XI. International Conference on Permafrost

20 - 24 June 2016, Potsdam, Germany

Session overview

  • Permafrost Research at the Science Policy Interface (co-organized by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)

    Session title:  
    Permafrost Research at the Science Policy Interface (co-organized by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)

    Convener 1: Volker Rachold (International Arctic Science Commitee, Potsdam, Germany)

    Conference Hall, Monday 20 June 2016, 18:15-19:45

    Session description:
    This session will discuss policy implications of changing permafrost with representatives of those countries that are directly affected by such changes. In addition to the Arctic countries with widespread permafrost distribution (Canada, Russia and the USA), these are also countries with mountain permafrost, such as Switzerland and China. The session will be opened by a generally understandable scientific keynote and then include short panel presentations by representatives of these five countries, followed by a panel discussion. The panel is composed of policy representatives and scientists with experience in working at the science-­‐policy interface. Panelists will address the following guiding questions:

    What are the global ,regional and local policy-relevant risks related to chaning permafrost?

    How does the scientific community generate policy-relevant permafrost knowledge and how is this knowledge communicated to policy makers?

    The session is co-­‐organized by the International Arctic Science Committee, Ecologic Institute and the Embassy of Canada in Berlin. It is open for all conference participants and invited representatives of the Ministries, Embassies, Think Tanks and Foundations in the Berlin capital area.

    Keynote:
    “Permafrost: critical questions, emerging answers”
    Antoni G. Lewkowicz (University of Ottawa, Canada, President of the International Permafrost Association)
    Panel:
    José Romero (Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications)
    Norah Foy (Polar Knowledge Canada)
    Nikolai Shiklomanov (The George Washington University, USA)
    Tingjun Zhang (Lanzhou University, China)
    Oleg Anisimov (State Hydrological Institute, Russia)

  • Periglacial geomorphology (co-organized by the International Association of Geomorphologists IAG)

    Session title: 
    Periglacial geomorphology (co-organized by the International Association of Geomorphologists IAG)

    Convener 1: Lothar Schrott, University of Bonn, Germany
    Convener 2: Julian Murton, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
    Convener 3: Florence Magnin, Université de Savoie, France (PYRN member)

    Session 7.1: Thursday 23 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 8.1: Thursday 23 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 9.1: Thursday 23 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Session 10.1: Thursday 23 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session C.01: Thursday 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:
    This session highlights the importance of periglacial and permafrost processes and landforms. In high-latitude and high-altitude environments intensive frost action produces a variety of periglacial phenomena, including weathering, mass movement, fluvial, aeolian, coastal and paraglacial features. Such periglacial processes and resulting geomorphologic changes play also an important role in the global warming debate. Major challenges are to understand the sensitivity of periglacial landforms and to address specific scientific values in relation to their societal relevance. Furthermore, periglacial geomorphology should maintain a bridging position between geomorphology, geocryology, Quaternary and engineering studies. We invite studies focusing on conceptual, empirical, experimental, and modeling approaches covering all spatial and temporal scales in periglacial and permafrost regions.

  • Antarctic Permafrost, Soils and Periglacial Environments (co-organized by SCAR)

    Session title: 
    Antarctic Permafrost, Soils and Periglacial Environments (co-organized by SCAR)

    Convener 1: Gonçalo Vieira, CEG/IGOT - University of Lisbon, Portugal
    Convener 2: Mauro Guglielmin, University of Insubria, Italy
    Convener 3: Christel Hansen, Rhodes University, South Africa (PYRN member)

    Oral Session 11.5: Friday 24 June 2016, 09:15-10:15
    Oral Session 12.5: Friday 24 June 2016, 10:45-12:00
    Poster session C.13: Thursday 23 June 2016,16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    The session is organized by the IPA Standing Committee and SCAR Expert Group on Permafrost, Soils and Periglacial Environments (ANTPAS). It aims at bringing together scientists working on the dynamics of the ice-free areas of Antarctica, and intends to serve as a forum for discussion and promotion of Antarctic permafrost research, within a highly interdisciplinary framework.
    Research on Antarctic permafrost and periglacial environments has been subject to a recent rise of interest, especially following the International Polar Year core projects ANTPAS (SCAR/IPA) and TSP (IPA) and the new developments within GTN-P (WMO/GCOS/IPA). Permafrost, an Essential Climate Variable (ECV7) and the active layer are of central interest for the dynamics of Antarctic ice-free terrains, since their evolution shows impacts on climate (carbon cycle), soils, hydrology, geomorphic processes and on the terrestrial ecosystem. Permafrost is also known to contain biologically viable frozen microorganisms, widely increasing its scientifical interest and scope. Thermophysical conditions of permafrost and the active layer are very variable in the Antarctic and their better understanding is crucial for the assessment of the future fate of Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems.
    Transdisciplinary contributions from permafrost, soils, geomorphology, microclimate, ecology, hydrology, geophysics and remote sensing are expected. Although not exclusively, the session also aims to contribute to the new questions from the SCAR Horizon Scan emphasising on the significance of the fast changing terrestrial environments, for example:
    - #39. What are and have been the rates of geomorphic change in different Antarctic regions, and what are the ages of preserved landscapes?
    - #42. How will permafrost, the active layer and water availability in Antarctic soils and marine sediments change in a warming climate, and what are the effects on ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles?
    Other questions of significance to the periglacial environments are #20, 22, 23, 48, 49, 50, 53, 59 and 60.

 

  • Ground Ice and Cryostratigraphy

    Session title: 

    Ground Ice and Cryostratigraphy

    Convener 1: Wayne Pollard, McGill University, Canada
    Convener 2: Daniel Fortier, University of Montreal, Canada
    Convener 3: Nataliya Belova, Faculty of Geography, Moscow State University, Russia (PYRN member)

    Oral Session 14.3: Friday 24 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session C.12: Thursday 23 June 2016,16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Many processes and landforms unique to permafrost regions are directly related to the aggradation and degradation of ground ice. Ground ice includes all types of ice formed in freezing and frozen ground and in some regions comprise over 50% of the upper 10 m of continuous permafrost. It can range from disseminated ice crystals in a soil matrix (pore ice) to thick (10-20m), horizontally layered bodies of nearly pure ice that extend for several km2 , or  various forms of buried surface ice. The cryostratigraphic and geochemical analysis of permafrost materials containing ground ice provides valuable information about the nature, origin and age of ground ice deposits as well as its distribution and the environmental conditions under which they formed and have occurred since.
    This session invites papers that examine the geocryologic significance of ground ice and permafrost systems containing ground ice. Papers may address any aspect of this topic from case studies about ground ice occurrence and its impact on landscape dynamics to regional paleoclimate reconstructions based on cryostratigraphy and ice chemistry.  Detailed studies about ground ice detection and distribution, cryostratigraphic relationships, origin, geochemistry, dynamics, stability, and vulnerability to climate change are welcome.

