Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: The Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring Network--CALM III: Long-term Observations on the Climate-Active Layer-Permafrost System (Award# 0856421)

PI: Shiklomanov, Nikolay I ( )
Phone: (202) 994.3966 
Institute/Department: George Washington University, Dept. of Geography 
IPY Project? NO
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\AON
Program Manager: Dr. Martin Jeffries (
Discipline(s): | Cryosphere\Permafrost | Meteorology and Climate |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This award will support the continuation of the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) program as an integral part of the Arctic Observing Network (AON) and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). The active-layer network of 168 sites represents the only coordinated and standardized program of observations using standard measurement protocols designed to observe and detect decadal changes in the dynamics of seasonal thawing and freezing in high-latitude soils. The 'Intellectual Merit' of this study lies in the need for long-term time series of active layer depth, ground temperature, and thaw settlement measurements at the same locations and across diverse terrain types and regions in order to identify scales of spatial variation, establish trends, and validate models. The data will also contribute to detailed process studies, and validating and developing climate change, ecology, hydrology and geocryology models. Education and outreach are essential components of the 'Broader Impacts' of CALM. The project will provide opportunities for field experience and educational participation at levels ranging from elementary school through postdoctoral. Local, predominantly indigenous people, will assist with the observations at remote sites. CALM will continue to incorporate data into its Web-based database, and transfer all existing and new data to the AON archive CADIS.

Logistics Summary:
The Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring Network (CALM), established in the early 1990s, observes the long-term response of the active layer and near-surface permafrost to changes and variations in climate at more than 125 sites the world over. This grant continues operation of the monitoring network at 41 sites each in Alaska and Russia, and funds annual visits to many of the sites, from 2009 to 2013. (All Canadian and Nordic CALM sites are managed by others and not part of this grant.) Alaska CALM sites include ten 1 km2 grids at Atqasuk, Barrow, Ivotuk, Betty Pingo, West Dock, Happy Valley, Imnavait Creek, Toolik Lake, Kougaruk and Council, and ten smaller plots in the Kuparuk River basin. Several research groups will maintain the CALM sites, with responsibilities being assigned geographically: one group will focus on eastern sites along Dalton Highway; another will focus on Barrow-area sites; and a third will focus on the Seward Peninsula area. Researchers will make subsidence measurements using DGPS and LIDAR annually in late August. In addition, in 2010 and 2013, they will take cores along two transects in April, and then measure ground heave in mid-June. To maximize logistics, researchers will combine sites in the Anadyr’ region of Chukotka with the Seward Peninsula work. The Russian CALM network extends from the European tundra of the Pechora and Vorkuta regions to West Siberia and the Lena Delta, eastward to the lower Kolyma River, and to Chukotka and Kamchatka. Russian sites have grids ranging from 100 m2 to 1 km2, and most of these sites are within the continuous permafrost zone. Field work in Russia will be conducted annually during June-September by eight field parties from different research and educational institutions. Senior personnel and graduate students will attempt visits to as many Russian sites as possible and as budgets allow from 2009 to 2013. Majority of field work in Russia will be funded from collaborating Russian Institutions with small contribution from the CALM grant. However, annual logistic support is requested for work in Low Kalyma region (Cherskii) and Lavrentia area of Chukotka. In August of 2009, teams of up to 5 people will visit CALM sites around Alaska. US investigators plan no Russian visits in 2009; however, Russian collaborators do plan some efforts. Note: While this grant was in effect, the PI moved to George Washington University necessitating that NSF issue the project a new grant. For information related to work conducted beginning in 2010 see 1002119.

CPS will provide support for sites in the Toolik Lake, Prudhoe Bay, Seward Peninsula, Barrow, Atqasuk, Ivotuk, as well as in Lavrentiya, and the Kolyma Lowlands region. In Alaska CPS support will include sat phones and radios; user days at Toolik and Prudhoe Bay as well as Nome, Barrow, and Atqasuk lodging; fixed-wing charters to Ivotuk and helicopter support at Toolik and on the Seward Peninsula; truck rentals from Prudhoe Bay, Fairbanks, Nome, and Barrow; snowmachine rentals at Barrow for spring work; and temporary staffing assistance for CALM grid measurements at Barrow for spring work. CPS will provide Barrow and Atqasuk support via subcontracts with CPS collaborators BTS and BASC. In Russia, CPS will contract with CSSG for Chukotka sampling assistance and with the Northeast Science Station for Kolyma River-area sampling assistance. UNAVCO will provide DGPS and LIDAR support, and CRDF will provide assistance as needed with funds transfer into Russia by the grant. The researchers will pay from the grant for all other logistics not outlined above.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2009Alaska - Atqasuk08 / 19 / 2009 08 / 19 / 20094
2009Alaska - Council08 / 21 / 2009 08 / 25 / 20094
2009Alaska - Ivotuk08 / 17 / 2009 08 / 17 / 20093
2009Alaska - Nome08 / 21 / 2009 08 / 25 / 20094
2009Alaska - Prudhoe Bay08 / 15 / 2009 08 / 21 / 20095
2009Alaska - Seward Peninsula08 / 21 / 2009 08 / 25 / 20094
2009Alaska - Toolik08 / 10 / 2009 08 / 15 / 20095
2009Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)08 / 13 / 2009 08 / 21 / 20094
2009Russia - Lavrentiya09 / 01 / 2009 09 / 30 / 20092

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