Permafrost

Real-time permafrost monitoring

Juvvasshøe, southern Norway (1894 masl)

Near surface (0.2 m depth)

Permafrost surface (2.5 m depth)

 

Snøheim, southern Norway (1475 masl)

Near surface (0.2 m depth)

Permafrost surface (5.5 m depth)

 

Iskoras, northern Norway (591 masl)

Near surface (0.2 m depth)

 

 

Permafrost measurements on Iskoras are temporarily out of service. The measurements are expected to start again late summer / autumn 2019.

Janssonhaugen, Svalbard (270 masl)

Near surface (0.2 m depth)

Permafrost surface (2.0 m depth)

 

Background

Areas underlain by permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, constitute of soil or rock and included ice and organic material that remains at or below 0 ºC for at least two consecutive years. In Norway permafrost is widespread in the higher mountains. In northern Norway, some of the permafrost is located in mires, often producing palsas and peat plateaus. Measurements show that the permafrost in Norway is "warm", typically between -3 and 0 °C. 

In 1999, the European Union-funded Permafrost and Climate in Europe (PACE) project provided deep boreholes at Juvvasshøe in southern Norway and on Janssonhaugen in Spistbergen (Svalbard). These boreholes boosted mountain permafrost research in these areas, and a shallow borehole monitoring network was established on Snøheim (Dovrefjell) in southern Norway in 2001. During the International Polar Year (2007-2009), monitoring networks were also built up in northern Norway, along with Svalbard.

Juvvasshøe, Snøheim and Iskoras are the name of the first operational permafrost stations in mainland Norway, with ground temperature data in real time used for operational permafrost monitoring products presented here. There are also established official official weather stations at these sites. Two instrumented permafrost boreholes, 102 m and 15 m deep, were established at Janssonhaugen, western Svalbard, and the latter provides data for the present monitoring products on Svalbard. The boreholes penetrate sandstone bedrock with low ice content overlain by a thin (0.2–0.5 m) weathering layer containing no organic material, the ground surface has no vegetation, and during winter snow cover is thin or completely absent due to deflation. Thus, a high correlation is observed between air temperature and ground surface temperature and the climate signal that penetrates the ground shows little disturbance by near-surface latent heat effects. The sites are run in co-operation with University of Oslo, University Centre in Svalbard and Norwegian University of Science and Technology.


Juvvasshøe permafrost monitoring site (1894 masl) in Jotunheimen southern Norway. The weather and permafrost station is an upgrade and continuation of a project station established under an EU-project called Permafrost and Climate in Europe, where the temperature of the permafrost has been observed since September 1999. Photo: Ketil Isaksen.


Snøheim permafrost monitoring site (1475 masl) in Dovrefjell, southern Norway. The weather and permafrost station is an upgrade and continuation of a monitoring programme that was started in the autumn 2001 to measure ground temperatures in 11 boreholes approximately 9 m deep along an altitudinal transect across the mountain permafrost transition zone. Photo: Ketil Isaksen.


Iskoras permafrost monitoring site (591 masl) in Finnmark, northern Norway. The weather and permafrost station is an upgrade and continuation of a monitoring programme that was started in September 2007 and was a part of the first permafrost boreholes ever drilled in Finnmark for long-term permafrost monitoring, established under the Norwegian founded IPY-project ‘Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard’ (TSP NORWAY). Photo: Tone Husebye.


Location of the real-time permafrost monitoring sites in Norway. In background a permafrost map for Norway, Sweden and Finland is shown that provides a detailed and updated description of permafrost distribution in this area (after Gisnås et al. 2016). 


Location of the high-Arctic permafrost monitoring site on Janssonhaugen, Svalbard. In background a ground temperature map for Svalbard  (from Westermann et al. 2015). 

 


Janssonhaugen permafrost monitoring site (270 masl) in Adventdalen, western Svalbard. The permafrost station was the first established under the EU-project Permafrost and Climate in Europe, where the temperature of the permafrost has been observed since May 1998. Photo: Ketil Isaksen