  • Arctic and Antarctic Cryosols: Frontier of Global Change and Human Action

    Session title: 

    Arctic and Antarctic Cryosols: Frontier of Global Change and Human Action

    Convener 1: Megan Balks, Earth and Ocean Sciences University of Waikato, New Zealand
    Convener 2: Alexey Lupachev, nstitute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil Sciences, Russia (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Sebastian Zubrzycki, Institute of Soil Science/Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, Germany (PYRN member)

    Oral Session 9.5: Thursday 23 June, 13:15 - 14:30
    Poster session C.10: Thursday 23 June 2016,16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Polar regions of planet Earth are now becoming the focus of interest for humankind because of their great economic potential and indispensable role in sustainable functioning of the entire biosphere. Vulnerable ecosystems of high latitudes, fragile and complex cover of permafrost-affected soils and perennially frozen deposits themselves face the growing global pressure and become subjected to strong local human impacts. Arctic and Antarctic Cryosols may serve as sensitive indicators of changes in the thermal state of permafrost. Profound knowledge of Cryosols as a buffer zone of the human–environment interaction in terrestrial ecosystems is a must for the responsible management of natural resources in polar regions. Cryosols accumulate human footprints (contaminants, organic carbon, greenhouse gases etc.) even in the remotest areas far beyond the zones of current industrial activity and can contribute to their long-term cryoconservatio. At the same time, Cryosols and upper permafrost layers being subjected to enhanced thawing can release ancient biogenic elements, greenhouse gases, and even viable biota into the modern ecosystems. Sustainable ecological functioning of the soil cover in such areas should be ensured to protect high-latitude ecosystems from irreversible degradation. It is important to find the keys for interpreting Cryosol records of the environmental evolution and predict its further development. The ecological functions of Cryosols allow high-latitude ecosystems to be both the source and sink of the organic carbon and greenhouse gases. The environmental role of cryogenic processes in permafrost-affected soils (in terms of matter and energy exchange with the environment) has to be studied more thoroughly.

  • Climate Change and the Permafrost Carbon Feedback: Past, Present and Future

    Session title: 

    Climate Change and the Permafrost Carbon Feedback: Past, Present and Future

    Convener 1: Christian Knoblauch, Institute of Soil Science, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, Germany
    Convener 2: Christina Schädel, Northern Arizona University, USA
    Convener 3: Yury A. Dvornikov, Earth Cryosphere Institute, Tyumen, Russia (PYRN member)

    Session 1.1: Monday 20 June 2016, 13:45 - 14:45
    Session 2.1: Monday 20 June 2016, 15:15 - 16:15
    Session 3.1: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 4.1: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 5.1: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30 
    Poster session A.01: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Permafrost regions store twice as much carbon in frozen soils as is contained in the atmosphere. A warming climate can induce environmental changes leading to permafrost degradation, active layer deepening and subsequent microbial decomposition of newly thawed organic matter, but can also stimulate plant growth and increase carbon storage in vegetation and surface soils. Release of just a fraction of these frozen carbon pools as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere could increase the rate of future climate change because of the heat-trapping properties of these trace gases. While increased permafrost carbon emissions in a warming climate are more likely to be gradual and sustained we need a better understanding of the magnitude and timing of greenhouse gas emissions from these remote regions to fully estimate the potential feedback from permafrost carbon to climate change.
    This session invites papers that contribute to the understanding of losses and gains of carbon in permafrost regions dealing with the modern carbon cycle, the reconstruction of past carbon dynamics and simulations of future greenhouse gas fluxes relating to the questions: what is the magnitude, timing and form of carbon release from permafrost zone ecosystems in a changing climate, which are the parameters regulating permafrost organic matter formation and degradation and how will increasing atmospheric temperature and CO2 concentrations affect soil organic matter dynamics? Papers may address any aspect of this topic from microbial communities to the global scale, using a range of measurements including laboratory analyses, field observations, ecosystem manipulation experiments and process-oriented modeling. Contributions applying new methods or combining different approaches (experiments, observations, modelling) are particularly welcome.

  • Towards Regional Assessments of Permafrost-Atmosphere Carbon Fluxes

    Session title: 

    Towards Regional Assessments of Permafrost-Atmosphere Carbon Fluxes

    Convener 1: Torsten Sachs, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany
    Convener 2: Mathias Göckede, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
    Convener 3: Jennifer Watts, University of Montana, USA (PYRN member)

    Session 9.3: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Session 10.3: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session C.05: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    The Arctic is warming rapidly while storing vast amounts of organic carbon in permafrost that could potentially be released as carbon dioxide and methane, adding a new GHG source of unknown magnitude. Due to limited spatial and temporal data coverage on surface-atmosphere exchange processes, large uncertainties still exist in the contribution of Arctic permafrost areas to the global carbon dioxide and particularly methane budget. Moreover, a comprehensive assessment of carbon cycle processes for Arctic ecosystems is made difficult by a strong focus of existing databases on summertime observations, and a multitude of observational approaches across disciplines and scales that in part deliver inconsistent findings. The resulting high level of uncertainty is also projected on both bottom-up and top-down carbon flux estimates for high-latitude domains, limiting confidence in climate projections.
    To reduce the uncertainties associated with current simulations of the sustainability of the permafrost carbon pool under future climate scenarios, pan-Arctic assessments of carbon cycle and related processes are required that are representative beyond individual sites. At the same time, observational and experimental findings on various temporal and spatial scales need to be assimilated into the frameworks of Earth System Models to improve process representation of permafrost landscapes.
    For this session, observational and modeling studies relevant for regional carbon flux assessments are welcomed, and we highly encourage applications that combine both. We particularly invite contributions on: 1) the observational and/or experimental identification of key carbon cycle processes in permafrost ecosystems; 2) the incorporation of improved permafrost process representation into modeling frameworks such as e.g. land-surface schemes; and 3) the regionalization of local-scale processes or flux estimates by e.g. data-driven upscaling, model-data fusion, remote-sensing procedures or inverse modeling.

  • Reconstructing Past Permafrost: spatial distribution and temporal changes

    Session title: 

    Reconstructing Past Permafrost: spatial distribution and temporal changes

    Convener 1: Marc Luetscher, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria
    Convener 2: Susan Ivy Ochs, ETH-Zurich, Switzerland
    Convener 3: Josefine Lenz, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)

    Session 7.2: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 8.2: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Poster session C.02: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Understanding the long-term dynamics of permafrost is fundamental to quantify processes affecting the climate and landscape evolution. Whilst geomorphological features including ice-wedge pseudomorphs, cryoturbations and rock-glaciers are key for the identification of relict permafrost, chronological constraints are often difficult to achieve. Open questions include: 1) What was the maximum extent of permafrost during the last glacial cycle? 2) When did the last permafrost maximum occur regionally? 3) How did it respond to climate forcing? 4) Can the rate of permafrost thawing during the past be constrained? This session invites contributions from observational and modelling studies.

