Researchers of the project Permantar-3 (Permafrost and Climate Change in the Maritime Antarctic), led by G. Vieira (University of Lisbon) conducted field activities in Deception (G. Prates and G. Goyanes) and Livingston islands (A. Ferreira and A. David) aiming at: i. maintenance of the GTN-P and CALM-S observatories, ii. Monitoring terrain deformation in rockglaciers and stone-banked lobes, iii. Snow pit surveying for ground truthing of TerraSAR-X imagery (DLR LAN1276), iv. Geodetical surveying, v. installation of soil and air temperature arrays of sensors in order to evaluate detailed n-factors. New results have been obtained on TTOP based modelling of permafrost temperature, high resolution snow mapping using microwave remote sensing, assessment of rock glacier deformation from INSAR and on ground temperature regimes in the boundary zone between permafrost and geothermal anomalous terrains. The cooperation between the universities of Lisbon and Alcalá de Henares (Spain) was strengthened with the integration in the groups of a new PhD student (JJ Jiménez) co-supervised by G. Vieira and M. Ramos, which will be working on high resolution remote sensing of snow cover.
The Polar Research group of the University of Lisbon implemented the crowdfunding project 3DAntartida, aiming at buying a UAV for high resolution topographical and aerial photo (VIS + NIR) surveys in the Arctic and Antarctica. The project had a very high impact in the national media (TV, radio, newspapers) and allowed the team to collect 21,000 euro. This resulted in the acquisition of an ebee, which was tested successfully in Antarctica in February-March. The UAV will be used for mapping and monitoring vegetation and geomorphic phenomena and the high quality DSMs will be used for modelling purposes. The project is also an Education and Outreach project with several activities in science centers and in the field.
In January-February 2014 two researchers of the HOLOANTAR project (Holocene Environmental Change in the Maritime Antarctic. Interactions between Permafrost and the Lacustrine Environment) spent two weeks in Antarctica for field work activities. M. Oliva (University of Lisbon) and J. Ruiz-Fernández (University of Oviedo, Spain) conducted research in two ice-free environments of Livingston Island: Elephant Point and Byers Peninsula. In both areas the main objective was to examine the geomorphology and permafrost distribution in these maritime polar environments, as well as the reconstruction of past environmental conditions.
Also in the framework of HOLOANTAR, the complete sedimentary sequences collected from four lakes in Byers Peninsula during the Antarctic campaign of 2012-13 have been analyzed during this year through a wide range of biological, geochemical and geochronological studies. The ongoing analyses of their properties are providing insight about the Holocene palaeoenvironments and palaeoclimate conditions in Byers.
A team of 3 researchers from the University of Lisbon (P. Pina, L. Bandeira and G. Vieira) developed field activities in Antarctica in the frame of project HISURF2 (Very high resolution imaging for detailed surface mapping in ice-free areas of Maritime Antarctica). The campaign was took place in Barton Peninsula (King George Island) during about 6 weeks, in February-March 2014 in collaboration with KOPRI, PROANTAR and INACH. The main objective was to acquire remotely sensed images with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) of the ice-free surfaces. Very-high resolution images (from to 2 mm to 4 cm/pixel) of true-colour and NIR types were obtained with two platforms (hexacopter and fixed-wing). Controlled flights and ground-control points collected with a D-GPS allowed obtaining large orthorectified mosaics and very detailed digital elevation models. A new collaboration with S-G Hong (KOPRI) on monitoring and modelling microclimate characteristics in Barton started with J. Branco being involved as PhD student.
M. Oliva continued research activities in seasonal frost environments in Iberian mountain ranges (Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada and Picos de Europa). A. Nieuwendam and G. Vieira, in collaboration with D. Swift (Univ. Sheffield) conducted research in the serra da Estrela (Central Portugal) focusing on Sedimentological, micromorphological, geochemical analyses and OSL dating on slope deposits in order to clarify the role of cold environment processes in the Late Quaternary, as well as to identify their chronological setting.
Permafrost research at CQE/IST/Ulisboa, coordinated by J. Canário, has focused mainly in the Canadian Arctic due to a close scientific collaboration with CEN/ULaval and to the group of Professor Warwick Vincent. During 2014 field work took place in Kuujjuarapik and near Umuijaq. Several thermokarst lakes were sampled in terms of water, sediment and soils. The objective of this work is to characterize the NOM and access their role in trace elements fate and transport. The samples are now being analysed in the CQE laboratories in Lisbon by 1H, 13C, 15N and 31P NMR, HPLC-MS and HPLC-TOF, X-Ray Diffraction, 14C datting and ICP-MS. Also the identification of dissolved and particulate sulphur compounds are on-going. With this work it is aimed also to relate the chemical composition of permafrost soils and the water chemistry of the recent thaw lakes.
G. Vieira, C. Mora and V. Paulo have been working on the analysis of landcover changes in lake catchments in the Kuujjuarapik area (sub-Arctic Canada) by using high resolution remote sensing imagery with planned application of UAVs in June/July 2015.
A highlight of the IPA Portugal group was the joint organization by the universities of Lisbon and Évora, of the 4th European Permafrost Conference (EUCOP4) in Évora from 18-21 June 2014. The conference had over 400 participants from 27 countries. It included two field trips (serra da Estrela and High Atlas), several workshops and plenary key note lectures, as well as the IPA Council meetings. A detailed report on the conference is to be published in PPP. More than 75 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) attended the ECR Workshop 2014, a one-day event held prior to EUCOP4. One of the goals of this workshop was to elaborate future avenues of permafrost research from an ECR perspective during a forum with participants from various disciplines and countries. The outcome of this workshop is a "Permafrost Priority Sheet", which will be presented to the International Permafrost Association (IPA) and will contribute to the establishment of research priorities leading up to into the 3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARPIII) in 2015 in Toyama, Japan.
The Portuguese International Permafrost Association members have been very active in talks in schools, webinars and educational materials, in the framework of the educational projects Educação PROPOLAR and Profession Polar Scientist, funded by Agência Ciência Viva and coordinated by the University of Coimbra (J. Xavier) with the participation of the University of Lisboa (G. Vieira).
Report prepared by Gonçalo Vieira ( email@example.com)