In the spring of this year, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of Dr N.Lonjid. He was the founder of geocryology in Mongolia. Although tourists and travelers have reported about the existence of permafrost in Mongolia the systematic study of permafrost was launched in 1950s.

This work started in those years by Lonjid (Tsegmid, 2003, Geographic science in Mongolia). He was a head of permafrost division of Geography Institute, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Mongolia from 1962 to 1970. He had granted a state honoree by his ice storage in 1989. Number of ice storages was constructed in 1960-1980s in Mongolia under his leadership. He died in 2004 at the age of 82. By the order of the Director of Geographic Institute in February 29, 2012, permafrost laboratory of Geography Institute was renamed as permafrost laboratory named after N.Lonjid, state honored scientist.

Figure 1: on front from left G.Purev, D.Luvsandagva, N.Lkhagdandorj, B.A.Kudryavtsev, N.Lonjid, on backside from left T.Ragchaa, S.Jamsran, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 1969. Photo by Sharkhuu

Through the financial support from Mongolian government the drilling work of 17 boreholes with 30-90m deep is under the ongoing operation. Currently within the scope of international and national projects and programs there are about 100 boreholes in Mongolia for monitoring of permafrost and seasonal frozen ground. This summer the international field team, including professor M.Ishikawa, Hokkaido University, Dr Sebastian Westermann, Oslo University, Dr Ya.Jambaljav, Geography Institute of Mongolia and students from Mongolia and Japan, traveled through Hangai and Hovsgol mountains for on-situ introduction to permafrost distribution. The team visited the sites of permafrost monitoring boreholes on the way and downloaded the data from those boreholes. Visiting the permafrost monitoring boreholes takes about 1.5 months due to bad road condition so we traveled about 8000 km throughout Mongolia for getting data from these boreholes. We would like to express deep appreciation to our colleagues from Japan such as professor T.Ohata, professor M.Ishikawa, Dr Y.Iijima for their all kind of supports. In the scope of cooperation between Japan Agency For Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Hokkaido University and Geography Institute of Mongolia, field work on getting data from permafrost monitoring boreholes has been financed by Japan for the last 3 years.

Figure 2: Internation field team, August, 2012, Northern side of Hangai mountain, photo by Dr Sebastian Westermann.

Monitoring of permafrost temperatures and active layer thickness in forty five (5-200 m deep) boreholes with permafrost in Hovsgol, Hangai and Hentei mountainous regions of Mongolia is continued by N.Sharkhuu since 1996. Ground temperatures in number of the monitoring boreholes were measured 25-45 years ago. In summer soil moisture content at 10-30-50 cm depths and plant biomass are determined at most borehole sites. In winter thickness and density of snow cover are monthly measured at borehole sites near Ulaanbaatar. Besides, monitoring of ground (no-permafrost) temperatures and seasonal freezing depths in 12 boreholes without permafrost in Hentei region is conducted during last 5-42 years. All the monitoring boreholes with and without permafrost in Mongolia are installed by temperature data loggers or permanent thermister strings.
Within the framework of local project on using of natural and artificial icings for purpose of nature reconstruction, Sharkhuu conducts round-year experimental studies on determination of thermal insulation effects of soil surface (snow, ice and vegetation) covers on soil temperature and moisture content in Selbe River upper valley near Ulaanbaatar. In winter time the thermal insulation values of snow and ice covers are recorded by data loggers depending on thickness and density of snow, and on duration and thickness of natural and artificial icings, respectively. In summer time the thermal insulation values of bushes, shrubs, grass and moss covers are also recorded by data loggers depending on height, density and biomass of vegetation cover. Meanwhile, in summer values of soil temperatures and moisture content in all observation and control points are measured three times a month. Distribution, thickness, formation and dynamics of permafrost,  depths and dynamics of seasonal freezing of ground depending on different natural factors in the study area are determined based on data from ground temperature recordings (and measurements) in four 10 m deep boreholes, located along valley cross section.

Jambaljav Yamkhim (