  • Permafrost Mapping and Data

    Session title: 

    Permafrost Mapping and Data

    Convener 1: Tingjun Zhang, College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, China
    Convener 2: Philip P. Bonnaventure, Department of Geography, Queen’s University, Canada (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Hanne H. Christiansen, Geology Department, The University Centre in Svalbard, UNIS
    Convener 4: Kirsten Elger, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany
    Convener 5: Antonie Haas, Alfred Wegener Institut Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany

    Session 4.2: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 5.2: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Session 6.2: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session B.01: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Permafrost is one of the least visible parts of the cryosphere. Therefore, there is a growing need to high resolution reliable permafrost maps, for verification of permafrost modelling, improved understanding of how permafrost landscapes might react to climatic changes and for geotechnical purposes. Although national and regional permafrost maps have been complied in the past several decades, the first Northern Hemisphere permafrost map was only published in 1998. Since then, progress has been made on permafrost mapping at national, regional, and/or global scales using a variety of methods. There has, however, not been any new attempt to compile all of the permafrost mapping information to develop new modern permafrost mapping tools.
    The International Permafrost Association aims as one of its most important goals towards the development of an online permafrost mapping service. This service will include a collection of all existing permafrost maps at different scales, and potentially build on these to develop new circumpolar permafrost maps. So far no Southern Hemisphere permafrost map exist, and it will be necessary to review to which degree the existing Northern Hemisphere map need revision and updating or if a new map could and should be compiled based on increased permafrost extent and thermal state information.
    For large mapping projects like this and especially for long-term permafrost and climate research open access data is becoming a more and more important resource for models and data compilations. This was triggered by the development of new sensor techniques and data storage capacities enabling the collection of high quantities of research data and the development of possibilities to make these data accessible via open international repositories (e.g. PANGAEA, ACADIS, NSIDC, …) or data portals (e.g. GTN-P Database, NORPERM, maps.awi.de, Arctic Portal, expedition.awi.de, Nordicana D, Polar Data Catalogue, etc.).
    In this session we therefore invite local, regional, national or circumpolar contributions to permafrost mapping using different approached such as modelling, remote sensing and direct field mapping or combinations of these and are also open for experiences in the reuse of published research data. Mapping can be of the permafrost extent, its landforms, ground temperatures, active layer thicknesses or other permafrost controlled conditions. We encourage presentations of new ways of performing and visualizing permafrost mapping at all scales. The aim of the session is to obtain a better overview of the state of permafrost mapping in all of the permafrost areas of the World, including in particular Asia and the Southern Hemisphere, from which traditional permafrost mapping has been less widespread.

 

  • Results from GTN-P:  Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) and Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM)

    Session title: 

    Results from GTN-P:  Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) and Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM)

    Convener 1: Sharon Smith, Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa, Canada
    Convener 2: Dmitry A. Streletskiy, Department of Geography, The George Washington University, USA (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Jeannette Noetzli, University of Zurich - Irchel,  Switzerland

    Session 11.2: Friday 24 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 12.2: Friday 24  June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 13.2: Friday 24  June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Session 14.2: Friday 24  June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session B.10: Tuesday 21 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    The focus of this session is reporting of the latest developments and results in permafrost and active layer temperature measurements in Earth’s high latitude and altitude regions. The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) will report on the development of the Data Management System for permafrost as an Essential Climate Variable including metadata statistics, quality control and data processing.  All members of GTN-P, National Correspondents and potential new members are invited to contribute with findings on the thermal state of permafrost and active layer from local to global scale.

 

  • Palaeoenvironments in permafrost affected areas

    Session title: 

    Palaeoenvironments in permafrost affected areas

    Convener 1: Laura Epp, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar und Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Frank Kienast,  Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Research Station of Quaternary Palaeontology, Germany

    Session 9.2: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Session 10.2: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session C.03: Thursday, 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Permafrost is an excellent archive of ancient life, and permafrost affected areas provide ideal conditions for the long-term preservation of both fossil tissue and DNA. High latitude ecosystems are relatively pristine and simple, with low diversity of taxa, and therefore are extremely sensitive to environmental fluctuations. During Pleistocene cold stages, parts of the Arctic remained free of large ice sheets and were home to rich ecosystems. In Siberia, Alaska and Yukon, fossil bearing sediments were continuously deposited and synchronously incorporated into permafrost over tens of thousands of years providing a unique Quaternary fossil record. The recorded period also covers the time of the mammoth fauna extinction, human expansion and restructuring of arctic ecosystems at the dawn of the Holocene.
    In the proposed session, we intend to bring together specialists of all relevant fields to combine their expertise for the integrative reconstruction of Quaternary palaeoenvironments in permafrost affected areas of high latitudes and altitudes. The session Palaeoenviroments in permafrost affected areas at the International Conference on Permafrost is one of the few opportunities for a lively discussion with world leading scientists in palaeoecological disciplines as diverse as palaeontology, ancient DNA analysis, palynology, vegetation ecology, archaeology, isotope and biochemistry, and dating.
    Special focus will be given on the young and innovative methodology of using ancient DNA from both organismal remains and sedimentary deposits for reconstructing the history of palaeoecosystems in permafrost environments.
    We focus on novel methodological developments in the relevant fields and on stimulating the combination and integration of various proxies, approaches and methodologies to improve reconstructions of ancient ecosystems and their response to climate change, formation of migration routes and barriers, human occupation, and herbivore – vegetation interaction.

  • Microbial ecology of permafrost ecosystems

    Session title: 

    Microbial ecology of permafrost ecosystems

    Convener 1: Susanne Liebner, GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Germany
    Convener 2: Alexander Tøsdal Tveit, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Marcus A. Horn, Department of Ecological Microbiology, University of Bayreuth, Germany

    Session 6.4: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session B.05: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Research on microbial life exposed to permanent freeze or seasonal freeze-thaw has led to astonishing findings about microbial versatility, adaptation, and diversity in permafrost ecosystems. Microorganisms thrive in cold habitats and new sequencing techniques have produced large amounts of genomic, metagenomic, and metatranscriptomic data that allow insights into the fascinating microbial ecology at low temperatures. Moreover, permafrost soil ecosystems constitute major global carbon and nitrogen storages and are sources of the greenhouse gases methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Abiotic and biotic factors shape microbial communities and their huge genetic potential. Microbial communities ultimately influence reaction patterns of permafrost-affected soils towards global change. Altered patterns of seasonal temperature fluctuations and precipitation are expected in the Arctic and will affect the microbial turnover of soil organic carbon (SOC). Activation of nutrients by thawing and increased active layer thickness as well as erosion renders nutrient stocks accessible to microbial activities. However, the effects of these changes on the microbial mechanisms that determine greenhouse gas emissions are still poorly understood. In this context, the functional resilience of microbial communities in Arctic permafrost soils is of major interest. Particularly important is the ability of microorganisms and microbial communities to respond to changes in their surroundings by intracellular regulation and population shifts within functional niches, respectively. We ask whether environmental changes is met by a flexible microbial community retaining its function, or if the altered conditions also renders the community in a state of altered properties that affect the carbon cycle.
    This session brings together research on different spatial scales and levels of complexity, spanning from ecosystem level to pure culture studies of model microbes in the laboratory.  It aims to attract microbiologists, microbial ecologists and biogeochemists working with the effect of climate change and/or low temperatures on microbial nutrient cycling and communities, functions and cultivars under laboratory or in-situ conditions. We encourage submissions from research on terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems in Arctic, Antarctic and alpine regions.

