Besançon) and AWI (Potsdam).

The German National Science Foundation (DFG) has funded a coordinated group of projects with the title “Sensitivity of Mountain Permafrost to Climate Change – SPCC”, consisting of fi ve collaborating individual projects. The aim is to bridge the gap between climate simulations and the analysis of surface and subsurface characteristics for an assessment of the sensitivity of mountain permafrost dynamics.

In 2008, the IPA Italian community was focused on the participation in the NICOP where several Italians were present. The Italian representatives produced three papers as fi rst author (Guglielmin et al., Cannone and Guglielmin, Pogliotti et al.) and another three papers as co-authors on topics ranging from alpine permafrost to Antarctic and Martian permafrost. In addition four extended abstracts were also presented as posters.

In the Daisetsu Mountains, Hokkaido, northern Japan, surface energy balance observations have started during the summer 2008, aiming at physically-based understanding of mosaic-like distribution of permafrost (T. Maeda, G. Iwahana, M. Ishikawa, H. Arai and N. Matsuoka).