The purpose of this study was to present the current state of avifauna in the vicinity of Polish Polar Station, at Hornsund (SW Spitsbergen). During four seasons (2003-2006) ten bird species were recorded as breeding there. Among them colonial little auk and Arctic tern were most abundant. Six additional species were noted during the breeding season but none of them bred there and their visits in the study plots were a consequence of their nesting nearby study area. Remaining 11 species were recorded during migration. The most pronounced changes over the last 35 years has been a considerable increase in number of barnacle geese exploiting the tundra as their foraging and resting area.
The Hornsund region is characterised by a topoclimatic variation, which results principally from the local orography, the vicinity of open sea and the two contrasting environments: non-glaciated and glaciated. The specific types of atmospheric circulation determine the local thermal differences. The west coast is characterised by the most favourable thermal conditions, where air temperature is largely determined by foehn processes. The temperature at the Baranowski Station is 0.8°C higher on average than that of the Polish Polar Station on the northern shore of Hornsund . The temperature in the northern shore of the fjord happens to be higher than that on the west coast, which is attributed to the NW cyclonic inflow of cool Arctic air masses. During intermediate weather, when ground frost-thaw takes place, the northern shore of Hornsund is warmer by 0.5°C ; whereas, during moderately frosty weather, it is warmer by 0.2°C than the west coast. The differences result from the effect of the warmer fjord waters on the surrounding air temperature. During moderately warm weather, more favourable conditions occur near the Baranowski Station, expressed by the mean temperature difference of 0.9°C. The greatest temperature difference of 1.5°C on average is normally recorded during warm weather.
Studies of the Quaternary evolution of the Hornsund Region in Spitsbergen focused in nine key areas, in which detailed fieldworks with mapping and sampling to radiocarbon and thermoluminescence analyses have been done. Glacial history of the Hornsund Region is known from the Torellkjegla (Holsteinian) Interglacial up to the recent times. The Wedel Jarlsberg Land (Saalian) Glaciation was the most widespread in this part of Spitsbergen and consisted of two stades(?). It was followed by considerable glacier retreat during the Bogstranda (Eemian) Interglacial, the latter being represented by development of soils. Four glacier advances (the two younger ones are the Lisbetdalen and the Slaklidalen stages) occurred during the Sörkapp Land (Vistulian) Glaciation. Three glacier advances (Gronfjorden and Revdalen stages, followed by the Little Ice Age) were recognized for the Holocene. The oldest and highest (although somewhat questionable) raised marine beaches come presumably from the Wedel Jarlsberg Land Glaciation. The beaches 80-100 m a.s.l. were formed during the Bogstranda (Eemian) Interglacial. The beaches 20-60 m a.s.l. are correlated with the Sórkapp Land Glaciation. All the lower marine beaches were formed during the Holocene.
The thermal state of permafrost is a crucial indicator of environmental changes occurring in the Arctic. The monitoring of ground temperatures in Svalbard has been carried out in instrumented boreholes, although only few are deeper than 10 m and none are located in southern part of Spitsbergen. Only one of them, Janssonhaugen, located in central part of the island, provides the ground temperature data down to 100 m. Recent studies have proved that significant warming of the ground surface temperatures, observed especially in the last three decades, can be detected not only just few meters below the surface, but reaches much deeper layers. The aim of this paper is evaluation of the permafrost state in the vicinity of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund using the numerical heat transfer model CryoGrid 2. The model is calibrated with ground temperature data collected from a 2 m deep borehole established in 2013 and then validated with data from the period 1990-2014 from five depths up to 1 m, measured routinely at the Hornsund meteorological station. The study estimates modelled ground thermal profile down to 100 m in depth and presents the evolution of the ground thermal regime in the last 25 years. The simulated subsurface temperature trumpet shows that multiannual variability in that period can reach 25 m in depth. The changes of the ground thermal regime correspond to an increasing trend of air temperatures observed in Hornsund and general warming across Svalbard.
