Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Polish Polar Research

The Journal of Committee on Polar Research of Polish Academy of Sciences

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.636
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.121

CiteScore 2016: 1.20

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.556
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.645

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 34, Issue 4


Variability of temperature and thickness of permafrost active layer at coastal sites of Svalbard

Piotr Dolnicki / Mariusz Grabiec / Dariusz Puczko / Łukasz Gawor
  • Corresponding author
  • Wydział Górnictwa i Geologii, Politechnika Śląska, ul. Akademicka 2A, 44−100 Gliwice, Poland
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Tomasz Budzik / Jan Klementowski
  • Corresponding author
  • Instytut Geografii i Rozwoju Regionalnego, Uniwersytet Wrocławski, pl. Uniwersytecki 1, 50−137 Wrocław, Poland
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2013-12-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/popore-2013-0026


We present the variability of the thermal state and thickness of permafrost active layer at the raised marine beaches in Svalbard. The investigations were carried out using direct probing, thaw tube, ground temperature and radar soundings at Holocene strand plains 10-20 m a.s.l. in Fuglebergsletta (SW Spitsbergen) and at the shore of Kinnvika Bay (Nordaustlandet). Their results were compared to those obtained at other coastal sites in Svalbard. The ground temperature measurements were conducted in 2009 on August, recognized as the standard month for the maximum thawing during the last decade. The studied sites are typical for close to extreme active layer conditions on Svalbard. In Hornsund, the thawing depth exceeded 2 m, while in Kinnvika the active layer was thinner than 1 m. In Svalbard, the depth of thawing decreases generally from south to north and from the open sea coast to the central parts of islands. These differences are the consequence of diverse climatic conditions strongly determined by the radiation balance modified by a number of regional (e.g. ocean circulation) and local (e.g. duration of snow deposition) conditions.

Keywords: Arctic; Spitsbergen; Nordaustlandet; active layer; ground penetrating radar; permafrost

  • AKERMAN J. 2005. Relations between slow slope processes and active−layer thickness 1972-2002, Kap Linnè, Svalbard. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography 59: 116-128.Google Scholar

  • ANGIEL M. 1994. Heat flux in selected polar soils in spring and summer (Hornsund, SW Spits− bergen). Polish Polar Research 15: 51-70.Google Scholar

  • ANNAN A.P. and DAVIS J.L. 1976. Impulse radar sounding in permafrost. Radio Science 11 (4): 383-394.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • BAKER G.S., JORDAN T.E. and PARDY J. 2007. An introduction to ground penetrating radar (GPR). In: G.S. Baker and H.M. Jol (eds) Stratigraphic analysis using GPR. The Geological Society ofAmerica, Special Paper 432: 1-18.Google Scholar

  • BARANOWSKI S. 1968. Thermic conditions of the periglacial tundra in SW Spitsbergen. ActaUniversitatis Wratislaviensis 68: 74-78 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • BRIKS H.K. 1991. Holocene vegetational history and climatic change in west Spitsbergen - plant macrofossils from Skardtjøtna, an Arctic lake. The Holocene 1 (3): 209-218.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • BROWN J., HINKEL K.M. and NELSON F.E. 2000. The circumpolar active layer monitoring (CALM) program: research designs and initial results. Polar Geography 3: 165-258.Google Scholar

  • BUDZIK T. 2004. Structure of solar radiation in Ny−Ålesund (SW Spitsbergen) in the period 1989-2003. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 14: 189-197. (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • BUDZIK T., SIKORA S. and ARAŹNY A. 2009. Annual course of surface radiation balance in Hornsund, Svalbard (V 2008 - IV 2009). Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 19: 233-246 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • CHMAL H. 1987. Pleistocene sea level changes and glacial history of the Hornsund area, Svalbard. Polar Research 5: 269-270.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • CHRISTIANSEN H.H. and HUMLUM O. 2008. Interannual variations in active layer thickness in Svalbard. In: D.L. Kane, K.M. Hinkel (eds) Proceedings Ninth International Conference onPermafrost, June 29-July 3, Fairbanks Alaska, Vol. 1. Institute of Northern Engineering, Uni− versity of Alaska, Fairbanks: 257-262.Google Scholar

  • CHRISTIANSEN H., FRENCH M. and HUMLUM O. 2005. Permafrost in the Gruve−7 mine, Adventdalen, Svalbard. Journal of Geography 59: 109-115.Google Scholar

