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- To support the further development of a geocryological database for the Usa Basin (East-European Russian Arctic), including key characteristics of permafrost such as distribution, coverage, temperature, active layer, etc. - To create GIS-based permafrost maps at the scale of 1:1,000,000 for the entire Usa Basin and at 1:100,000 for selected key sites. - To reconstruct the history of permafrost dynamics at key sites in the region over the last thousands of years using palaeoecological analysis and radiocarbon dating of peat deposits, and over the last few decades using remote sensing imagery and/or monitoring (base case scenario). - To predict permafrost dynamics at key sites in the region under future conditions of climate change (20-100 yrs), using a 1-dimensional permafrost model (future global change scenario). - To assess the effects of permafrost dynamics under base case and global change scenarios on urban, industrial and transportation infrastructure in the Usa Basin. Research activities Based on several representative sites, late Holocene permafrost dynamics will be characterized using palaeoecological techniques. Variability in permafrost conditions over the last few decades will be studied based on the available data from long-term monitoring station records and from a time series of remote sensing images (optional). Mathematical modelling of permafrost dynamics will be carried out for at least two sites and a forecast of permafrost degradation in the area under anticipated climate warming will be developed. The likely effects of permafrost degradation upon regional infrastructure (inhabited localities, heat and power engineering, coal and ore mines, oil and gas extracting complex, pipelines and railways) will be analyzed using a GIS approach. GIS data layers on permafrost dynamics and infrastructure will be compared in order to delimitate high risk areas based on existing infrastructure and anticipated permafrost degradation. Hereafter, the created GIS may serve as a basis for more detailed forecasting of permafrost dynamics under both natural and anthropogenic climate changes in lowland and alpine areas of the East-European Russian Arctic.
The 'NAR-2000' expedition was performed during August-September 2000. The overall programme of work includes: - monitoring of pollution in air, waters and bottom sediments of freshwater lakes, soils and terrestrial vegetation - soil/botanical studies - visual and remote sensing (aerial photos and video surveys) studies of damage to soil and vegetation cover. Samples of river water and bottom sediments from 25 freshwater bodies and samples from 16 terrestrial sites in the area of the Varandey and Toravey oil fields were taken for chemical analyses.
The 'Karex - Pechora' expedition marine investigations by the research vessel 'Ivan Petrov' in the Kara and Pechora seas in August 2000, and by the research vessel 'Hydrolog' during September-October 2000. During August 2000 samples of marine water, suspended and bottom sediments at 30 oceanographic stations were analyses for contaminants. At 8 stations, hydrobiological investigations included sampling of benthic organisms, plankton and fish, for studies of bioaccumulation and transformation of contaminants.