IPY: Development of a Network of Permafrost Observatories in North America and Russia: The US Contribution to the International Polar Year
Basic Project Information
This proposal will formally link approximately 66 Alaskan boreholes with similar sets of observations in other countries and in so doing will formally initiate the International Network of Permafrost Observatories (INPO). The work entailed will coordinate data collection using standard equipment and protocols at the Alaskan borehole sites and at a select and comparable number of Russian borehole sites. The Alaskan and Russian borehole temperature data sets will provide the baseline needed to (1) reconstruct past surface temperatures, (2) assess the future rates of change in near-surface permafrost temperatures and permafrost boundaries, and (3) provide spatial data for validation of climate scenario models and temperature reanalysis approaches. This proposal requests support for permafrost long-term measurements and related activities for a three-year period encompassing the IPY period, including provisions for (a) the upgrade and maintenance of the existing Alaskan and Russian borehole sites, and (b) technological, logistical and operational support of observations at sites selected in Russia. This proposal shall constitute the US contribution to the proposed International Polar Year Thermal State of Permafrost (IPY/TSP) project. It proposes to measure temperatures in a large number of globally distributed boreholes in order to provide a "snapshot" of permafrost temperatures in both time and space. Education and training are stated goals of this project given there are fewer than ten government and academic researchers dealing with the acquisition and analysis of permafrost temperatures within the US. In addition, this proposal provides for the training of several young specialists, and intends to pursue the establishment of permafrost curricula with field sites in both Alaska and Russia and exchange of students; for example, with Tyumen State Oil and Gas University and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). The researchers' experience will also be applied to local community concerns about degrading permafrost both in Alaska and Russia.