Thermal State of Permafrost


Project Personel

Main Contact: Dr. Vladimir E. Romanovsky
Scientific Personel: V. E. Romanovsky, K. Yoshikawa (INE, UAF), S. S. Marchenko, A.L.Kholodov, R.R. Muskett, K. S. Dolgikh
Collaborators: Alexeev, S.V., Institute of the Earth Crust, SB RAS, RussiaDrozdov, D.S., Leybman, M.O., Malkova, G., Moskalenko, N., Pavlov, A.V., Vasiliev, A.A., Institute of Earth Cryosphere, RussiaGilichinsky, D.A., Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, RussiaGrebents V.I., Faculty of Geography, Moscow State University, RussiaRomanovskii, N.N., Faculty of Geology, Moscow State University, RussiaGroisman, P., National Climatic Data Center, USAMinkin M.A., Rivkin F.M., Fundamentproject, RussiaOberman, N., MIREKO Stock Company, Syktivkar, RussiaPerlstein, G., Sergeev, D. Institute of Environmental Geoscience, RussiaSharkhuu, N., Institute of Geography and Geocryology MAS, MongoliaShesternev D.M., Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology, RussiaUtkina, I., “Gazprom” Joint-stock Company, RussiaZheleznyak, M., Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Russia
Partner Organizations: International Permafrost Association (J. Brown)

Research Goals: 

The overarching goal of our research is to obtain a deeper understanding of the temporal (interannual and decadal time scales) and spatial (north to south and west to east) variability and trends in the permafrost temperatures in the North of Eurasia and Alaska to develop more reliable predictive capabilities for the projection of these changes into the 21st century.

Objective 1: Upgrade, maintain and acquire data from the Alaskan network of permafrost observatories.
Objective 2:Develop a sustainable network of permafrost observatories in Russia and participate in the acquisition of a comparable set of data from regional observatories in Russia.
Objective 3:Encourage the development of a new generation of arctic researchers and permafrost specialists.
Objective 4: Develop a joint Alaska-Russian permafrost temperature database and report initial results at the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP) (June 2008, Fairbanks) and at the 33rd International Geological Congress (IGC) (Oslo, August 2008) in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the IPY.
Study Sites: 

Permafrost Observatories
Thermal state of permafrost in Russia and Central Asia

map is clickable; links to all sites will be provided soon

In cooperation with above mentioned Russian partners a large number of existing boreholes have been identified for possible measurements (candidate sites). Many of these have metadata files on the IPA coordinated GTN-P website. Additional sites will be added to the web site. New boreholes over the next several years are planned. A total of 320 boreholes, located in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia were considered from the point of view of possibility for continuous geothermal observations (see Figure). Boreholes cover all types of permafrost, from continuous to sporadic, both on the plains and in the mountains. Active (sites where regular observations were carried out recently and are intended to continue in the future), candidate (where equipment for long-term observations can be installed soon), potential (equipment for long-term observation is planned to be installed during the project) and historical (there are some existing data but now these sites are unavailable for observations for different reasons) boreholes were selected.

In order to standardize all investigations within the framework of the Project the “Manual for monitoring and reporting temperature data in permafrost boreholes” was developed. It allows better standardized collection, handling and interpretation of obtained data. In the Protocol two types of observation strategies are proposed:

Type 1: Long-term high-frequency (hourly to daily) continuous observations in the limited number of key boreholes, which are representative of a given regions (note: these more frequent observations are desirable to depths of 15-20 meters);

Type 2: Occasional or periodical measurements in the other available and deeper boreholes (if possible annual or more frequently).

As a minimum, and based primarily on cost considerations for the IPY-TSP program, the use of HOBO U12 4-External Channel Data Loggers with temperature sensors TMC-HD are proposed. At the same time, individual participants can employ other types of loggers and/or thermal cables (chains) with similar sensor characteristics.


Data Reporting

The data reporting process is described in the Protocol document (pdf: 115 kb). The format of reported data was adopted from the NSIDC protocol. Data is available for download on the website of the Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (CADIS).