TSP Norway IPY project activities

The Permafrost Observatory project: A contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard (TSP Norway) was continued. The first full year data from all the TSP boreholes have now been downloaded from different landforms in Svalbard and northern Norway. A few new boreholes have been drilled and instrumented to complete the Nordenskioldsland Permafrost Observatory in Svalbard.

NORPERM, the Norwegian online permafrost database, was launched spring 2009, and contains TSP Norway data and other permafrost data from Norway and Svalbard. The project can be followed on www.tspnorway.com. A. Kholodov from University of Fairbanks Alaska and the TSP Alaska project visited UNIS in April 2009 to discuss the NORPERM database for future US permafrost database developments.

TSP Norway partners play an important role together with other permafrost partners in Norway in organising the Third European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP) in Svalbard in June 2010, which will be an important event to present the first TSP Norway IPY results. Registration has now opened at the conference website: www.eucop2010.no.

Geology Department, UNIS

Permafrost and periglacial studies were done by H. H. Christiansen, H. Juliussen, L. Kristensen, U. Neumann and M. Eckersdorfer, partly within the TSP Norway project, but within the CRYOSLOPE Svalbard research project (www.skred-svalbard.no). L. Kristensen submitted her PhD thesis on the glacier surges in permafrost environments. M. Eckerstorfer started a PhD study on snow avalanches and meteorological control in Svalbard, cooperating closely with the CRYOSLOPE Svalbard project.

The department participated in the Nordic Council funded Nordic collaboration research project ‘Permafrost Observatory in the Nordic arctic: sensitivity and feedback mechanisms of permafrost change’ led by B. Elberling, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In summer 2009 sediment cores from marginal permafrost areas, palsas in northern Sweden (Tavvavoma site), Finland (Kevo site) and Norway (Neiden and Karlebotn areas) were collected and thermistor strings established in shallow boreholes.

The intensive graduate course AG-330 Permafrost and Periglacial Environments were run for the third time in April 2009 with 20 students.

Physical Geography, Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo

Within the CRYOLINK project B. Etzelmüller, H. Farbrot, O. Humlum and T. Hipp, together with K. Isaksen (met.no) and R. Ødegård (HiG) gathered the first years data series from 15 boreholes in southern Norway. In addition, geophysical soundings were carried out at all sites. A permanent geoelectrical monitoring station was established at Juvvasshøe in Jotunheimen. During September, new active layer monitoring stations were established, utilising high-resolution thermistors and automatic loggers. Both equilibrium type and transient heat flow models are developed within the project.

The project on mountain meteorology, snow cover, vegetation, ground temperatures and interaction between permafrost and glaciers in southern Norway continues (O.Humlum). M.Ferbarlein’s MSc project on palsas came to a successful end in 2009.

University of Oslo in collaboration with UNIS received funding for student and faculty member exchange with the University of Ottawa (A. Lewkowicz) and Carleton University (C. Burn) from SIU (Norwegian Center for International Cooperation in Higher Education). The project (CryoEX) facilitates exchange of faculty members and students.

Department of Geography, NTNU

At the Department of Geography ground surface temperature monitoring has been carried out by I. Berthling along a steep climatic gradient of the inner fjord/western mountain areas in Southern Norway. This in now part of the ESF SedyMONT project led by A. Beylich (NGU/NTNU) and funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Ground surface temperature monitoring of steep rockwalls in Innerdalen, Western Central Norway is undertaken by J. Wasrud and I. Berthling. Within the watershed of Vekve in Oppdal, Central Norway, monitoring of ground temperatures and thaw consolidation processes takes place (I. Berthling, G. Vatne, A. Beylich, W. Larsen, L. R. Libach).

Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norwegian Geological Survey and other research Institutions

The Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (R. Frauenfelder) is active in Northern Norway, studying temperatures and dynamics of a rock glacier in Nordmannvikdalen, in collaboration with University of Oslo (J. Tolgensbakk). In Signadalen landslide activity is analysed, in collaboration with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (K. Isaksen).

The project PYRN-TSP (Permafrost Young Researchers Network’s Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost Project in the Nordic Countries) established in September 2008 a 58.5 m deep borehole at Iškoras in Karasjok, Finnmark, Northern Norway. The first data from the borehole was collected in January 2009 and later in summer 2009. A high precision datalogger and a 25 m thermistorchain were installed summer 2009. Data shows active layer depths of more than 8 m and −0.4 °C at 50 m depth.  (K. Isaksen, M. Johansson, H. Farbrot, B. Etzelmüller .H. Christiansen).

PACE borehole data from Juvvasshøe and Janssonhaugen were collected. A new official weather station was established by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute at Juvvasshøe in June 2009. Data is available at yr.no (http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Oppland/Lom/Juvvasshøe/).

In the Troms and Møre and Romsdal area of northern and southern Norway respectively, temperature data collection are continued in a permafrost and climate monitoring project on unstable rock slopes in Norway. The project was established in 2001. (K. Isaksen, L.H. Blikra, H. Farbrot, T. Eiken and J.L. Sollid).

On Dovrefjell, southern Norway, collection of temperature data was continued 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. (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).

Technology department UNIS, Sintef and Instanes Polar

The local authority in Longyearbyen is building a new cultural centre to be completed in 2010. The center has a footprint of 800 m2. Due to challenging ground conditions with high ice content and salinity, it was decided to use a foundation system based on a heat pump cooling system. In this way possible effects of climate change and permafrost warming can be mitigated. Sweco Svalbard is consulting engineer for the project and Instanes Polar has been responsible for the geotechnical design. The construction process can be followed at: http://www.lokalstyre.no/files/kulturhus/byggebilde/bygg.jpg

Together with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) SINTEF has conducted a study concentrating on alternative frost isolation materials for roads. Three different isolation materials were tested over a period of 3 years in Melhus. At the test site 4 road sections were constructed including one reference sections. The sections were isolated with light weight expanded clay aggregate, expended glass aggregate and XPS (extruded polystyrene). All sections were instrumented to measure temperature at different depths."

During her master thesis work, M. Nokken studied the behaviour of foundation of the Longyearbyen building mass. Her work concentrated on comparing different foundation types and how they performed with respect to differential settlements. The work was supervised by UNIS Associate Professor L.O. Grande.

Ole Humlum and Gisle Håland (gish@statoil.com).