TSP Norway IPY project activities: The Permafrost Observatory project: A contribution to the thermal state of permafrost in Norway and Svalbard (TSP Norway) was introduced in the last issue.


In the 2007-2008 winter we had a drilling campaign in Svalbard from February to May, and established 12 new boreholes, with a total of 173 m. The deepest borehole is 39 m. Eight boreholes in different landforms are located in the Longyearbyen area in central Svalbard, and three on the strandfl at in the Kapp Linne area, western Svalbard and one in Ny Ålesund, NW Svalbard. All boreholes are now instrumented with thermistor strings, and two are online in the Longyearbyen area.

In the 2008 summer, fieldwork focused on downloading data from the boreholes and from periglacial landformmonitoring both in northern Norway and in Svalbard. In northern Norway geophysical investigations were carried out to delimit permafrost in collaboration with international TSP partners from Universities of Karlsruhe (C. Hauck) and Jena (C. Hilbich), Germany, and the University of Ottawa, Canada (A. Lewkowicz). Year round observations of diff erent periglacial landforms are running intensively in the Longyearbyen area involving several students doing fieldwork, study of active layer thawing, water/ice content from resistivity measurements, icewedge activity, solifluction activity and rock glacier thermal processes.

The ‘International University Course on High Arctic Permafrost Landscape Dynamics’ was run very successfully as a UNIS course with support from TSP Norway and the Nordic Council of Ministers, with 10 students obtaining more than 20m of sediment cores from the permafrost in Svalbard and Zackenberg, NE Greenland. Lecturers were H.H. Christiansen and B. Elberling (both UNIS). Japanese students participated in the Svalbard part of the course led by N. Matsuoka.

The NORPERM, the first Norwegian permafrost database, has reached its version 1.0, and is ready for the first full year of permafrost and active layer temperature data to be entered into the database during autumn 2008. Th e project made several presentations at AGU in December 2007, and at EGU and at NICOP in 2008 in addition to having many visitors especially in Svalbard and at our website: www.tspnorway.com. TSP Norway partners will play a strong role in organizing the Third European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP) in Svalbard in June 2010.

Geology Department, UNIS: Permafrost and periglacial studies were carried out by a group (H.H. Christiansen, H. Juliussen, L. Kristensen, U. Neumann and M. Eckersdorfer) partly under the TSP Norway project, but also under the CRYOSLOPE Svalbard project (www. skred-svalbard.no). Th e CRYOSLOPE Svalbard project started data analyses after observing 332 avalanches in 1.5 years in the 40-km, most-used snow mobile tracks around Longyearbyen. Permafrost and periglacial studies at the Geology Department at UNIS (H.H. Christiansen, O. Humlum, L. Kristensen, H. Juliussen and J. Ellehauge) continued (see previous issues of Frozen Ground for project description).

Collaboration with N. Matsuoka, University of Tsukuba, Japan, C. Harris, University of Cardiff and A. Lewkowicz, University of Ottawa, continued on ice-wedge dynamics and solifluction in Svalbard.

The intensive graduate course AG-330 Permafrost and Periglacial Environments was presented for the second time in April 2008 with 22 students. The PYRN, coordinated in Norway by H. Juliussen, arranged several talks and events for students at UNIS to raise the awareness of permafrost studies and research possibilities. On August 1, and after aproximately one year, H. Farbrot f nished working part time for the IPA Secretariat. The Secretariat moved to the Alfred Wegener Institute starting in autumn 2008.

Technology Department UNIS, NTNU and SINTEF research collaboration: The collaboration on the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR) to eff ectively survey permafrost areas and locate pure ice structures within the subsoil continued (see previous issue of Frozen Ground). In 2007 and 2008 the Efficient Soil Investigative Methods on Permafrost (ESIMP) included several fi eld surveys in Adventsdalen, Svalbard. This year a 3D ground penetrating radar was used to investigate potential benefi ts over normal 2D GPR. SINTEFs geotechnical drilling rig was used to verify the results from the GPR. The work is carried out partly by students at UNIS and SINTEF personnel.

The work connected to the Ph.D. study of F. Caline (supervised by L. Grande UNIS/NTNU) continued in 2008 mainly with registration of behaviour of the geotextile bags of diff erent material exposed to the development of sea ice and the ice break up. This work is sponsored by a group of Norwegian and French companies and institutions and aims at developing environmental friendly coastal protection in areas with ice, waves and water currents.

Master thesis in Road Building on Permafrost in Arctic climate exposed to snow avalanches and snow drift: In 2008 two students took their Masters degrees in Arcticrelated topics at The University Centre in Svalbard. M. Bratt Pedersen studied the principles of building roads on permafrost on steep terrain, and as a practical subject she focused on a new road to Mine No. 7 in Advent Valley, 15 km southeast of Longyearbyen. Ø. Skeie Hellum studied the principles of building roads on snow-drifted and avalanche exposed areas, and as a practical subject he focused on location and design of the new road to Mine No. 7. Their work has been of high interest to the mining company “Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani” as their access road currently has problems with frequent avalanches, winter maintenance winter, and slope stability. Their supervisor at UNIS was Associate Professor Dr. J. O. Larsen.

