Thermal state of permafrost and active-layer monitoring in the antarctic: Advances during the international polar year 2007-2009
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes
University of Lisbon, Institute of Geography and Territorial Planning, Portugal; University of Wisconsin, Soil Science, United States; Insubria University, DBSF, Italy; University of Waikato, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, New Zealand; IPCABPSS RAS, Soil Cryology, Sweden; Uppsala University, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Sweden; Department of Biology and Evolution, University of Ferrara, Italy; Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam, Germany; Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geography, Russian Federation; Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Russian Federation; Rhodes University, Department of Geography, South Africa; Department of Sapienza University, Department of Earth Sciences, Italy; University of Alcala, Department of Physics, Spain; Federal University of Viçosa, Department of Soils, Brazil; University of Valladolid, Department of Geography, Spain; University of Washington, Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, United States
Results obtained during the International Polar Year (IPY) on the thermal state of permafrost and the active layer in the Antarctic are presented, forming part of ANTPAS (Antarctic Permafrost and Soils'), which was one of the key projects developed by the International Permafrost Association and the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research for the IPY. The number of boreholes for permafrost and active-layer monitoring was increased from 21 to 73 during the IPY, while CALM-S sites to monitor the active layer were increased from 18 to 28. Permafrost temperatures during the IPY were slightly below 0°C in the South Shetlands near sea-level, showing that this area is near the climatic boundary of permafrost and has the highest sensitivity to climate change in the region. Permafrost temperatures were much lower in continental Antarctica: from the coast to the interior and with increasing elevation they ranged between - 13.3°C and - 18.6°C in Northern Victoria Land, from - 17.4°C to -22.5°C in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, and down to -23.6°C at high elevation on Mount Fleming (Ross Island). Other monitored regions in continental Antarctica also showed cold permafrost: Queen Maud Land exhibited values down to - 17.8°C on nunataks, while in Novolazar-evskaya (Schirmacher Oasis) at 80 m a.s.l. the permafrost temperature was -8.3°C. The coastal stations of Molodeznaya at Enderby Land showed permafrost temperatures of -9.8°C, Larsemann Hills - Progress Station in the Vestfold Hills region - recorded -8.5°C, and Russkaya in Marie Byrd Land, - 10.4°C. This snapshot obtained during the IPY shows that the range of ground temperatures in the Antarctic is greater than in the Arctic. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
active layer; freeze-thaw cycle; frozen ground; monitoring system; nunatak; patterned ground; periglacial environment; permafrost; polar region; thermal regime; Antarctica; East Antarctica; McMurdo Dry Valleys; Mount Fleming; Queen Maud Land; South Shetland Islands; Victoria Land