  • Planetary Permafrost and Earth Analogues

    Session title: 

    Planetary Permafrost and Earth Analogues

    Convener 1: Antoine Séjourné, Univ. Paris Sud - GEOPS, France (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Andreas Johnsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Jan Raack, Open University, United Kingdom

    Session 5.5: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Poster session B.07: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Over the past decade, a multitude of high-resolution data sets from space missions have provided ever increasing evidence for dynamic processes involving ice and permafrost on Mars and the icy satellites.
    This session aims to give an up-to-date insight of the study of ice and permafrost and resulting landforms on planetary bodies with an emphasis on the use of cold-climate environments on Earth as analogues for studying the other planets. Presentations will be encouraged to discuss planetary periglacial and glacial processes and/or present analogies between terrestrial and planetary permafrost environments and can include fieldwork, remote sensing and laboratory studies. Scientists who are new to planetary science are particularly welcome.

  • The Yedoma region: Origin, records and future projections in a changing Arctic

    Session title: 

    The Yedoma region: Origin, records and future projections in a changing Arctic

    Convener 1: Aleksandra Veremeeva, Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Duane G. Froese, University of Alberta, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Canada
    Convener 3: Matthias Fuchs, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)

    Session 11.4: Friday 24 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 12.4: Friday 24  June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Poster session A.06: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Late Pleistocene Yedoma deposits, a suite of ice-rich silty sediments, accumulated in vast lowland areas of Beringia, extending from Siberia through north-western Canada. Interest in deposits of the Yedoma region, especially Yedoma and thermokarst (Alas) deposits, has been driven (1) by the exceptional preservation of past environmental records (e.g. stratigraphy, fossil bio-indicators, stable water isotopes, sediment parameters), (2) by the enormous ground ice content (massive syngenetic ice wedges and intrasedimentary ice) connected with a high vulnerability to surface subsidence, and (3) by the thaw-vulnerable frozen organic matter which has the potential to amplify the global warming through its release in a warming climate.
    Despite the resurgence in Yedoma research, significant questions remain about the origins, processes and vulnerability of Yedoma to future climate change. Embracing the Yedoma in models has been slow to absent so far, a fact driven by the large uncertainties in its size, distribution, and thaw-vulnerability. As well, research is still challenged by significant regional differences in the interpretation of these records. Despite having a regional focus, the Yedoma region is of global significance. Thus, in this session we seek contributions about modelling, origin, cryostratigraphy, mapping, paleopedologie, paleobiology, biogeochemistry, climatic sensitivity and paleoclimatic significance of Yedoma region including its degradation forms (e.g. thermokarst depressions and thermoerosional valleys), summarizing the temporal and geographic range from Siberia, Alaska and north-western Canada.

  • Permafrost Hydrology and groundwater systems

    Session title: 

    Permafrost Hydrology and groundwater systems

    Convener 1: Irina Fedorova, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
    Convener 2: Huijun Jin, State Key Lab. of Frozen Soils Eng. (SKLFSE), CAREERI, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China

    Convener 3: Lyudmila Lebedeva, Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Russia (PYRN member)

    Session 11.1: Friday 24 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 12.1: Friday 24  June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 13.1: Friday 24  June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Session 14.1: Friday 24  June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session B.09: Tuesday 21 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Hydrological processes in permafrost-affected landscapes are highly variable, diverse and subject to rapid transformation under surface disturbance and/or changing climate conditions. The coupled water and heat fluxes control runoff generation, availability and connectivity of surface- and subsurface water storages as well as biogeochemical processes such as carbon and nitrogen regimes in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Including past, current and future states of the hydrological system, abstracts may include, but not be limited to, active layer and land-atmosphere hydrology, runoff from permafrost-affected basins, supra- and subpermafrost groundwater hydrology, and aquatic or subsurface hydrochemical, hydrobiological and biogeochemical processes as constrained by the water cycle and permafrost status.  Results of field- and laboratory studies, modelling analyses, applications of remote sensing techniques and other research methods at the fine to pan-Arctic scales are invited to celebrate our current understanding as well as identified challenges in the science of permafrost hydrology.

  • The importance of lakes and ponds in permafrost regions

    Session title: 

    The importance of lakes and ponds in permafrost regions

    Convener 1: Annett Bartsch, Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Austria
    Convener 2: Sina Muster, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: -

    Session description:

    Session 7.4: Thursday 23 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 8.4: Thursday 23 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Poster session C.06: Thursday 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Lakes and ponds are abundant in northern permafrost lowlands. Most are dependent on permafrost and all play a significant role in the local ground thermal regime, impact the radiation budget and carbon cycle. Their characterization across spatial and temporal scales is challenging but required for permafrost and climate modelling applications.
    What impact do lakes and ponds have on water, energy and carbon turnover in permafrost landscape on regional scales? Which lake and pond properties and parameters have to be considered to adequately represent their effect on landscape-scale processes?
    This session invites contributions on lake characterisation across scales using in-situ measurements, remote sensing and/or modelling. On the one hand, lakes as single objects are of interest. Parameters include (but are not limited to) lake type (thaw lakes, polygonal ponds, etc.), the spatial and temporal variability of  lake extent, lake depth, water level, water quality and ice cover across different landscape types. On the other hand, their interrelationship with the surrounding landscape needs to be considered. How and to what degree do lakes affect the hydrological, thermal and biogeochemical processes in Arctic landscapes?  The session welcomes both local process studies that enhance our understanding of mechanisms and feedbacks as well as large-scale mapping and modelling efforts that aim to extrapolate and validate processes or parameters in space and time.

  • Where, when, and why will the Arctic become wetter or drier?

    Session title: 

    Where, when, and why will the Arctic become wetter or drier?

    Convener 1: Cathy J Wilson, Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA
    Convener 2: Stan Wullschleger, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
    Convener 3: Ingmar Nitze, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)

    Session 6.5: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session B.08: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Arctic landscapes are characterized by large expanses of saturated soils, wetlands, ice wedge polygon ponds and thermokarst ponds and lakes. The spatial and temporal dynamics of soil saturation and inundation drives subsurface and surface ecosystem responses, carbon and water cycles and local- to regional-scale energy balance. Earth System Models predict an overall drying of Arctic soils by the end of the 21st century, but they are not able to represent the spatial and temporal heterogeneity in both increasing and decreasing lake, pond and wetland area observed over recent decades. We invite presentations using observations and models that aim to quantify and predict: 1) the spatial and temporal patterns of changes in soil moisture and inundation, and 2) the underlying controls (climate, meteorology, landscape structure, and permafrost, ecosystem and subsurface properties and processes) on shifts in landscape wetness in the past, present and future. This session will aim to highlight a framework for improving our ability to predict where, when and why Arctic landscapes will become wetter or drier.

