October 5, 2020
Field Observations of Wildfire Impacts Conducted in Batagai, NE Yakutia
From September 11 to 15, Alexander Fedorov, Alexey Desyatkin and Nikolay Fedorov visited the Batagai area in north-eastern Yakutia to carry out observations at wildfire burn sites. Field work included measurements of active-layer thickness, moisture content and temperature; sampling and description of soil horizons; surface leveling along the previously established profile; drilling and instrumentation of thermal boreholes; and UAV surveys at key sites to develop digital elevation models. The team also visited the Batagaika Crater for visual inspection and documentation of geocryological processes. This research is part of a RFBR-funded project in cooperation with the Institute of Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone aimed at assessing the effects of wildfire on the permafrost thermal regime, surface processes and landforms in the Verhkoyansk Upland.
Photographs below (l to r):
Gully development along a firebreak, 2018 burn (Photo by N. Fedorov)
Batagaika Crater (Photo by A. Desyatkin)
Measuring active-layer depth at a 2018 burn site (Photo by N. Fedorov)
September 25, 2020
MELNIKOV PERMAFROST INSTITUTE CELEBRATES A TRIPLE ANNIVERSARY
2020 marks a very special triple anniversary for the Melnikov Permafrost Institute. Sixty years ago, in 1960, the Melnikov Permafrost Institute was founded in Yakutsk as a successor to the Obruchev Institute of Permafrost Studies in Moscow. Its oldest regional unit, the Igarka Geocryological Laboratory, was established ninety years ago, and its Vilyui Permafrost Research Station was founded fifty five years ago.
The anniversary events will include:
September 28–30, 2020, Yakutsk - Conference on Environmental and Infrastructure Integrity in Permafrost Regions
The national conference with international participation will discuss the most important issues of permafrost research during the following sessions:
-- permafrost science issues; climate-change and anthropogenic impacts on environmental integrity;
-- surface and ground water interaction; hydrology and geochemistry of periglacial landscapes;
-- permafrost engineering issues; climate-change and anthropogenic impacts on infrastructure integrity;
-- Today’s Climate and Permafrost – a young researchers round-table discussion.
December 9, 2020, Yakutsk - Celebration events
14:00 Flower laying to P.I. Melnikov Bust
14:30 60th Anniversary Celebration Meeting of the MPI’s Scientific Council
-- Keynote talk by M.N. Zhelezniak, Director MPI: “Melnikov Permafrost Institute: History and Milestones”
-- Congratulatory speeches from officials, guests and MPI staff
-- Written greetings presented by M.N. Grigoriev, Vice Director
-- Award ceremony
-- Documentary show
17:00 Performance of Vozrozhdenie Chorus
July 03, 2020
Dr. Mikhail Zhelezniak Elected Sakha (Yakutia) Academy of Sciences Fellow
On July 2, 2020, the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) had its General Meeting to elect Academy President, Vice Presidents, Council Members and Fellows. Dr. Vasily Filippov was elected new President of the Academy, succeeding Prof. Igor Kolodeznikov who led the Academy from 2008 to 2019. Nine new Fellows were elected bringing the total number of full Fellows to 44. Those elected yesterday include MPI Director Dr. Mikhail Zhelezniak and Dr. Anatoly Nikolaev who was with MPI from 2001 to 2011 and now is Rector of the North-Eastern Federal University. MPI is also represented at the Academy by Professor Viktor Shepelev who was appointed to the Academy Council through this year’s election.
The Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is a public institution founded in 1993 under Executive Order of RS(Y) President Mikhail Nikolaev. The Academy seeks to contribute to society’s economic, social and cultural progress by advancing fundamental and applied research, promoting regional collaboration, connecting academia with industry and community, and providing scientific and policy advice. Research activities are conducted by the Academy’s permanent research groups (e.g., paleoenvironmental research of the mammoth fauna; ethnosocial and ethnoeconomic studies; and human history of the Arctic), as well as through establishing task forces (e.g., compilation of the Encyclopedia of Yakutia, synthesis of anthropogenic impacts on the Lena River, and seismotectonic analysis and seismic zonation of the Arctic shelves). Today’s immediate tasks for the Academy are to guide the elaboration of the 2020-2024 Research and Technological Development Plan of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and to complete the organizational phase of The North: A Territory of Sustainable Development, a collaborative network that is intended to bring together research centers, universities, schools and companies in Yakutia and North-East Russia.
August 21, 2020
MPI Participates in the Great Norilsk Expedition
From August 3 to 18, Sergey Serikov and Pavel Zabolotnik took part in the Great Norilsk Expedition in northern Krasnoyarsk Krai. This large-scale, multidisciplinary expedition was initiated by the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS) in cooperation with Nornickel in response to a massive diesel oil spill in the Arctic city of Norilsk. The expedition will continue from July to November 2020 and involve scientists from 14 member-institutes of the SB RAS. Its overall objective is to gain a holistic understanding of on-going anthropogenic and natural changes in order to develop specific recommendations and a general concept of economic management in the changing Arctic.
The first phase of the expedition included collection of water, bottom sediments, soils and plants in the Pyasina, Norilka and Ambarnoe Rivers and Pyasino Lake, as well as permafrost characterization in the oil spill area. The MPI scientists measured permafrost temperatures and thaw depths in the immediate vicinity of the failed storage tank. They also used the portable thermal probe designed by MPI to measure thermal conductivity and heat capacity of the soils. Field observations, drilling logs and remote sensing data will be used to characterize the current and future state of permafrost in the area.
On May 29, 2020, a fuel storage tank in the Norilsk Power Plant-3 failed, discharging about 21,000 cubic meters of diesel oil into the ground and local rivers and contaminating an area of 350 square kilometers. The incident is described as one of the largest oil spills in the Arctic with potentially catastrophic consequences for the environment.
June 25, 2020
MPI to Establish Test Sites on Regional Roads in Yakutia
In June 2020, MPI initiated a study under Contract OK-215, “Establishment of test sites on the regional road network in Yakutia for permafrost subgrade monitoring”. The first stage of the project involves the gathering of detailed information on current permafrost conditions under and adjacent to representative portions of Nam, Amga and Umnas, three major roads of regional significance. Researchers have begun work in key areas of the Nam Road between kilometer posts 36 and 38, 49 and 51, 63 and 64, and 70 and 72 to describe surface and subsurface conditions in adjacent terrain (300 m wide), to determine soil moisture contents and thaw depths, and to identify hazardous permafrost processes. A survey of pavement problems is underway.
98К-005 Nam is a 160.5-km-long road which links Yakutsk to the town of Namtsy via Zhatay and Kangalassy. 98K-003 Umnas is one of the longest roads in Yakutia with a total length of 1216.4 km of which 342 km is paved and the remaining part operates seasonally over land (~447 km) and over ice (~427 km). The route runs southwest along the Lena River from Yakutsk to Lensk. 98K-001 Amga is a 701.7-km route with a length of paved surface of about 571 km. The road starts at the junction of Federal Highway Lena near Nizhny Bestyakh and follows a mostly northwest/southeast course to Yugorenok. At many locations, the performance of the roads is unsatisfactory, primarily due to subgrade problems. The research program is intended to gain a better understanding of the factors influencing subgrade stability in order to improve road design and maintenance practices, as well as to provide a basis for developing a regional system of road performance monitoring.