At this moment Government of the Unites States of America and Russian Academy of Sciences are working on developing a Russian-American cooperative project in the framework of the US-Russia Presidential Commission. During its meeting in Moscow on December 9th, 2010, the Working Group on Clean Energy Technology proposed six areas of cooperation with one of them being titled "Arctic Permafrost". Academican Vladimir Melnikov were designated to serve as a coordinator for this area from the Russian side. Academician Melnikov is a very well internationally known scientist. He is also a coordinator of all permafrost-related programs in the Russian Academy of
landscapes are influenced to a considerable extent by the presence
of permafrost. Regions dominated by permafrost encompass ca. 25%
of land in the Northern Hemisphere and represent an important, but
climatically sensitive, feature of the high-latitude systems.
Degradation of permafrost due to rising temperatures and
disturbance can intensify thermokarst formation, causing localized
but dramatic influences on ecological, hydrological, and
biogeochemical properties and processes. These impacts at local
scales can have cascading effects on drainage networks; carbon,
nutrient and sediment fluxes, and vegetation distribution across
the broader landscape. Coupled processes, feedbacks, self
organization, and emergent behavior are important characteristics
of the permafrost subsystem, which is itself a component of the
complex Arctic ecosystem. Thus, understanding the current and
future state of permafrost and active layer dynamics is a
necessary step toward accurately projecting changes in tundra and
boreal ecosystems and their implications for regional and global
climate. Equally important is to address societal impacts of
permafrost degradation both on indigenous communities and on
industrial activities in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic.
Research collaboration plan
climate change prediction in high latitude systems requires an
accurate understanding of both continuous and threshold-dominated
permafrost dynamics and their impacts on the soil biogeochemistry,
vegetation dynamics, land-atmospheric interactions, and landscape
processes. A joint US-Russia workshop will be organized to
identify critical knowledge gaps in our understanding of
permafrost-dominated landscapes. Given the potential breadth of
this topic we will focus on terrestrial and ocean processes with
direct links to land surface-climate feedbacks and interactions.
Subject matter experts from US, Russia, and the larger
international community will be invited to discuss the following
state of permafrost and its dynamics on inter-annual, decadal,
and centennial time scales.
dynamics in the active layer and the upper 5 to 20 m of
shallow gas hydrates in permafrost and their role in carbon
fluxes to the atmosphere.
thermal erosion, and other land surface processes in climate
new circum-polar permafrost map that will reflect recent
changes in climate.
workshop will be held in summer, 2011 at the International Arctic
Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Invited speakers
will provide an overview of permafrost dynamics in the Arctic and
Sub-arctic and then breakout sessions will discuss each of the
topics listed above. A session will prioritize permafrost-related
research topics and develop a research agenda that could be
undertaken as part of a future US-Russia collaboration. A
whitepaper authored by US and Russian scientists will document the
findings of the workshop. The whitepaper will be highlighted as a
roadmap for future activities.
document will be delivered to contacts at the U.S. Department of
Energy, Office of Science and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Tentative timeline, outcomes, and deliverables
– February 2011
Teleconferences; development of workshop goals and
objectives; and selection of organizing committee.
– May 2011
Teleconferences; invitations extended to workshop
participants from Russia, DOE national laboratories, and
universities; identification of session leaders; development of
workshop agenda; and agreement on outcomes and deliverables.
June – July 2011
Teleconferences; agreement on final agenda.
Host workshop at the University of Alaska; exchange ideas
and prioritize research needs of the Arctic science community in
areas of permafrost and climate change; consideration should
reflect important terrestrial and oceanic processes and where
appropriate ties to the needs of high-latitude communities.
– September 2011
Teleconferences; completion of workshop deliverables;
agreement on research priorities; distribution of deliverables to
Teleconferences; complete editing of workshop deliverable;
submit final deliverable to U.S. and Russian program and/or
institutional managers by end of month.
Outcomes and deliverables from the workshop will serve as
roadmap for future interactions and collaborations, including site
visits to respective U.S. and Russia research organizations; one
possible out-year activity could be the development of a new
circum-polar permafrost map that reflects recent and future
projected changes in climate.