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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 aim of the project is to obtain more insight in the response of the Greenland ice sheet to climatic change. For this purpose we will link our surface energy-balance model to an atmospheric model, so that the model can be forced by variables characterizing the atmosphere outside the thermal influence of the ice sheet itself. The modelling is supported by the mass-balance and meteorological data that we collect along a transect in West Greenland (the Kangerlussuaq-transect or K-transect). The albedo of the ice sheet is studied by means of satellite data and measurements obtained from a helicopter. Research activities - develop numerical models of the surface energy balance and the boundary layer above the ice sheet - perform annual measurements of the mass balance and ice velocity along the K-transect - maintain two automatic weather stations along the K-transect - study the surface albedo by means of remote-sensing images - improve methods to retrieve the surface albedo from satellite data by means of measurements obtained from a helicopter