  • Integrating hydrology and biogeochemistry along the land-to-ocean continuum

    Session title: 

    Integrating hydrology and biogeochemistry along the land-to-ocean continuum

    Convener 1: Paul J. Mann, Northumbria University, United Kingdom (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Jorien E. Vonk, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Maria Winterfeld, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)

    Session 9.4: Thursday 23 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Session 10.4: Thursday 23 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session C.07: Thursday 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    As the Arctic permafrost regions warm, its large pool of organic matter becomes vulnerable to thaw and decomposition. Higher temperatures will intensify the coupling between the carbon and hydrological cycles and will introduce greater quantities of permafrost-derived carbon into inland and coastal systems. Hydrological processes play a crucial role in determining the rate and type of carbon released from thawing permafrost, affecting its biogeochemical role and eventual fate in aquatic systems.
    In this session, we welcome contributions that aim to understand and integrate hydrological and biogeochemical processes, with the goal of shedding light on the fate of thawing permafrost matter released to inland or coastal waters. We invite submissions using various biogeochemical tracers such as bulk parameters (e.g., DIC, DOC, POC), terrestrial biomarkers, nutrients, major and trace elements, and isotopic compositions. Contributions can focus upon modeling or field-based studies, or be a combination of the two. Local and landscape-scale approaches are welcome, as are studies examining the complete land-to-ocean transport. Furthermore, we invite studies that present watershed budgets incorporating both terrestrial and aquatic organic matter fluxes.

  • Submarine permafrost, Arctic gas hydrate deposits, and greenhouse gases in Arctic coastal waters

    Session title: 

    Submarine permafrost, Arctic gas hydrate deposits, and greenhouse gases in Arctic coastal waters

    Convener 1: Jennifer M. Frederick, Desert Research Institute, USA (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Paul Overduin, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany
    Convener 3: Dmitry J. Nicolsky, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA

    Session 14.4: Friday 24  June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session A.08: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Over the duration of the last glacial period in the Arctic, a thick, continuous permafrost layer formed within large regions of the terrestrial coastal plain. Ocean transgression during the Holocene has since inundated the coastal plain together with the permafrost, transforming it into the modern circum-Arctic continental shelf.  Submarine permafrost- and gas hydrate-bearing sediments have been responding to the warming as a result of ocean transgression for the last ~18 ka. Submarine permafrost is thought to be an important component in the global climate system. The permafrost layer presumably acts as a seal to subsea fluid and gas flow, allowing it to trap large amounts of greenhouse gases in the sediments. Submarine permafrost also thermodynamically stabilizes gas hydrate deposits on the continental shelf over interglacial periods because its latent heat sink can buffer surface warming. Moreover, the state of submarine permafrost is mportant for offshore drilling and pipeline infrastructure, resource exploration, and coastal stability. Several advances have been made in our understanding of the evolution of submarine permafrost and gas hydrate deposits on the circum-Arctic shelf, however, models of its spatial distribution differ widely, and direct observations are sparsely and unevenly distributed. Recently published modeling studies and field observations of submarine permafrost and greenhouse gas distribution in the shallow Arctic waters suggest that our understanding of submarine permafrost degradation is incomplete. This session seeks contributions that advance our understanding of the evolution of relict submarine permafrost, Arctic gas hydrate deposits, and greenhouse gases in the shallow Arctic coastal waters. We solicit work that spans the entire range of approaches, including but not limited to development of numerical models and their parameterization; observations using remote sensing, shallow geophysical techniques, or drilling; measurements and observations of gas concentrations or fluxes; seabed morphology; paleoclimatic studies; and climatic projections based on submarine permafrost degradation.

  • Polar coastlines in transition

    Session title: 

    Polar coastlines in transition

    Convener 1: Louise Farquharson, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Matt Strzelecki, Wroclaw University, Poland (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Boris Radosavljevic, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)

    Session 4.3: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 5.3: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Poster session B.02: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Polar coastlines make up 34% of the global total and are among the most dynamic in the world. In light of climate change, polar coastlines are becoming increasingly vulnerable to rapid change.
    In the arctic sea ice extent and thickness has been declining by more than 10 % per decade since satellite observations began in 1981. This decrease in sea ice extent is lengthening the period in which arctic coastlines are vulnerable to storms and thermal erosion, potentially increasing rates of coastal change. These changes are expected to impact coastal morphology, causing increased rates of erosion, extensively modifying near shore sediment and organic carbon mobilization and transport, and potentially pushing coastal systems across critical geomorphological and ecological thresholds.  In the Antarctic and parts of the Arctic, accelerated deglaciation has led to the exposure of new coastline. The evolution of those recently deglaciated coastal systems is controlled by permafrost-related processes and fluxes of sediments from paraglacially transformed glacial landforms.
    To make accurate predictions of the trajectory of polar coastal evolution, erosion, and aggradation during the coming centuries a better understanding of what processes drive shifts in coastal dynamics is necessary. Currently most polar coastlines remain either un- or understudied.
    This session invites submissions that will improve our understanding of polar (Arctic and Antarctic) coastal dynamics on local and regional scales. We encourage submissions focusing on both sub-aerial and sub-aqueous processes driving changes to coastal morphology, corresponding rates of change and consequences of these changes to polar coasts. We are especially interested in submissions focusing on issues related to extreme coastal processes and rapid coastal changes including accelerated permafrost thermoerosion, increased delivery of glacial sediments from retreating glaciers and ice-streams, coastal storm induced flood events, and polar tsunamis.

  • Permafrost-related land surface subsidence and frost heave

    Session title: 

    Permafrost-related land surface subsidence and frost heave

    Convener 1: Frank Günther, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Tazio Strozzi, Gamma Remote Sensing, Switzerland
    Convener 3: Dmitry Streletskiy, Geography Department, George Washington University, USA (PYRN member)

    Session 4.5: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Poster session B.06: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Due to its transitional function between permafrost and the atmosphere, dynamics of the active layer are of great importance. Active layer thickness changes are of relevance not only in terms of mobilization of previously frozen soil organic carbon pools, but especially for protecting underlying pure ground ice bodies and ground ice enriched soil horizons from thaw and subsequent disintegration and further landscape destabilization. The amplitude of vertical land surface movements associated with seasonal thaw settlement and frost heave after refreeze may differ depending on physical soil properties, landscape unit, and climatic variables. However, within areas of current and past permafrost degradation, or rather aggradation, such as thermokarst landforms (drained thaw lake basins, pingos etc.), these seasonal freeze-thaw mechanisms likely overlap with long-term geomorphic processes, and it is very difficult to differentiate between them.
     Questions remain over whether the land elevation returns back to its initial state after a complete freeze-thaw cycle or if irreversible loss of permafrost occurred due to active layer deepening. Because of the wide spectrum of currently applied methodological approaches, it will become more difficult to draw a comprehensive picture of these phenomena and to compare results from different permafrost settings. This session aims to review state-of-the-art knowledge and to gather new research results about the general magnitudes and spatio-temporal patterns of permafrost-related land surface lowering and uplift. Of interest are contributions from process-oriented field studies, long-term monitoring perspectives from on-site instrumentations, geodetic monitoring efforts, mapping, and remote sensing based change detection studies. In particular, we encourage presentations in the field of Earth observation technologies.
    The session generally offers a platform to present innovative methods using measurements from GNSS, interferometric SAR, photogrammetry, altimetry, laser scanning, theodolite, and measuring tape. Also, presentations from a practical or theoretical point of view dealing with the general topic are welcome.

