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Work Package 2

Work Package 2: Physical dynamics of permafrost

This Work Package focuses on an improved understanding of physical permafrost processes as input for, and control of, permafrost modelling. It aims to establish continuous permafrost thermal observations     in boreholes reaching at least to the depth of the annual temperature variations (~ 10 m depth) in the most widespread periglacial landforms occurring in continuous, discontinuous, and sporadic permafrost within the selected pan-Arctic field areas.

The geocryology of the periglacial landforms, mainly the content of ice and its type, will be determined to estimate soil thermal properties and as key variables for the hydrology. Such information, in conjunction with climate characteristics (such as snow cover), is required to quantify the exchange of surface energy and the water balance, which largely control the release of GHG emissions. These properties are also required for model validation in WP6. Long-term active layer observations exist at most of the field sites in the CALM (Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring) network (since 1978 for the Abisko site, the longest record), thus providing an important background against which to assess modelled changes in active layer thicknesses.

Periglacial process  activity of the dominant ice-rich periglacial landforms, such as ice-wedge and palsa/peat plateau activity, solifluction rates, thermokarst development, coastal erosion and deposition, will be observed at the  different field sites using high resolution digital elevation changes. Local hydrological balances will be observed in the form of discharge recordings, water level logging in ponds, water content measurements  and snow depth recording in the dominant ice-rich periglacial landforms.

WP Coordinator:

The University Centre in Svalbard

Principle Investigator:

Hanne Christiansen