Sponsored by the Geomorphology Specialty Group
Association of American Geographers 102nd Annual Meeting
Chicago, Illinois, March 7-11.
The International Polar Years and Geography: A Legacy for the Future II
Paper Session 3209
Thursday, 3/9/06, from 10:00 AM - 11:40 AM
Geomorphology Specialty Group
Climate Specialty Group
Cryosphere Specialty Group
Association History Committee
Fredrick E. Nelson - University of Delaware
Fredrick E. Nelson - University of Delaware
10:00 AM Author(s):
*Nancy C. Doubleday, PhD - Carleton University
Abstract Title: Innovation, Knowledge Integration and Geography: The IGU Commission on Cold Region Environments
Geography as an integrative discipline has been identified as having the potential to make an innovative and distinctive contribution to Earth System Science (ESS) (Pitman, 2005). The inauguration of the Commission on Cold Region Environments (C-CRE) by the International Geographical Union (IGU), is examined as a step toward the objective of integration. In addition, other questions of knowledge integration, such as approaches to the inclusion of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Inuit Quajimaqatuqangit (IQ, Inuit Knowledge) must also be addressed from the standpoint of enhancing the adaptive capacity of social-ecological-cultural systems. Analysis of long-term change in cold region environments indicates that rates of change are themselves changing. Human impacts on land-use have the potential to exacerbate these changes, leading in turn to further impacts on the cryosphere. If human systems are to develop appropriate and effective responses to global systems changes in the face of high levels of uncertainty, it is necessary to increase redundancy in data. One way to do this is to diversify the sources and types of knowledge considered, and a second is to integrate knowledge from a wide range of sources in framing research questions. With a strong mandate to integrate social and environmental sciences for better understanding of long-term change in polar and high altitude regions, C-CRE is uniquely positioned to formulate forward-looking research questions in the context of environmental change and human futures. The C-CRE proposal for a project for the International Polar Year (IPY) is discussed as an example.
Keywords: IGU, cold regions, cryosphere, knowledge integration
- 10:20 AM Author(s):
*Katrina Dean, Dr. - University of Bristol
Simon K. Naylor, Dr. - University of Bristol
Martin Siegert, Professor - University of Bristol
Abstract Title: A history of subglacial exploration in Antarctica
How can the depth of the Antarctic ice-sheet be measured and what is the shape of the landmass beneath? These questions have preoccupied scientists and explorers for much of the twentieth century. Whilst the 1949-52 Norwegian- British-Swedish Expedition produced limited seismic measurements of ice thickness on the grounded ice sheet, it was the International Geophysical Year (1957-8) that marked a watershed in understandings. Oversnow traverses made during and subsequent to the IGY included seismic soundings as part of their program. New understandings of the propagation of radio waves through ice during the IGY opened up the possibility of carrying out surveys using radio-echo sounding (RES). Following a period of development in radioglaciology, and experiments during the 1950s and 1960s, the desirability of aerial surveying using this technique in Antarctica was addressed by key institutions. Collaborations between British and American scientists, the American National Science Foundation and the US Navy - and later the Technical University of Denmark - developed an extensive survey of the continent using long- range aircraft. This paper presents a previously untold history of this programme, and reflects on why the survey ended with the 1978-9 field season before the stated goal of a 100 km grid network survey of the whole of Antarctica was completed. It is an opportune time to consider this history because one of the programmes that has been accepted under the next IPY (conditional on funding) is an extension of the long-range RES surveys.
Keywords: Antarctica, radio-echo sounding, survey, IGY 1957-8
- 10:40 AM Author(s):
*Tingjun Zhang - University of Colorado
Mark A. Parsons - National Snow and Ice Data Center
Roger G Barry - National Snow and Ice Data Center
Abstract Title: Statistics of Global Permafrost Distribution
Permafrost distribution is of major concern to scientists and engineers working on global change studies, resource development, foundation design, and protection of the environment in cold regions. To address this concern, mapping of permafrost distribution has been a preoccupation of geologists and geocryologists for at least the past 50 years. This presentation presents an evaluation of global permafrost distribution based on data and information from (i) the International Permafrost Association (IPA) Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground-Ice Conditions (Brown et al., 1997; Zhang et al., 1999), (ii) research results from global mountain glacier studies (Dyurgerov and Meier, 2005), and (iii) results from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet studies (CliC Science Plan, 2004). Following the conventional permafrost definition, we divide global permafrost into four major categories: (i) terrestrial permafrost, (ii) subsea permafrost, (iii) subice permafrost, and (iv) relic permafrost. We further present statistics on permafrost distribution by regions and countries. Preliminary results indicate that the global permafrost area is about 41.4 million squared kilometers or approximately 28.2% of the global land area (including ice sheets but excluding ice shelves). Terrestrial permafrost accounts for about 56% of global permafrost and approximately 70% of global permafrost is located in the Northern Hemisphere. Permafrost exists in 48 different countries; the top five by permafrost area are: Russia, Canada, China, United States, and Mongolia, which together account for about 95% of global terrestrial permafrost. Areas needing further study, including uncertainties and permafrost distribution in the Southern Hemisphere, are identified and will be discussed.
Keywords: global, permafrost
- 11:00 AM Author(s):
*Gwangyong Choi - Rutgers University
David A. Robinson - Rutgers University
Abstract Title: Recent Spring Onset in the Northern Hemisphere
Climate fluctuations appear not only in temperature time series for a month or rigidly-defined season (e.g., Winter = December-February) but also in the onset and culmination of seasons as defined by non-fixed calendar approach. Intraannual progressions of temperature, snow extent, and vegetation cover are good indicators for detecting these changes in seasonal cycles. In the context of recent significant warming trends in winter, spring onset is defined, and the changes of its spatial patterns are examined for the Northern Hemisphere in this study. Potential mechanisms associated with the recent earlier onset in the Northern Hemisphere will be discussed, by comparing spatial patterns of recent spring onset with atmospheric circulation indices.
Keywords: spring onset, Northern Hemisphere, temperature, snow cover, vegetation, atmospheric circulation, climate change.
Session Description: This series of three special paper sessions are co-sponsored by the Coastal and Marine Geography (CoMa) and Geomorphology specialty groups. The research presented in the paper sessions cover a broad spectrum of spatial and temporal scales within aeolian geomorphology.