New Research Season in Svalbard Opened


Scientists from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) are launching new research in Svalbard, said the AARI press office.

Within the Arctic expedition from March to September 2024, Russian scientists are monitoring permafrost thawing, analysing the thermal balance and characteristics of glaciers as part of oceanographic and glaciological studies.

"The increase in ground surface temperature in Svalbard has not yet led to the lowering of the upper boundary of permafrost, but it causes an increase in ground temperatures within the frozen layer. The gradual degradation of permafrost layers could potentially affect global biogeochemical cycles. Therefore, it is important to monitor the thermal state of permafrost and study its influence on relief formation processes and the supply of underground and surface waters," commented the Head of the Russian Arctic Expedition in Svalbard.

This year, paleogeographic studies provide information on the relief and structure of Quaternary deposits in the northern part of Oscar II Land and Prince Charles Land.

"New paleogeographic studies will help identify the main parameters and mechanisms of climate change and the natural environment in Svalbard over the past 150,000 years and serve as a source for creating more accurate and correct reconstructions of the evolution of landscapes of Western Svalbard and Prince Charles Land," continued the Head of the expedition.

The study also focuses on the dynamics and structure of water in the bays, the influence of the West Spitsbergen Current on the oceanological regime, seasonal dynamics of carbon cycle components, spatial and seasonal variability of biogenic component contents. This data will help identify patterns of Atlantic water distribution in the fjords.

Furthermore, collected data will allow to determine the degree of saturation of seawater with carbon dioxide, aragonite, calcite, as well as the potential productivity of fjord waters.

Fieldwork will take six months and cover the basins of seven rivers, three lakes, and three glaciers. The goal to assess the characteristics of snow cover and its duration on glaciers and surrounding slopes, study the intensity of snowmelt, the state of water bodies and their hydrometric characteristics, calculate liquid and ion runoff, and the volume of suspended sediments carried by rivers into the Greenland Sea.

Photo: Ksenia Romashova, Alexander Borisik, Igor Vasilevich, AARI