Physical Geography, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo: In 2008 B. Etzelmüller, H. Farbrot and K. Lilleøren gathered the first year’s data series from the various TSP-sites in Northern Norway within the TSP Norway IPY project. Some shallow boreholes were also drilled and instrumented at the Nordnes site, Troms. Th e new CRYOLINK-project (B. Etzelmüller, O. Humlum) funded by the Norwegian Research Council started August 1,2008, and 15 shallow boreholes were drilled along altitudinal transects in southern Norway. At five of the new sites, automatic cameras and soil moisture logging equipment were installed.

In addition, the University of Oslo in collaboration with UNIS received substantial funding for student and faculty member exchange with the University of Ottawa (A. Lewkowicz) and Carleton University (C. Burn) from SIU (Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation on Higher Education). The project covers the terrestrial cryosphere including permafrost, and was launched during a meeting in Ottawa in October 2008.

Within the EU-funded project BRAHMATWINN the mountain permafrost distribution of the Brahmaputra River basin was modelled. A rock glacier inventory was compiled using high-resolution satellite imagery over a test area in the Himalayas and compared to the modelled permafrost distribution. Roughly, the lower permafrost limit was found to be at an elevation of about 5000-5500 m a.s.l., depending on aspect. (R. Frauenfelder, A. Kääb, University of Oslo; M. Hoelzle, University of Zurich).

A new project (CORRIA) was started to develop and apply improved image processing algorithms for cross-correlation of repeat images in order to measure displacements on, among others, rock glaciers. (A. Kääb and two Ph.D. students with funding by the Norwegian Research Council).

Research since 2004 on mountain meteorology, snow cover, vegetation, ground temperatures and the interaction between permafrost and glaciers continues (O. Humlum, H. Juliussen, K.S. Lilleøren, M. Ferbarlein); see previous issues of Frozen Ground for project description.

Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norwegian Geological Survey and other research Institutions: In the Troms and Møre and Romsdal areas of northern and southern Norway, respectively, temperature data are collected as part of a permafrost and climate monitoring project on the instability of rock slopes in Norway. The project was established in 2001. A series of temperature data loggers were installed to monitor the temperature of the ground, the surface and the air. Exposed sites with minimal winter-snow accumulation are preferred to optimise comparability and to ensure that the thermal properties are not extensively complex (K. Isaksen, L.H. Blikra, H. Farbrot, T. Eiken and J.L. Sollid).

On Dovrefjell, southern Norway, temperature data was collected from 11 boreholes (9 m deep) along an altitudinal transect across the mountain permafrost transition zone. These boreholes were drilled and instrumented in October 2001. The objective of the study is to model the trend and variability of mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) and to evaluate the influence of the snow cover on mean annual ground surface temperature (MAGST) in a high mountain terrain. The trend and variability of MAGT and MAGST are of particular relevance in the interpretation of ground temperature measurements from just a few seasons. This work is also relevant to understand the climate/cryosphere interactions in general. An additional deep (100 m) borehole is planned to be drilled on Dovrefj ell (R.S. Ødegård, K. Isaksen, T. Eiken and J.L. Sollid).

In the same field area data from temperature data loggers was collected as part of a Norwegian monitoring programme for palsa peatlands, co-ordinated by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (A. Hofgaard, K. Isaksen, R.S. Ødegård, T. Eiken, J.L. Sollid).

In Jotunheimen, southern Norway, temperature data from the Juvvasshøe PACE borehole (established in 1999) was collected and in Svalbard data from the Janssonhaugen PACE borehole (established in 1998) was collected. Collection of the temperature data from the PACE boreholes is organized in a long-term monitoring programme for climatic research. The programme is run by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (K. Isaksen) and the national databases are linked to the GTNP database.

Permafrost Young Researchers Network<. In September 2008, the Permafrost Young Researchers Network’s Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost Project in the Nordic Countries (PYRN-TSP) established two, 30m deep boreholes in debris and bedrock at Iškoras (572 m a.s.l.), in Finnmark, northern Norway. A thermistors chain connected to datalogger were installed (K. Isaksen, M. Johansson, H. Farbrot, B. Etzelmüller, H. H. Christiansen). The inner part of Finnmark (Finnmarksvidda) is a plain with strong continentally and has the lowest mean annual air temperature (MAAT) when reduced to sea level in Norway. Finnmarsvidda has strong temperature inversions, and the permafrost and climate at elevated locations are poorly known. These activities are in close cooperation with the Norwegian funded TSP NORWAY IPY project.

Arctic Council‘s Cryosphere Project SWIPA (Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic): H. Christiansen and A. Instanes are Norwegian representatives in the Arctic Council‘s cryosphere project SWIPA (Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic). The project is in many ways a continuation of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) project. The main objective of the section related to permafrost is twofold: (i) Evaluation of the impacts of changes in permafrost characteristics, distribution and extent and attribution of changes, and (ii) Strategies for adaptation to changes in permafrost regions. The final report will be published in 2011.

Gisle Håland (gish@statoilhydro.com) and Ole Humlum (ole. humlum@geo.uio.no)