PROGRAM TITLE: 	High Latitude Dynamics, Impacts of Climate 
Change on Energy Fluxes, Surficial Processes and Stability in 
Permafrost Regions
ACTIVITY STREAMS: 	Process Studies, Observe/Data Management
SCIENCE ELEMENT: 	Solid Earth Processes

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
U.S. ARMY COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING (CRREL) 
HANOVER, NH

SCIENTIFIC MERIT:  In permafrost regions, a warming of +3 to +10 C 
would modify the thermal regime, increase thaw depths, and alter 
the stability of frozen ground and the occurrence and intensity of 
surficial processes.  Such changes have been demonstrated to occur 
over very short periods (3-5 years) from the recent analysis of the 
GISP II ice core.  Resultant modifications to terrain will impact 
nearly all human activities.  GCM models are generally unverified 
for Arctic regions because climate, energy flux, ground temperature 
and surficial process relationships are poorly defined.

Process-oriented studies will analyze the quantitative 
relationships between climatic parameters (e.g. temperature, 
precipitation, insolation), energy fluxes, and surficial processes in 
upland and lowland/valley systems, utilizing CRREL and USDA-FS 
climatic data currently monitored at sites within the continuous, 
discontinuous and sporadic permafrost zones in Alaska.  
Under associated funding (SERDP) deep (>200m) and shallow 
boreholes are being drilled to obtain geological, temperature and 
related data coincident with measured surface energy fluxes.  
Borehole studies will provide paleo- and long-term data for 
temperature/energy flux modeling, surficial process definition and 
GCM verification within the last 2-3 centuries for these regions.

Complete energy budget meteorological stations have been installed 
at the sites and process studies for the energy regimes in shallow 
permafrost depths have begun.  One journal article, 7 conference 
reports and 3 in-house reports were completed during FY93.  Deep 
borehole drilling will commence in late FY93 or early FY94 with 3 
holes tentatively planned for central and northern Alaska.

STAKEHOLDERS:  This effort is the analysis component of the deep 
borehole efforts funded by SERDP.  In addition the Russian 
Permafrost Institute, the Chinese Institute for Permafrost and the 
Canadian Geological Survey have pledged development of 
comparable monitoring sites to form a circumpolar network. 
 Cooperative work is being done with the USGS on surficial processes 
in northern Alaska as well as cooperative efforts with USDA, USDOT 
and NASA.  The University of Alaska - Fairbanks is a partner in the 
analysis components of these efforts.

POLICY RELEVANCE:  The infrastructure in Alaska and the Arctic in 
general is very vulnerable to changes in the active zone of 
permafrost and the longer term recession of permafrost.  
Determining the rate of changes in the permafrost and the impacts 
on the surficial regime is critical to defining policy for the security 
and stability of major transportation, energy and civilian infrastructure 
systems.  This knowledge will for the basis for long term decisions on 
infrastructure vulnerability and response strategies necessary to cope with 
current and anticipated changes in permafrost terrain.  

This is important to the military because of the many strategic 
facilities and installations located in the north.  It is of equal 
importance to the private sector and state and local governments in 
Alaska.

PROGRAM CONTACT:  Dr L.E. Link, Director, U.S. Army Cold Regions 
Research and Engineering Laboratory, 72 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH 
03755 (603) 646 4201