During the Argentinean Antarctic expedition of the summer 2014-2015, T. Sone and S. Tanabe (Hokkaido Univ., Japan) investigated permafrost temperatures on Seymour (Marambio) Island and James Ross Island (Antarctic Peninsula). Geodesic surveys on rock glaciers, solifluction lobes, protalus lobes were conducted on James Ross Island.
In Svalbard, a long-term monitoring campaign by N. Matsuoka (Univ. of Tsukuba), T. Watanabe (Kitami Institute of Technology, Japan) and H.H. Christiansen (UNIS, Norway) has continued since 2005, targeting the dynamics of patterned ground (ice-wedge polygons, mudboils and hummocks) and a polar rock glacier. UAV mapping was conducted to produce 3D images of these features in August 2015.
In 2014 an international collaboration, called the UV-project, has started between two Japanese universities (N. Matsuoka and A. Ikeda, Univ. of Tsukuba; F. Imaizumi, Shizuoka Univ.) and University of Bern (M. Stoffel and D. Trappmann) in an attempt to compare geomorphic dynamics between U-shaped valleys in the Swiss Alps and V-shaped valleys in the Japanese Alps. Monitoring and dendrochronological techniques combine to evaluate current and historical dynamics of steep slopes, including permafrost creep, rock creep, slope failure, rockfall and debris flow, contributing to valley-slope evolution in both situations. A. Ikeda has maintained the 10 m-deep borehole on the summit of Mt. Fuji. The borehole temperatures were successfully monitored since the summer of 2011.
A voluntary committee (K. Saito, JAMSTEC; T. Sueyoshi, NIPR; K. Watanabe, Mie Univ., Japan; K. Takeda, Obihiro Univ. of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine) for the open-access database for Japanese historical domestic ground temperature and frost depth data has digitized the image-based observational data from 27 sites of the Japan Meteorological Agency (from as early as 1888), and for 5 sites of the Prefectural Agricultural Institute of Hokkaido (from the early 1900s).
In eastern Siberia, active layer and thermokarst monitoring at Tiksi and central Yakutia was conducted by Y. Iijima and H. Park (JAMSTEC) with Russian colleague Dr. A. N. Fedorov (Permafrost Institute). 1x1 km CALM grid and temperature at deep boreholes (30 and 60 m depth) were measured and revealed continuous increases in permafrost temperature since 2000s. Thermokarst development at natural dry grassland and boreal forest damaged from insects were investigated by measuring land surface terrain and active layer thickness at Churapcha in central Yakutia. According to the thermokarst depression in the dry grassland, the depression rate is ca. 15 mm/year in average since 1990.
3D topographic mapping was conducted by using UAV mounted camera at several thermokarst sites of Hentei, Hovsgol and Hangai regions, Mongolia (M. Ishikawa Hokkaido Univ.; A. Dashtseren, Institute of Geography and Geoecology, Mongolia). T. Hiyama (Nagoya Univ., Japan), M. Ishikawa and A. Dashtseren collected water sample from many spring, river and lakes in order to analyze tritium and CFCs concentrations, which would be hydrological indicators of permafrost thawing.
Within the GRENE Arctic Climate Change Research Project, a modeling group in the terrestrial research sub-project (GRENE-TEA) has been conducting an intercomparison project for land surface process models (encompassing from physical to biogeochemical and ecological) for the Arctic region. Twenty-one models (domestic and abroad) participated the stage 1 (site simulations for four sites: Kevo, Finland; Tiksi and Yakutsuk, Russian; Fairbanks, Alaska, for 1980-2013), and 7 models are participating the stage 2 (circum-polar simulations for 0.5 degree land areas north of 50N, for 1850-2100). The analysis and documentation are now on going (the project ends in March 2016).
In early March 2015, advanced course in modelling of the permafrost and cryosphere entitled “CryoEAST” has been conducted in Sapporo, Japan (B.Etzelmüller and S. Westermann, UiO, Norway; M. Ishikawa and T. Sato, Hokkaido Univ.; N. Matsuoka; Y. Sawada, Fukuyama City Univ., Japan). About 20 of Bs, Ms. phD students and young researchers from Japan, Norway, Mongolia, USA and Denmark) have attended to learn numerical and statistical modelling, and geoinformatic skills for permafrost researches.
Report prepared by Mamoru Ishikawa (firstname.lastname@example.org)