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Long-time IPA’s Finnish representative Professor Matti Seppälä (Department of Geography, University of Helsinki) retired in the end of September 2009. Professor Seppälä has studied periglacial landforms and processes on both hemispheres and over four decades. Nevertheless, he has promised to continue his scientific journey in future. On the behalf of the permafrost community, I wish you Matti very pleasant and active retirement!

In northern Finland, field work for Nordic project ‘Permafrost observatory in the Nordic Arctic: sensitivity and feedback mechanisms of thawing permafrost’ (2009–10) (Finnish participant J. Hjort from the Department of Geography, University of Helsinki) was conducted in Vaisjeaggi palsa mire close to the Kevo research station. The main objectives of this project are to establish a permafrost monitoring network based on existing Nordic research stations and key research sites for assessing the effects of climate change on the permafrost environment and secondly to provide comparable data and new insight from these sites on the sensitivity and feedback mechanisms of thawing permafrost. In addition, the project ‘Spatial modelling of periglacial processes under environmental change’ (2008–2010) (J. Hjort and M. Luoto and M. Marmion both from the University of Oulu, Department of Geography) continued.

Geological Survey of Finland (P. Lintinen, H. Vanhala and J. Jokinen) and Mining Geological Company MIREKO continued co-operation in a field of geophysical characterisation of permafrost and talik structures in Northern part of Komi Republic. In late summer 2009, geophysical electrical and electromagnetic measurements were conducted at Korotaikha river area in Nets Autonomous Region in Russia where average permafrost thickness is about 200 m. The geophysical techniques tested were (1) a multi-electrode resistivity sounding system, (2) a transient electromagnetic (TEM) resistivity sounding system and (3) an electromagnetic VLF-R resistivity meter.

An international Permafrost-project coordinated by the Geological Survey of Finland (T. Ruskeeniemi and L. Ahonen) investigated the impacts of permafrost on the geochemistry and flow conditions of deep groundwaters in metamorphic bedrock terrain. The main targets were to identify the physico-chemical processes active in low-porosity, hard rocks and to increase understanding of their interaction. The focus was on the phenomena, which might have influence on the stability of the repository. Investigations were carried out in 2000-2008 within three sites in Arctic Canada (depth of permafrost = 350–540 m): Lupin gold mine, Ulu Au prospect and High Lake Zn-Cu prospect.

The research project ‘Global change impacts on sub-arctic palsa mires and greenhouse gas feedbacks to the climate system’ (PALSALARM) is carried out by the Finnish Environment Institute (S. Fronzek and T.R. Carter) and the Universities of Copenhagen, Lund and Oulu (M. Luoto). The PALSALARM consortium organized a scientific symposium on palsa mires in Abisko, Sweden, from 28–30 October 2008. The symposium was structured in three themes:

  • Theme 1: Spatial distributions of palsa mires and permafrost and its current status
  • Theme 2: GHG feedbacks of palsa mires
  • Theme 3: Palsa mire ecosystem and paleoecological studies

Jan Hjort (jan.hjort@helsinki.fi)