Earth Cryology: XXI century. September 29 - October 3, 2013

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Brief report on Conference by Dr. Lutz Schirrmeister

Brief report on section "Permafrost warming and thawing, long-term monitoring” 
by Dmitry Streletskiy

Abstracts

A tribute to David Gilichinsky and the Pushchino Conferences 
by Dr. Jerry Brown

Photos by Alexey Lupachev

Report by Pushchino TV

 report on Conference 
by Dr. Lutz Schirrmeister

Alfred Wegener Institute 
Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research
Department of Periglacial Research, 
Potsdam, German

The International Conference "Earth Cryology: XXI Century" was held in Pushchino, near Moscow (Russia) from September 29 to October 3, 2013. This conference carried on the tradition of Russian permafrost conferences with international contribution starting in 1991 in Pushchino. It was dedicated to David Gilichinsky who initiated, organized and struggled for this international science meeting for many years. 
The conference was held again in the building of the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences, where was space for eleven oral sessions, some round table discussions as well as four days of different poster sessions. The scientific umbrella was widely stretched from permafrost and its reaction on global warming to permafrost engineering, from paleoenvironmental reconstruction using frozen deposits to microbiology and astrobiology in connection with cold conditions. Finally the topics of the conference included all the most current issues of permafrost research, bringing together scientist working on similar research questions but in different regions, mainly of the Arctic and Antarctic. In this context, the decision made by the organizers not to conduct parallel conference sessions was essential to favor mutual knowledge and strengthened the understanding between participants and various disciplines. 
There was almost always enough time for questions, which often led to collegial discussions to both the talks and on the posters. Thanks to the high level simultaneous translation into English, foreign participants could easily follow even the liveliest discussions of our Russian colleagues. And there was (also traditionally) a very beautiful and emotional banquet that ends up very peppy. Numerous talks, posters and important conversations "in-between" proved the wide international contacts of Russian permafrost researchers. The participation of larger groups from Alaska and Germany and researchers from other countries underlined the international character this conference series. A point of particular note is the active participation of young graduates from a variety of institutes and universities in Russia and from abroad, who take up still unresolved research questions in geocryology. The next conference in Pushchino is planned for spring 2015.

 
"Permafrost warming and thawing, long-term monitoring” 

by Dmitry Streletskiy

Department of Geography, 
The George Washington University, 
Washington, USA.

Section titled "Permafrost warming and thawing, long-term monitoring” was represented by 5 oral presentations. The presentations focused on a wide range of theoretical and practical aspects of permafrost and active layer monitoring under warming climatic conditions. The geography of presentations was diverse ranging from coastal plains and foothills of Alaska to plateaus of East Siberia and to high mountain regions of sub-equatorial and tropical volcanoes. N. Shiklomanov and D. Streletskiy gave overview of the CALM program milestones, while V. Romanovsky gave a brief overview of TSP in Alaska and Russia. M. Zhelezniak presented amd update of the state of permafrost monitoring in East Siberia showing that despite very large area and relatively limited resources, permafrost monitoring network is developing in this region. Presentation of V. Romanovsky and D. Nicolsky showcased the importance of unfrozen water in permafrost and argued that permafrost warming can propagate into permafrost past zero curtain at the top and bottom boundaries. D. Streletskiy et al based on 10 years of subsidence monitoring in Alaska argued that long term isotropic subsidence occurring over relatively large areas due to warming climate alone and is not related to any initial disturbances of vegetation. Overall session showcase the importance of permafrost and active layer monitoring under changing climatic conditions. The participants agreed that it is critically important not only to continue monitoring at existing locations, but to develop new sites. Due to logistical and financial difficulties of individual institutions currently involved in permafrost monitoring it was brought to attention to recommend governmental institutes (such as RosHydromet) to participate in measurements of permafrost parameters at weather stations located on permafrost.