Research on permafrost in the Abisko area of northern Sweden date from the 1950s. A mean annual air temperature of −3°C in the Abisko mountains (i.e. 1000 m a.s.l.) and −1°C beyond the mountain area at an altitude of around 400m suggests that both moun− tain and arctic permafrost occur there. Several geophysical surveys were performed by means of resistivity tomography (ERT) and electromagnetic mapping (EM). Wherever pos− sible the geophysical survey results were calibrated by digging tests pits. The results show that permafrost occurs extensively in the mountain areas, especially those above 900m a.s.l. and also sporadically at lower altitudes. At 400 m a.s.l. permafrost may be up to 30 m thick. Its thickness and extent are determined largely by the very variable local rock and soil con− ditions. Fossil permafrost is also likely to occur in this area.
The thermal state of permafrost is a crucial indicator of environmental changes occurring in the Arctic. The monitoring of ground temperatures in Svalbard has been carried out in instrumented boreholes, although only few are deeper than 10 m and none are located in southern part of Spitsbergen. Only one of them, Janssonhaugen, located in central part of the island, provides the ground temperature data down to 100 m. Recent studies have proved that significant warming of the ground surface temperatures, observed especially in the last three decades, can be detected not only just few meters below the surface, but reaches much deeper layers. The aim of this paper is evaluation of the permafrost state in the vicinity of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund using the numerical heat transfer model CryoGrid 2. The model is calibrated with ground temperature data collected from a 2 m deep borehole established in 2013 and then validated with data from the period 1990-2014 from five depths up to 1 m, measured routinely at the Hornsund meteorological station. The study estimates modelled ground thermal profile down to 100 m in depth and presents the evolution of the ground thermal regime in the last 25 years. The simulated subsurface temperature trumpet shows that multiannual variability in that period can reach 25 m in depth. The changes of the ground thermal regime correspond to an increasing trend of air temperatures observed in Hornsund and general warming across Svalbard.
The analysis of climate changes in of the Tarfala valley and Kebnekaise Mts area, and changes within the range of the Scandinavian Glaciation shows that even in the warmest period of Holocene there were favourable environmental conditions for permafrost of the Pleistocene origin to be preserved in this area. The results of electrical resistivity surveys together with analysis of available publications indicate that two layers of permafrost can be distinguished in the Storglaciären forefield. The shallower, discountinuous, with thickness ca. 2–6 meters is connected to the current climate, The second, deeper located layer of permafrost, separated with talik, is older. Its thickness can reach dozens of metres and is probably the result of permafrost formation during Pleistocene. The occurrence of two-layered permafrost in the Tarfala valley in Kebnekaise area shows the evolution of mountain permafrost may be seen as analogous to that in Western Siberia. This means that the effect of climate changes gives a similar effect in permafrost formation and evolution in both altitudinal and latitudinal extent. The occurrence of two-layered permafrost in Scandes and Western Siberia plain indicates possible analogy in climatic evolution, and gives opportunity to understand them in uniform way.
Preliminary results of hydrological investigations carried through at southern shore of Bellsund are presented. Negative meltwater budget of the permafrost was noted for summer 1986. Temperature and total mineralization of waters are varied in space. Temperature of outflowing meltwaters is related to air temperature. Diurnal rhythm of temperature has been distinguished in springs.
This paper presents distribution and properties of soils within the Fuglebekken catchment in neighbourhood of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund, SW Spitsbergen (Svalbard Archipelago). The present study describes 8 representative soil profiles out of 34 profiles studied for the whole catchment. Soils of the Fuglebekken catchment show initial stage of their formation because of very slow rate of chemical and biological weathering in Arctic climate conditions . Uplifted marine terraces of the Fuglebekken catchment are characterized by domination of Haplic Cryosols which ar e related to stony and gravelly parent material (reworked marine sediments). Such soils constitute of 17% of the studied area. Turbic Cryosols forming characteristic micro−relief occur on flat surfaces and gentle slopes. Such soils (covering 7% of the catchment) are formed from loamy parent material. Along streams Hyperskeletic Cryosols (Reduc taquic) and Turbic Histic Cryosols occur. The last two soil units (constituting 11% of the catchment) are mantled by continuous and dense vegetation cover (especially mosses) due to high content of water rich in nutrients flowing from colonies of sea birds located on slopes of Ariekammen and Fugleberget. The studied soils are generally characterized by shallow occurrence of permafrost ( i.e. at 30–50 cm), high content of pebbles, sandy or sandy loam texture, and neutral or s lightly alkaline reaction. Soils occurring along streams and near colonies of sea birds show higher content of nutrients (N and P) in comparison with other soils and are covered by more dense vegetation. This indicates important impact of bird guano on chemical composition of soil solution and fertility of such soils.
DC resistivity soundings and geomorphological surveys have been carried out in the marginal zones and adjacent outwash plains of two glaciers in central Spitsbergen, Norwegian Arctic: Ebbabreen and Hörbyebreen. The study has revealed complex relationships between landforms, buried glacier ice and permafrost. From this work it is possible to distinguish between moraine ridges which are ice-cored and those which are not. The latter occur in areas which have possibly been affected by glacier surge. The active layer thickness was found to be 0.4 to 2.5 m for diamicton deposits (moraines) and 0.3 to 1.6 m in outwash glacifluvial sediments. The sediment infill thickness in valleys was determined to be as much as 20 m, thereby demonstrating that sandurs have important role in sediment storage in a glacial system. Typical resistivity values for sediment types in both the active layer and in permafrost were also determined.
We present the variability of the thermal state and thickness of permafrost active layer at the raised marine beaches in Svalbard. The investigations were carried out using direct probing, thaw tube, ground temperature and radar soundings at Holocene strand plains 10–20 m a.s.l. in Fuglebergsletta (SW Spitsbergen) and at the shore of Kinnvika Bay (Nordaustlandet). Their results were compared to those obtained at other coastal sites in Svalbard. The ground temperature measurements were conducted in 2009 on August, recognized as the standard month for the maximum thawing during the last decade. The studied sites are typical for close to extreme active layer conditions on Svalbard. In Hornsund, the thawing depth exceeded 2 m, while in Kinnvika the active layer was thinner than 1 m. In Svalbard, the depth of thawing decreases generally from south to north and from the open sea coast to the central parts of islands. These differences are the consequence of diverse climatic conditions strongly determined by the radiation balance modified by a number of regional ( e.g. ocean circulation) and local ( e.g. duration of snow deposition) conditions.
Rock glaciers are lobate or tongue-shaped landforms which consist of rock debris and have either an ice core or an ice-cemented matrix. Characteristics such as the landscape setting, morphology, material and current geomorphological state are universally used to classify rock glaciers. In Antarctica, rock glaciers have only been surveyed on the Antarctic Peninsula, Ellsworth Mountains and in Victoria Land. This paper presents the first data on the identification and description of rock glaciers in the Jutulsessen nunataks, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. The rock glaciers in the Jutulsessen exhibit a variety of morphologies and states. Our data suggests that the rock glaciers in Brugdedalen and Jutuldalen are active, while the features at Vassdalen and Grjotlia are considered inactive, and a feature at Grjotøyra is considered relict. The described rock glaciers do not fit into existing classification systems and appear to be different to alpine, Arctic and Andean rock glaciers. They further present examples that fit both the ‘glaciogenic’ and ‘permafrost’ development theories.