Mountain Permafrost

Mountain permafrost is one of the key variables of the alpine cryosphere, classified as an essential climate variable (ECV) by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Permafrost is ground that remains continuously at or below 0°C for at least two consecutive years. In PAMIR, we will establish the observational evidence to explore the extent to which permafrost may thaw and degrade over the next decades. We will provide a new, complete and consistent permafrost database, characterising the ground thermal regime measured within boreholes, a network of near surface temperature measurements and ground ice content distribution in the Pamir to assess its current state, impacts on runoff and slope stability. Ground ice content must instead be quantified within different landforms and substrates through direct (drilling) or semi-direct investigations such as cost-effective geophysical techniques. We propose an extensive permafrost investigation network using the well-established geophysical surveying techniques of Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and Refraction Seismics Tomography (RST), and innovative petrophysical modelling to map and monitor permafrost and its state variables.

Cluster Participants

Martin Hoelzle, Professor, UniFr. Cluster PI.

Christian Hauck, Professor, UniFr. Permafrost geophysical prospection and permafrost modelling.

Reynald Delaloye, Professor, UniFr. Mountain geomorphology and rock glacier dynamics.

Tomas Saks, Senior scientist, UniFr. Dating in alpine environments and main local coordinator.

Christin Hilbich, Senior scientist, UniFr. Near surface geophysics, near surface geophysics.

Tamara Mathys, PhD candidate, UniFr. Permafrost distribution, near surface geophysics.

Joel Fiddes, Senior scientist, SLF. Snow and permafrost modelling, downscaling of climate data.

Francesca Pellicciotti, Senior scientist, WSL. Permafrost integration in land-surface model.

Christoph Raible, Professor, UniBe. Climate system modelling.

Devis Tuia, Associate Professor, EPFL. Remote sensing, machine learning for data interpretation.

Local Partners

Abdulhamid Kayumov, Professor and Director, CGR-TAS, Tajikistan. Pamir glacier expert, logistics, permitting, interface with local stakeholders.

Bolot Moldobekov, Professor and Director, CAIAG, Kyrgyzstan. Glacier expert, logistical support.

Murataly Duishunakonov, Professor, KNU, Kyrgyzstan. Glacier expert and local logistical support.

Farid Salihov, Professor, MSU, Tajikistan. Head of permafrost research group, local coordinator of permafrost field activities, permitting, access and interface with local stakeholders.

Tohir Sabzaliev, Head of AKAH SDI Unit, Tajikistan. Logistical support, interface with local stakeholders, coordination of permafrost and hazard related activities.

Muhammadamin Magdiev, Postdoc, MSU. Permafrost-related fieldwork and data analysis.

Madina Davlatova, PhD candidate, MSU. Permafrost-related fieldwork and data analysis.

Abuali Najotov, PhD candidate, MSU. Permafrost-related fieldwork and data analysis.

Faridun Kholmurodov, PhD candidate, MSU. Permafrost-related fieldwork and data analysis.

International Partners

Tobias Bolch, Senior scientist, St Andrews University, UK. Rock glacier mapping in Central Asia

Désirée Treichler, UiO, Norway. Snow depths from remote sensing, climate reanalyses

Sergey Marchenko, UAF, USA. Specialist in Central Asian permafrost occurrence