  • Integrating field and remotely sensed measurements of thaw-driven landscape change in permafrost regions

    Session title: 

    Integrating field and remotely sensed measurements of thaw-driven landscape change in permafrost regions

    Convener 1: Benjamin M. Jones, U.S. Geological Survey, USA (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Gerald Frost, Alaska Biological Research, USA (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Daniel J. Hayes, School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, USA

    Session 1.3: Monday 20 June 2016, 13:45 - 14:45
    Session 2.3:Monday 20 June 2016, 15:15 - 16:15
    Session 3.3: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Poster session A.03: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Thaw-driven landscape change in permafrost-influenced terrain has been widely documented in recent decades. These changes have significant implications for ecosystem function in Arctic and Boreal regions, particularly for hydrology, vegetation and soil structure, and biogeochemical cycling including carbon storage and fluxes. However, a key uncertainty in predicting how permafrost will respond to a projected warmer climate is identifying where and at what rates thaw-induced landscape change will occur. Permafrost degradation and thermokarst development occur across a variety of spatial and temporal scales and no one tool or method can adequately characterize these changes. Permafrost monitoring studies typically rely on field-level surveying, but this information needs spatial and temporal upscaling across large, remote and inaccessible high latitude regions.   While field observations provide essential data for such upscaling efforts, remote sensing offers a complementary, cost-effective foundation from which to build spatially comprehensive and temporally consistent observation frameworks for mapping permafrost disturbance and associated landscape change.  Recent remote sensing applications  capitalizing on various sensors (e.g., optical, , LiDAR, inSAR, hyperspectral, geophysical, etc.) from multi-scale platforms (i.e. ground, aircraft and satellites) have provided new insights into landscape change patterns, rates, and scales.
    This session aims to highlight new and emerging research efforts focused on thaw-driven landscape change through the linkage of existing field-based research and monitoring with observations and data products from remote sensing.  Of particular interest are studies focused on landscape change-detection for lakes, wetlands, vegetation, surface and subsurface hydrogeology, geomorphology, thermokarst, and subsidence processes, particularly where there are impacts to landscape structure, ecosystem services, and/or the carbon cycle.  We invite contributions providing comments on the opportunities and challenges in using remote sensing information from various sensors and platforms to observe and quantify ecosystem dynamics in permafrost regions, and offer an improved understanding of the drivers and consequences of landscape change.

  • Ground based and airborne geophysical applications in permafrost

    Session title: 

    Ground based and airborne geophysical applications in permafrost

    Convener 1: Thomas A. Douglas, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, USA
    Convener 2: Paul Overduin, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, University of Potsdam, Germany
    Convener 3: Julia Stanilovskaya, R&D, Total E&P Russie, Russia (PYRN member)

    Session 7.3: Thursday 23 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 8.3: Thursday 23 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Poster session C.04: Thursday 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Airborne, water-borne and ground-based geophysical techniques, both electromagnetic and seismic, have been successfully used to detect permafrost and track permafrost-related processes. These measurements have shown great promise in investigating coastal erosion, thermokarst processes, and landscape change. Geophysical techniques so been used for facility life cycle assessments (from design to operation) to detect anomalies in permafrost and subsurface morphology. These methods, and their applications to permafrost terrains, have undergone significant recent developments. Since each technique has its strengths and limitations some methods are more suited for particular applications than others.  Ground-truthing measurements of geophysical methods have also been expanded. These include surveys of elevation, soil composition, seasonal thaw depth, and terrain geomorphologic features. Boreholes and shallow cores provide critical information on cryostructure, ice content, soil composition, and mineralogy but they are expensive, time consuming, and are not feasible in remote locations or on unstable terrain.  The goal of this session is to bring together field and airborne based geophysicists, geomorphologists, and remote sensors to explore how and where these broad interrogative tools can be used across heterogeneous permafrost environments. We also hope to foster exchange on the uses and new developments of these tools. Studies focused on developing airborne or satellite based geophysical techniques are encouraged as are studies that investigate the strengths and limitations of different techniques and simultaneous inversion methods. Our focus is on all permafrost types and localities in the Arctic and Antarctic including the discontinuous and continuous zones, coastal regions, and alpine permafrost.

  • Hazards and risks related to changing mountain, low-land and coastal permafrost

    Session title: 

    Hazards and risks related to changing mountain, low-land and coastal permafrost

    Convener 1: Christian Huggel, University of Zurich, Switzerland
    Convener 2: Fujun Niu, State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
    Convener 3: Katy Barnhart, University of Colorado Boulder, USA (PYRN member)

    Session 13.4: Friday 24  June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Poster session A.07: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Environmental changes, including climate change, affect permafrost in various and complex ways. Changing permafrost, in turn, can alter hazards and risks. The physical processes that control changes of hazards related to permafrost are often insufficiently understood, and their characteristics depend on the region and type of environment. Risk, defined as a function of hazard, exposure and vulnerability, can also change although so far changes in exposure and vulnerability are typically more influential than the climatic component. This session aims at generating a synthesis perspective of the current state of knowledge in hazards and risks related to permafrost. Contributions from mountain, lowland and coastal areas are highly welcome. Contributions may focus on physical aspects related to hazards, and/or include other components of risk. They may cover various timescales, from past to present and future.

  • New frontiers in mountain permafrost research

    Session title: 

    New frontiers in mountain permafrost research

    Convener 1: Nadine Salzmann, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
    Convener 2: Dario Trombotto Liaudat, Geocryology, IANIGLA, Argentina
    Convener 3: Ingo Hartmeyer, Department of Geography and Geology, University of Salzburg, Austria (PYRN member)

    Session 1.4: Monday 20 June 2016, 13:45 - 14:45
    Session 2.4:Monday 20 June 2016, 15:15 - 16:15
    Session 3.4: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Poster session A.04: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    The existence and changes of permafrost conditions in mountain regions can significantly modify landforms and ecosystems, and where people are living in these periglacial environments, they are confronted with hazards of destabilized steep slopes and impacts on infrastructure when permafrost thaws. In most mountain regions worldwide, the elevation-bands of periglacial environments are often only sparsely populated. As a result, scientific and political awareness of the (invisible) permafrost is often low, and has mostly only been raised in densely populated mountain ranges such as the European Alps. Nevertheless, permafrost occurrence is a very widespread temperature phenomena. For instance in the Andes some estimations hold that it would cover an area of approximately 140.000 km2, which is larger than the known Southern Hemisphere permafrost in the Antarctica. Paleopermafrost also seems to have affected a major area there and today’s estimations are that it covered approximately 600.000 km2, 21 ka ago, during the Last Glacial Maximum. The currently observed and projected increase in air temperature and decrease in the duration and extent of seasonal snow cover (IPCC, 2013), will potentially lead to substantial changes in periglacial areas of many mountain regions worldwide at an unprecedented rate and also affect people living in these and adjacent environments.
    This session invites contributions from all mountain regions worldwide, where permafrost research is still in an initial and developing stage, or existing research gained so far comparably little attention internationally. All aspects related to mountain permafrost, including geomorphology, geocryology, permafrost mapping and modelling, process studies, rock glaciers and other slope movements, monitoring activities (permafrost as an Essential Climate Variable) and impact assessments connected to natural hazards or water resources are equally welcomed. As a whole, the session aims at providing a platform to discuss mountain-permafrost related challenges in areas with so far reduced international awareness and knowledge of the phenomena.

