In Alaska, K. Harada (Miyagi University), K. Narita (Akita University), K. Saito (JAMSTEC) and G. Iwahana (IARC, UAF) have carried out researches since 2005 in order to monitor permafrost conditions after severe wildfire. In summer 2012, observations were carried out at the Kougarok site near Nome. Thaw depths, surface roughness were measured from the ground surface. Ground temperatures have been measured since 2007 by data logger. Boring and vegetation surveys were also made. Continuous data of thaw depth and ground temperature could be obtained and the effect of the wildfire to permafrost condition and vegetation recovery will be clarified. K. Saito, G. Iwahana and B. Busey (IARC, USA) installed a fiber-optic distributed temperature monitoring system (DTS) in Poker Flat, which can measure and log the temperature along the cable continuously in time (e.g., every half hour) and space (e.g., 0.5m). The 3-km sensor cable, laid horizontally under different canopy covers and vertically above and below the surface, is expected to provide high-resolution temperature data to evaluate spatial and temporal variations and to bridge scales in observational and modeling research.

Y. Iijima, H. Park (JAMSTEC), A.N. Fedorov, and P, Konstantinov (MPI-SDRAS) established new soil temperature and moisture observational stations from Yakutsk to Chernoshevsky along Vilyuy River basin in eastern Siberia in July and September 2012. Each station set boreholes for soil temperature and frost tube (4.0m depth) and an access tube for soil moisture (2.0m). According to the pit survey of heat and water properties within active layer during the installation, high soil moisture still remained at the deeper part of the active layer at most of the site, and moreover saturated water layer (talik) was formed at some stations. M. Ishikawa, I. Yamahashi (Hokkaido University), Y. Jambaljav (IG-MAS, Mongolia) and S. Westermann (Oslo Univ, Norway) has collected data on the shallow and deep borehole temperatures at more than 100 sites over Mongolia. They will be for spatial permafrost modelling and correlation with remotely sensed data.

A. Ikeda, R. Nishii (Univ. Tsukuba), G. Iwahana and V. Mironov (Institute of Physical Chemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russia) maintained the 10 m-deep borehole on the summit of Mt. Fuji. The borehole temperatures were successfully monitored through the second year (2011-2012), although the data logger failed in the first winter (2010) by lightning. The permafrost is fairly cold, though air temperature has gradually increased since 1980s. We dug a new 3.6 m-deep borehole at a site where volcanic heat had been detected at the surface until 1969. The borehole revealed recent permafrost development at the site.

In Svalbard, N. Matsuoka and T. Watanabe (University of Tsukuba) has continued long-term monitoring on the dynamics of patterned ground (ice-wedge polygons, mudboils and hummocks) and a polar rock glacier, in cooperation with H.H. Christiansen (UNIS, Norway). Ice-wedge dynamics shows a large interannual fluctuation that indicates intensive cracking often associated with ‘warm winter’ during which temporary snow-melt in midwinter is followed by rapid cooling of the ground surface. The summer fieldwork in 2012 also highlighted an analogy of periglacial features between Mars and Svalbard, in cooperation with a Martian geomorphologist A. Johnsson (University of Gotenberg, Sweden).

K. Saito, T. Sueyoshi (JAMSTEC), K. Watanabe (U Mie) and K. Takeda (Obihiro U) started to mine historical domestic measurements of soil temperature and frost depth, for the period 1889 to the present, to build an open database. Under the GRENE Arctic Climate Change Research Project in Japan (FY2011-2015), Japanese researchers on the cold-region terrestrial modeling, K. Saito, T. Sueyoshi and others, initiated community efforts to integrate the physical (e.g., snow, permafrost) and ecological (e.g., vegetation, carbon cycle) processes and to improve terrestrial models for better representation and understanding of the Arctic system.

A special issue on ‘Earth Surface Dynamics in the Cryosphere: Review and Outlook’ (Chief editor: N. Matsuoka) was published in Journal of Geography (publisher: Tokyo Geographical Society), Vol. 121 (2012), collecting 13 papers from a memorial symposium for the 40 years anniversary of the Japanese Cold Climate Geomorphology Colloquium (May 2011). Five papers featured ‘Frozen Ground and Periglaciation’. All are written in Japanese with English abstract. Full texts can be downloaded at J-STAGE: