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The Japanese Cold Climate Geomorphology Colloquium had a memorial symposium in May 2011 to celebrate its 40 years anniversary, entitled ‘Research Frontier of Cold Climate Geomorphology’. The symposium was first planned in a special session of the 2011 spring meeting of the Japanese Geographical Society, but the meeting was cancelled due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The symposium was held separately two months later in Tokyo, including about 70 presentations on glacial, periglacial and mountain geomorphology, as well as mountain geoecology. A special issue including 13 papers from the meeting is planned in Journal of Geography (to be published in April 2012).

The Japanese Permafrost Association had a two-day meeting on ‘Dynamics of Frozen Ground’ in 2-3 December 2011 in Sapporo. About 30 scientists and students participated and presented their newest results. The meeting highlighted frost mounds (pingo, lithalsa and palsa) in various regions, dynamics of a polar rock glacier, glacierets and permafrost on Japanese high mountains, databases for frozen ground conditions in Japan and overseas, as well as a geopark project.

K. Saito (JAMSTEC) reconstructed the fine-scale frozen ground distribution in East Asia at the LGM, the Holocene Optimum, and the present, using Global Climate Models outputs and a downscale technique, and compared with the observation- and proxy-derived estimates.

K. Harada (Miyagi University) and G. Iwahana (Hokkaido University) started a project named ‘Frost tube in Japan’ in November 2011. This project is collaborated with ‘Permafrost Outreach Programs’ operated by K. Yoshikawa (WERC, INE, UAF). They installed frost tubes at three elementary schools in Hokkaido, Japan, with K. Yoshikawa and Y. Khalilova (IEG, RAS). Seasonal frost depths will be recorded throughout winter at each school.



Installing a frost tube at an elementary school in Hokkaido.


In Svalbard, N. Matsuoka and T. Watanabe (University of Tsukuba) has continued a monitoring campaign on the dynamics of patterned ground (including ice-wedge polygons, mudboils and hummocks) and a polar rock glacier with a variety of methods. A portable terrestrial laser scanner has newly been introduced to map detailed surface relief and produce DEMs of these landforms. Differential GPS and subsurface inclinometers revealed slow advance (less than 2 cm/yr at the surface) of Huset rock glacier, which reflects interannual change in ground temperature.



Huset rock glacier, seen as bulging of talus slopes behind the historic Restaurant Huset (built in 1951), Longyearbyen, Svalbard.



Several field projects are also going on in Japanese mountains (Daisetsu, Fuji and Japanese Alps), Alaska, Siberia and Mongolia.

Compiled by Norikazu Matsuoka (matsuoka@geoenv.tsukuba.ac.jp)