  • Changing permafrost and its impacts across High Asia

    Session title: 

    Changing permafrost and its impacts across High Asia

    Convener 1: Lin Zhao, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
    Convener 2: Sergey Marchenko, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
    Convener 3: Tonghua Wu, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences. China  (PYRN member)

    Session 6.3: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session B.03: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    High-elevated Asian regions (High Asia) are of the World’s largest area of altitudinal permafrost. The Tien Shan, Pamir, Altay, Himalaya, Karakorum mountains and Qinghai-Tibet plateau hold a great concentration of glacier and permafrost ice at elevations over 3000 m, the melt water from which supplies roughly more than half of the total river runoff. Permafrost and associated periglacial landforms are extensively present in mountains of High Asia (HA) and can store large quantities of fresh water in form of ice. Recent permafrost studies show strong short-term changes as well as changes over longer periods such as the Holocene. Alpine ecological systems and hydrology are strongly depending on permafrost and glacier conditions, which also directly influence human activities. At the same time, permafrost is one of the physical elements in the landscape most sensitive to climatic changes. Therefore, study of the interactions between permafrost and other components of the mountain system (climate, hydrology, ground ice, biogeochemistry, vegetation), especially during a period of possible climatic warming, is one of the most important aspects of polar and alpine research.
    Atmospheric warming was predicted to be greater in Polar Regions than at lower latitudes and more pronounced at high altitudes than in lowlands. The ongoing climate warming has already affected the surface and ground ice of these mountain ecosystems. The long-term series on permafrost temperature and active layer thermal regime and thickness in the High Asia were collected during the past few decades. Additional large quantity of boreholes were drilled across HA since 2000 in order to conduct permafrost research.
    In this section, we will focus on the mountains and plateaus in High Asia, the impact of climate change on mountain ecosystems and society, regional variability, and changes in particular permafrost with respect to the feedback mechanisms between permafrost and other components of the cryosphere in mountain areas of Asia and how can we detect, quantify, and model these interactions. We invite contributions across the interdisciplinary teams using ground-based and space borne techniques and methods, modelling tools advancing the monitoring of regional changes in the High Asia.

  • Frozen Ground Engineering

    Session title: 

    Frozen Ground Engineering

    Convener 1: Ma Wei, State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
    Convener 2: Guy Dore, Laval University, Canada
    Convener 3: Mu Yanhu, State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (PYRN member)

    Session 11.3: Friday 24 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Session 12.3: Friday 24  June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 13.3: Friday 24  June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Poster session B.11: Tuesday 21 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    In recent decades, socio-economic development has brought extensive man-made infrastructure expansion (residential, commercial and municipal buildings, roads, airfields, oil and gas pipelines and power transmission line networks) within vast areas of permafrost and seasonally frozen ground. Engineering design, construction and maintenance in areas impacted by frozen ground are beset with unique problems not encountered in temperate areas. How to cost-effectively and environmentally-friendly design, construct and maintain engineered infrastructures in and/or on frozen ground is a great challenge, in particular in the actual context of climate warming. Adaptive solutions and engineering methods have to be applied with increase care and meticulous planning.
    In recent years, some major transportation networks, for instance, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway crossing large areas of high-altitude permafrost, and the Harbin-Dalian High-Speed Railway crossing large areas of deep seasonally frozen ground in Northeast China, have greatly promoted the research and practice of frozen ground engineering. Experiences and lessons learned from these engineering projects will be of great value for other similar engineering practices in areas of permafrost and seasonally frozen ground. In the near future, there are still lots of proposed major engineering projects located in and/or crossing these areas, such as the proposed railway from Moscow to Beijing, expressway crossing the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and the pending Xinjiang-Pakistan fast transportation corridor. Also, there will be lots of engineering construction in the Arctic and Subarctic regions such as the Denali Project (Arctic Gas Line) and China-Russia oil and gas pipelines, and infrastructure expansion and maintenance for northern communities. With the update of engineering grade, what we need to do on frozen ground engineering become more complicated and time- and cost-constrained.
    In this session, we intend to invite contributions related to engineering behaviors of frozen soils (e.g., strength, creep, frost heave and thaw consolidation), hydrothermal interactions between the engineered infrastructures and permafrost environment, design and construction methods, engineering problems and hazards, adaptation strategy and solutions, and computer modeling and prediction of both thermal and mechanical performances of frozen ground engineering. Case studies are particular welcomed and encouraged.

  • Infrastructure Stability in Permafrost Terrain

    Session title: 

    Infrastructure Stability in Permafrost Terrain

    Convener 1: Julie Malenfant Lepage, Université Laval, Canada (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: Lukas Arenson, BGC Engineering Inc., Canada
    Convener 3: Christopher Stevens, SRK Consulting (U.S.) Inc., USA

    Session 4.4: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Session 5.4: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 13:15 - 14:30
    Poster session B.04: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    The stability of infrastructure on thaw-sensitive permafrost is of great importance for the socio-economic development of Subarctic and Arctic regions. However, there are many challenges to the construction and maintenance of sustainable infrastructure in permafrost environments. Infrastructure construction causes changes to the ground thermal regime, often resulting in decreased bearing capacity, increased creep deformation and thaw-consolidation. Adapted design and construction practices are required to limit disturbance to the ground thermal regime to preserve the mechanical stability of permafrost. This requires a better understanding of the factors contributing to permafrost degradation, improvement in investigation techniques to identify unstable soils, and the development of adaptive strategies as well as engineering tools to support infrastructure design. Climate change adds an additional level of uncertainty to infrastructure performance in permafrost terrain, which needs to be carefully considered in engineering practice to develop reliable infrastructure. This session intends to collect current knowledge and experience on infrastructure design, construction and management in permafrost environments and to promote discussions and idea sharing on these issues. The session should contribute to more durable and reliable infrastructure in permafrost regions.

  • Permafrost Engineering in Mountainous Terrain

    Session title: 

    Permafrost Engineering in Mountainous Terrain

    Convener 1: Lukas Arenson, BGC Engineering Inc., Canada
    Convener 2: Marcia Phillips, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Switzerland
    Convener 3: Antóin O'Sullivan, University of Sussex, UK (PYRN member)

    Session 7.5: Thursday 23 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Poster session C.08: Thursday 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Large areas in mountain regions of the world are situated in permafrost, where the ground remains frozen throughout the year and may contain significant amounts of ground ice. The presence of ground ice and the effect of mountain topography brings unique challenges to engineering projects in mountainous terrain.  These can generally be categorized into direct and indirect ones.  While direct impacts are related to the behavior of the foundation, such as deformation due to ice creep or consolidation settlement, indirect ones are related to geohazards triggered within the permafrost terrain located upslope of an engineered structure. The latter range from simple rock fall caused by permafrost degradation to a complex chain of events such as a rock slide in the periglacial belt transforming into a debris flow, entering a lake and causing a displacement wave, and finally a flood. Climate change adds an additional level of uncertainty to the engineering design because changes in air temperature affect the permafrost in an unprecedented way. Therefore historic events cannot simply be used to predict future behaviour. The geotechnical properties of the substrate must be investigated carefully, the effect of future climate scenarios taken into account and specially adapted construction methods and materials must be used for engineering projects in mountainous permafrost terrain.
    The purpose of this session is to showcase practical examples of engineering design and construction in mountainous terrain, where permafrost has had a significant role, direct or indirect, in the design or the performance of the structure.  

