Multi-Parameter Protocol for Geocryological Test Site: A Case Study Applied for the European North of Russia

Vladislav Isaev, Arata Kioka, Pavel Kotov, Dmitrii O. Sergeev, Alexandra Uvarova, Andrey Koshurnikov, Oleg Komarov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


An increase in air temperature leads to a significant transformation of the relief and landscapes of the Arctic. The rate of permafrost degradation, posing a profound change in the Arctic landscape, depends on air temperature, vegetation cover, type of soils, surface and ground waters. The existing international circumpolar programs dedicated to monitoring the temperature state of permafrost TSP (Thermal State Permafrost) and active layer thickness CALM (Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring) are not sufficient for a comprehensive characterization of geocryological conditions. Yet, no standardized protocol exists for permafrost monitoring and related processes. Here, we propose a novel multi-parameter monitoring protocol and implement it for two sites in the European part of the Russian Arctic: the Yary site along the coast of the Baydaratskaya Bay in the Kara Sea (68.9° N) within the continuous permafrost area and the Hanovey site in the Komi Republic (67.3° N) within the discontinuous permafrost area. The protocol includes drilling boreholes, determining the composition and properties (vegetation cover and soils), snow cover measurement, geophysical imaging, active layer estimation and continuous ground temperature measurements. Ground temperature measured in 2014–2020 revealed that amplitudes of surface temperature fluctuations had no significant differences between the Yary and Hanovey sites, while that the mean annual temperatures between the areas had a considerable difference of greater than 3.0 °C. The period of the presence of the active layer changed with the year (e.g., ranging between 135 and 174 days in the Yary site), showing longer when the air temperatures in summer and the preceding winter were higher. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) allowed determining the permafrost distribution and active layer thicknesses. Thermometry results were consistent with our geophysical data. Analyzing the composition and properties of frozen soils helped better interpret the data of geophysical and temperature measurements. By integrating the study of the soil properties, ground temperatures, and ERT, our work allowed us to fully characterize these sites, suggesting that it helps better understand the thermal state at any other research sites in the European north of Russia. Our suggested monitoring protocol enables calibrating and verifying the numerical and analytical models of the heat transfer through the earth’s surface.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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