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Antarctic Permafrost and Soils

Project Description
Antarctic permafrost forms an integral part of the terrestrial cryosphere, yet information on its distribution, thickness, age, and physical and geochemical properties is highly fragmented and absent for large sectors of the region. At the same time, active layer and permafrost conditions are increasingly recognized to be highly sensitive to climate change. Such changes can create important responses in regional hydrology, ecosystems functioning, landscape stability and human environmental impacts. At the same time Antarctic permafrost and soils archive high resolution long-term (Ma) records of past environmental change and biological activity.

The combined IPA working group on Antarctic Permafrost and SCAR expert group on Antarctic Soils, Permafrost and Periglacial Environments, in close working relationship with the IUSS cryosols group, have launched the ANTPAS project to address some of the current shortcomings and research needs. The overall aim is to develop an internationally coordinated, web-accessible, database and monitoring system on Antarctic permafrost and soils. Specific objectives are:

A common, web-accessible repository for permafrost and soils data.

The production of thematic maps on Antarctic permafrost and soils.

A system of boreholes providing data on permafrost and soils properties, records of past environmental change, and recording permafrost responses to climate change.

A well-designed monitoring system recording active layer and periglacial process responses to climate change along selected environmental gradients.

ANTPAS is an IPY endorsed activity.

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