  • Permafrost problems in mineral, oil and gas exploration and production

    Session title: 

    Permafrost problems in mineral, oil and gas exploration and production

    Convener 1: Pavel Talalay, Polar Research Center at Jilin University, China
    Convener 2: Andrew Clennel Palmer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Convener 3: Lorna Linch, University of Brighton, UK (PYRN member)

    Session 10.5: Thursday 23 June 2016, 15:00 - 16:15
    Poster session C.11: Thursday 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    The Arctic is endowed with petroleum and minerals that increasingly attract the interest and mobilize the purchasing power of the emerging economies. The Arctic contains 13 % of the world undiscovered oil resources and 30 % of gas resources, making Arctic oil and gas an important economic and geopolitical issue. In addition to hydrocarbon deposits, the Arctic is also home to nickel, iron ore, and other rare earth minerals. Although the full extent of these resources is not yet known, each of the different Arctic countries has made efforts to cultivate these resources. One of the main features of Arctic mineral, oil and gas exploration and production is that the upper portions of the Earth’s surface contain permafrost which thickness, depending on location, can be as deep as 500 m in the continuous permafrost zone. The deepest permafrost zone is extended down to 1370 m depth in the upper reaches of the Viluy River in Yakutia, Russia.
     The nature of permafrost creates certain problems in mineral, oil and gas exploration and production, for example, thawing of permafrost by drilling fluid; freezing of the drilling fluid in the hole when the drilling process is interrupted; crater-shaped thaw-subsidence of the surface near wellhead; freezing of cement slurry and casing collapse while the hole fluids are freezing in the annulus between casing and borehole wall. Solving of these and some of other problems are planned to discuss in this session.

  • Frozen ground properties. Field and laboratory testing

    Session title: 

    Frozen ground properties. Field and laboratory testing

    Convener 1: Liu Jiankun, Research Institue of Subgrade and Foundation Engineering, Beijing Jiaotong University, School of Civil Engineering, China
    Convener 2: Roman Lidiya, Moscow State University, Faculty of geology, Department of geocryology, Russia
    Convener 3: Erika Grechishcheva, OJSC Fundamentproekt, Russia (PYRN member)

    Session 1.2: Monday 20 June 2016, 13:45 - 14:45
    Session 2.2:Monday 20 June 2016, 15:15 - 16:15
    Session 3.2: Tuesday 21 June 2016, 09:15 - 10:15
    Poster session A.02: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Frozen ground is a multicomponent system with many different physical and chemical processes taking place. Construction and engineering activities in the permafrost areas have a significant influence on soils-foundation. Influence can be mechanical or thermal. In such a situation, it becomes necessary to create models of interaction of buildings and structures with the soils-foundation, as well as the opportunity to forecast the temperature regime of soils and development of negative geocryological processes.
    Currently, there are many models and programs for this prediction. However, the basis of any model (thermal or mechanical), except formulas, is the primary data about soil properties. There are two important fundamental problems: the research of the influence of various factors on soils properties, (for understanding the significance of factors when creating a model) and obtaining high quality primary data on soil properties. The importance of these studies is due to the fact that the results of modelling depend essentially of the primary data.
    The session discusses issues concerning soils properties and the influence of various factors on the mechanical, thermal and geophysical on the soils’ properties. Besides, the problems of methods for properties determining, possible errors and methods to improve data quality are considered. Particular attention is paid to comparison of field and laboratory research, comparison of the data obtained by different methods in different conditions.

  • Home Base Permafrost: Livelihoods, History and Politics

    Session title: 

    Home Base Permafrost: Livelihoods, History and Politics

    Convener 1: Mathias Ulrich, University of Leipzig, Institute for Geography, Germany (PYRN member)
    Convener 2: J. Otto Habeck, University of Hamburg, Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
    Convener 3: Pey-Yi Chu, Pomona College, USA (PYRN member)
    Convener 4:  Alexander N. Fedorov, Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Russia
    Convener 5: Frederick E. Nelson, Michigan State University, USA
    Convener 6: Nikolay Shiklomanov, The George Washington University, USA

    Session 2.5:Monday 20 June 2016, 15:15 - 16:15
    Poster session A.05: Monday 20 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Permafrost has been a key factor in ongoing human-environment interactions in Arctic, Subarctic, and high-altitude regions. Investigating permafrost therefore encompasses not only bio-geo-physical systems but also political, social, and cultural dynamics. What has been the role of permafrost in human culture, past and present? This session integrates two often disconnected scholarly approaches: geo-scientific and environmental research on the one hand, and research into human activities, behaviors, experiences, and perceptions on the other. It aspires to develop a better understanding of human involvement in permafrost landscapes at different times and places. We welcome contributions from all fields of science analyzing the historical, political, and cultural aspects of permafrost, including the development of knowledge about permafrost, land use in permafrost regions, and local adaptations to environmental change. In an age of global warming, understanding's people's connections to and engagement with permafrost is more important than ever. Ultimately, we seek to enlarge the thematic scope of future research in diverse permafrost landscapes. This session is affiliated with the International Permafrost Association (IPA) action group, "Permafrost and Culture" (PaC).

  • Permafrost Education and Outreach: Students, Communities, and the World

    Session title: 

    Permafrost Education and Outreach: Students, Communities, and the World

    Convener 1: Anna E. Klene, Department of Geography, University of Montana, USA
    Convener 2: Inga Beck, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany (PYRN member)
    Convener 3: Ylva Sjöberg, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden (PYRN member)

    Session 8.5: Thursday 23 June 2016, 10:45 - 12:00
    Poster session C.09: Thursday 23 June 2016, 16:15 - 18:15

    Session description:

    Education and Outreach are an integral part of modern science and the necessity for such activities continues to grow. The International Permafrost Association (IPA) has been very active in developing a series of products and initiatives to meet this need.  The International University Courses on Permafrost (IUCP) database and the Permafrost Young Researchers Network (PYRN) are good examples of the IPA’s recent efforts. The IPA established a Standing Committee on Education and Outreach in 2010 to systematically support and help to coordinate activities supporting permafrost education and outreach.
    This session will provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas for past and future permafrost Education and Outreach activities.  Contributions will focus on outreach materials designed for distribution through websites targeted to the general public. Others may describe classroom-based lessons or well-established national programs of permafrost educations within the K-12 school system.  Yet others will describe successful field courses allowing undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the full scientific process from making their own permafrost field observations, through analysis, modeling, and presentation.  We encourage contributions which are targeted to a wide range of ages: from K-12, undergraduate and graduate students, the general public, to elders.  Participation in this session is not limited to permafrost scientists but we invite contributions from individuals from polar and educational organizations such as local schools, communities, APECS, UArctic, etc.
    As awareness of permafrost continues to grow within the research community and the general public, it is critical to support education and outreach as central activities of the IPA.