  • CHRISTIANSEN H.H., ETZELMÜLLER B., ISAKSEN K., JULIUSSSEN H., FARBROT H., HUMLUM O., JOHANSSON M., INGEMAN−NIELSEN T., KRISTENSEN L., HJORT J., HOLMLUND P., SANNEL A.B.K., SIGSGAARD C., ÅKERMAN H.J., FOGED N., BLIKRA L.H., PERNOSKY M.A. and ØDEGÅRD R.S. 2010. The thermal state of permafrost in the nordic area during the International Polar Year 2007-2009. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 21 (2): 156-181.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • COOPER E.J. 2011. Polar desert vegetation and plant recruitment in Murchinsonfjorden,Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. Geografiska Annaler 93: 243-252.Google Scholar

  • DOBIŃSKI W. 2006. Ice and environment: a terminological discussion. Earth−Science Reviews 79 (3-4): 229-240.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • DOBIŃSKI W. 2011. Permafrost in selected areas of the Tatra Mountains, the Scandinavian mountainsand Spitsbergen in the light of extensive geophysical studies and climatological analyses.Wydaw− nictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, Katowice: 172 pp. (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • DOBIŃSKI W., GRABIEC M. and GĄDEK B. 2011. Spatial relationship in interaction between glacier and permafrost in different mountainous environments of high and mid−latitudes, based on GPR research. Geological Quarterly 55 (4): 15-27.Google Scholar

  • DOLNICKI P. 2005. Spatial distribution of permafrost level and its connection with variable disap− pearance snow cover in the area of Fuglebergsletta (SW Spitsbergen). In: Polish Polar Studies. XXXI Sympozjum Polarne, Kielce: 34-45 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • DOLNICKI P. 2010. Changes of thermic of the ground in Hornsund (SW Spitsbergen) in the period 1990-2009. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 20: 121-127 (in Polish with English summary).Google Scholar

  • ETZELMÜLLER B., ØDEGÅRD R.S. and SOLLID J.L. 2003. The spatial distribution of coast types on Svalbard. In: V. Rachold, J. Brown, S. Solomon and J.L. Sollid (eds) Arctic Coastal Dynamics -Report of the 3rd International Workshop. Extended Abstracts. Alfred Wegener Institute for Po− lar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven: 33-40.Google Scholar

  • ETZELMÜLLER B., SCHULER T.V. ISAKSEN K., CHRISTIANSEN H.H, FARBROT H. and BENESTAD R. 2011. Modeling the temperature evolution of Svalbard permafrost during the 20th and 21st cen− tury. The Cryosphere 5: 67-79.Google Scholar

  • FORMAN S.L., LUBINSKI D.J. INGÓLFSSON Ó. ZEEBERG J.J., SNYDER J.A., SIEGERT M.J. and MATISHOV G.G. 2004. A review of postglacial emergence on Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemla, northern Eurasia. Quaternary Science Reviews 23: 1391-1434.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • FRENCH H.M. 2007. The Periglacial Environment. Third Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester: 480 pp.Google Scholar

  • GŁOWICKI B. 1985. Radiation conditions in the Hornsund area (Spitsbergen). Polish Polar Research 6: 331-339.Google Scholar

  • GOLUBEV A.V., PAVLOV A.P. and KHOMICHESKAYA L.S. 1969. Long−term geocryological investi− gations. Aims and methods of field studies. In: Permafrost investigations in the field. Technical Translation 1358. National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa: 89-112.Google Scholar

  • GRODZIŃSKA K. and GRODZIK B. 1993. Plant communities and ecological monitoring of southern Spitsbergen. Wiadomości Botaniczne 37 (3/4): 195-199 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • GRABIEC M., PUCZKO D., BUDZIK T. and GAJEK G. 2011. Snow distribution patterns on Svalbard glaciers derived from radio−echo soundings. Polish Polar Research 32 (4): 393-421.Google Scholar

  • GRZEŚ M. 1984. Characteristics of the active layer of permafrost in Spitsbergen. In: XI SympozjumPolarne, Poznań: 65-83 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • HAGEN J. O., LIESTØL O., ROLAND E. and JØRGENSEN T. 1993. Glacier Atlas of Svalbard and JanMayen. Norsk Polarinstitut, Meddelelser 129, Oslo: 141 pp.Google Scholar

  • HALDORSEN S. and HEIM M. 1999. An arctic groundwater system and its dependence upon climatic change: an example from Svalbard. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 10 (2): 137-149.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • HALDORSEN S., HEIM M., DALE B., LANDVIK J.Y., VAN DER PLOEG M., LEIJNSE A., SALVIGSEN O., HAGEN J.O. and BANKS D. 2010. Sensitivity to long−term climate change of subpermafrost groundwater systems in Svalbard. Quaternarly Research 73 (2): 393-402.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • HARRIS Ch.,ARENSON L.U., CHRISTIANSEN H.H., ETZELMÜLLER B., FRAUENFELDER R.,GRUBER S., HAEBERLI W., HAUCK Ch., HÖLZLE M., HUMLUM O., ISAKSEN K., KÄÄB A., KERN−LÜTSCHG M.A.,MATSUOKA N.,MURTON J.B.,NÖTZLI J., PHILLIPS M., ROSS N., SEPPÄLÄ M., SPRINGMAN S.M. and VONDER MÜHL D. 2009. Permafrost and climate in Europe: Monitoring and modelling thermal, geomorphological and geotechnical responses. Earth−Science Reviews 92 (3-4): 117-177.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • HAUCK Ch. and KNEISEL Ch. (eds) 2008. Applied Geophysics in Periglacial Environment. Cam− bridge University Press, Cambridge: 240 pp.Google Scholar

  • HUMLUM O. 2005. Holocene permafrost aggradation in Svalbard. In: C. Harris and J.B. Murton (eds) Cryospheric Systems. Geological Society Special Publication, London 242: 119-130.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • HUMLUM O., INSTANES A. and SOLLID J.L. 2003. Permafrost in Svalbard: a review of research his− tory, climatic background and engineering challenges. Polar Research 22 (2): 191-215.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • HUMLUM O., SOLHEIM J.−E. and STORGAHL K. 2011. Spectral analysis of the Svalbard temperature record 1912-2010. Advances in Meteorology 2011: 1-14.Google Scholar

  • JAHN A. 1983. Soil thawing and active layer of permafrost. In: A. Jahn and A. Szponar (eds) Results of investigations of the Polish Scientific Spitsbergen Expeditions. Vol. IV. Acta UniversitatisWratislaviensis 525: 57-75.Google Scholar

  • JAHN A. 1988. Periglacial soil structures in Spitsbergen and in central Europe. In: V InternationalConference on Permafrost, Trondheim: 769-800.Google Scholar

  • KRISTENSEN M. 1988. Climatic conditions and permafrost development on the Svalbard archipel− ago. In: Proceeding of the 5th International Conference on Permafrost. Tapir Publishers, Trondheim: 24-26.Google Scholar

  • KUC M. 1996. The vegetation zones of the Hornsund area (SW Spitsbergen). In: XXIII SympozjumPolarne, Sosnowiec: 34-45.Google Scholar

  • LESZKIEWICZ J. and CAPUTA Z. 2004. The thermal condition of the active layer in the permafrost at Hornsundu, Spitsbergen. Polish Polar Research 25: 223-239.Google Scholar

  • LIESTØL O. 1976. Pingos, springs, and permafrost in Spitsbergen. Norsk Polarinstitutt Årbok 1975: 7-29.Google Scholar

  • MARKIN V.A. 1975. The climate of the modern glaciation area. In: L.S. Troitsky, E.M. Singer, V.S.Google Scholar

  • Koryakin, V.A. Markin and V.I. Mikhaliov (eds) Oledenenie Spitsbergena (Sval’barda). Izda− tel’stvo “Nauka”, Moskva: 42-105 (in Russian).Google Scholar

  • MARSZ A. and STYCZYŃSKA A. (eds) 2013. Climate and Climate Change at Hornsund, Svalbard. Gdynia Maritime University, Gdynia: 402 pp.Google Scholar

  • MIĘTUS M. 1988. Short period changes of soil temperature against advective changes of air tempera− ture in Hornsund, Spitsbergen. Polish Polar Research 9: 95-103.Google Scholar

  • MIĘTUS M. and FILIPIAK J. 2001. Variability of ground temperature in Hornsund in the period 1979−1999. Przegląd Geofizyczny 46 (4): 323-337 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • MIGAŁA K. 1991. Effect of winter season and snow cover on the active layer of permafrost in the re− gion of Hornsund (SW Spitsbergen). In: Wyprawy Geograficzne na Spitsbergen, Lublin: 248 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • MOLAU U. and MØLGAARD P. (eds) 1996. ITEX Manual, Second Edition, Danish Polar Center, Copenhagen: 53 + xxi pp.Google Scholar

  • MOORMAN B.J., ROBINSON S.D. and BRUGESS M.M. 2003. Imaging periglacial conditions with ground−penetrating radar. Permafrost and Periglacial Process 14: 319-329.Google Scholar

  • MÜHLL D.V.,HAUCK Ch. andGUBLER H. 2002. Mapping of mountain permafrost using geophysical methods. Progress in Physical Geography 26 (4): 643-660.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • NEAL A. 2004. Ground−penetrating radar and its use in sedimentology: principles, problems and progress. Earth−Science Reviews 66: 261-330.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • PASZYŃSKI J.,MIARA K. and SKOCZEK J. 1999. The energy exchange at the Earth−Atmosphere bound− ary as a base for topoclimatological mapping. Dokumentacja Geograficzna nr 14. IGiPZ, War− szawa: 127 pp. (in Polish with English summary). Permafrost Observatory Project 2012. A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norwayand Svalbard (TSP Norway). The Norwegian Permafrost Database, Geological Survey of Nor− way, Trondheim, Norway. June 2012. http://geo.ngu.no/kart/permafrost_svalbard Google Scholar

  • PRZYBYLAK R., ARAŹNY A. and KEJNA M. 2010. Differentiation and long−term changes in ground temperature on the Kaffiøyra plain (NW Spitsbergen) in the summer season from 1975 to 2009. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 20: 103-120 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • PUTKONEN J. 1997. Soil thermal properties and heat transfer processes near Ny−Ålesund, nord− western Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Polar Research 17 (2): 165-179.Google Scholar

  • REPELEWSKA−PĘKALOWA J. 2004. The dynamics of the active layer of permafrost in the various geosystems. In: Z. Michalczyk (ed.) Badania geograficzne w poznawaniu środowiska. UMCS, Lublin: 239-245 (in Polish).Google Scholar

  • SMITH L.C., SHENG Y., MACDONALD G.M. and HINZMAN L.D. 2005. Disappearing Arctic Lakes. Science 308: 1429.Google Scholar

  • SMOL J.P. and DOUGLAS M.S.V. 2007. Crossing the final ecological threshold in high Arctic ponds. PNAS 104 (30): 12395-12397.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • SVENDSEN J.I. and MANGERUD J.1997. Holocene glacial and climatic variations on Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The Holocene 7 (1): 45-57.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • VAN DER WAL R.S.W., MULVANEY R., ISAKSSON E., MOORE J.C., PINGLOT J.F., POHJOLA V.A. and THOMASSEN M.P.A. 2002. Reconstruction of the historical temperature trend from mea− surements in a medium−length borehole on the Lomonosovfonna plateau, Svalbard. Annals ofGlaciology 35: 371-378.Google Scholar

  • VOWINCKEL E. and ORVIG S. 1970. The climate of the North Polar Basin. In: S. Orvig (ed.) Climatesof the Polar Regions. Vol. 14. Elsevier, Amsterdam: 129-252.Google Scholar

  • WALVOORD M.A. and STREIGL R.G. 2007. Increased groundwater to stream discharge from perma− frost thawing in the Yukon River basin: Potential impact on lateral export of carbon and nitro− gen. Geophysical Research Letters 34: L12402.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • ZAGÓRSKI P. 2011. Shoreline dynamics of Calypsostranda (NW Wedel Jarlsberg Land, Svalbard) during the last century. Polish Polar Research 32 (1): 67-99. Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-04

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Polish Polar Research, Volume 34, Issue 4, Pages 353–374, ISSN (Online) 2081-8262, ISSN (Print) 0138-0338, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/popore-2013-0026.

Export Citation

This content is open access.

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Ireneusz Sobota, Piotr Weckwerth, Tomasz Grajewski, Michał Dziembowski, Katarzyna Greń, and Marcin Nowak
CATENA, 2018, Volume 160, Page 141
M.C. Strzelecki, M. Kasprzak, M. Lim, Z.M. Swirad, M. Jaskólski, Ł. Pawłowski, and P. Modzel
Science of The Total Environment, 2017, Volume 607-608, Page 443
Daniel Kępski, Bartłomiej Luks, Krzysztof Migała, Tomasz Wawrzyniak, Sebastian Westermann, and Bronisław Wojtuń
Remote Sensing, 2017, Volume 9, Number 7, Page 733
Ireneusz Sobota, Michał Dziembowski, Tomasz Grajewski, Piotr Weckwerth, Marcin Nowak, and Katarzyna Greń
Bulletin of Geography. Physical Geography Series, 2016, Volume 11, Number 1

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in