This paper presents a detailed study of melting processes conducted on Hansbreen - a tidewater glacier terminating in the Hornsund fjord, Spitsbergen. The fieldwork was carried out from April to July 2010. The study included observations of meltwater distribution within snow profiles in different locations and determination of its penetration time to the glacier ice surface. In addition, the variability of the snow temperature and heat transfer within the snow cover were measured. The main objective concerns the impact of meltwater on the diversity of physical characteristics of the snow cover and its melting dynamics. The obtained results indicate a time delay between the beginning of the melting processes and meltwater reaching the ice surface. The time necessary for meltwater to percolate through the entire snowpack in both, the ablation zone and the equilibrium line zone amounted to c. 12 days, despite a much greater snow depth at the upper site. An elongated retention of meltwater in the lower part of the glacier was caused by a higher amount of icy layers (ice formations and melt-freeze crusts), resulting from winter thaws, which delayed water penetration. For this reason, a reconstruction of rain-on-snow events was carried out. Such results give new insight into the processes of the reactivation of the glacier drainage system and the release of freshwater into the sea after the winter period.
Five species of Tardigrada were found in two moss samples collected from the Hornsund area (Ariekammen, Spitsbergen) including one new to science. The new species, Isohypsibius karenae sp. n., differs from the other similar congeners mainly by having a different type of cuticular sculpture, a different macroplacoid length sequence, by the presence of lunules and cuticular bars under claws as well as by some morphometric characters. The current study increases the number of Isohypsibius species known from Svalbard to thirteen.
This paper describes in detail the phe notypic traits of the newly discovered Leptolyngbya sieminskae sp. n. (Cyanobacteria). The species was found at two islands of the Svalbard archipelago (Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet) in habitats which differed in humidity, water sources and altitude. The research was conducted at two fjords: on the southern side of Spitsbergen – Hornsund (77 ° N, 015 ° E) and the north−west side of Nordaustlandet – Murchisonfjord (80 ° N, 018 ° E). Although Leptolyngbya sieminskae was found in different latitudes no significant morphological differences were found between the specimens from both sites. The only visible difference is in the thickness of filaments and sheaths.
Hornsund, an Arctic fjord in the west coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard), was selected as All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) site under EU 5th Framework Concerted Action BIOMARE (2000–2002), especially due to its pristine, undisturbed natural character. On the base of large material (89 stations located throughout the fjord and 129 Van Veen grab samples) collected during cruises of RV Oceania in July in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007 and literature search a comprehensive list of species recorded within Hornsund area, on the soft bottom with depth range of 30–250 m is provided. Over 220 species were identified including 93 species of Polychaeta, 62 species of Mollusca and 58 species of Crustacea. Species list is supported by information on the zoogeographical status, body length and biological traits of dominant species. Need for further research on Hornsund soft bottom fauna with more sampling effort is highlighted.
Determination of High Arctic regions bathymetry is strictly dependent from weather and ice mass quantity. Due to safety, it is often necessary to use a small boat to study fjords area, especially close to glaciers with unknown bathymetry. This precludes the use of modern multi−beam echosounders, and so traditional single−beam echosounders have been used for bathymetry profiling. Adequate interpolation techniques were determined for the most probable morphological formations in−between bathymetric profiles. Choosing the most accurate interpolation method allows for the determination of geographical regionalisation of submarine elevations of the Brepollen area (inner part of Hornsund, Spitsbergen). It has also been found that bathymetric interpolations should be performed on averaged grid values, rather than individual records. The Ordinary Kriging Method was identified as the most adequate for interpolations and was compared with multi beam scanning, which was possible to make due to a previously modelled single beam interpolation map. In total, eight geographical units were separated in Brepollen, based on the bathymetry, slope and aspect maps. Presented results provide a truly new image of the area, which allow for further understanding of past and present processes in the High Arctic.
Glacierized fjords are dynamic regions, with variable oceanographic conditions and complex ice−ocean interactions, which are still poorly understood. Recent studies have shown that passive underwater acoustics offers new promising tools in this branch of polar research. Here, we present results from two field campaigns, conducted in summer 2013 and spring 2014. Several recordings with a bespoke two−hydrophone acoustic buoy were made in different parts of Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen in the vicinity of tidewater glaciers to study the directionality of underwater ambient noise. Representative segments of the data are used to illustrate the analyses, and determine the directions of sound sources by using the time differences of arrivals between two horizontally aligned, broadband hydrophones. The results reveal that low frequency noise (< 3 kHz) is radiated mostly from the ice cliffs, while high−frequency (> 3 kHz) noise directionality strongly depends on the distribution of floating glacial ice throughout the fjord. Changing rates of iceberg production as seen for example in field photographs and logs are, in turn, most likely linked to signal amplitudes for relevant directions. These findings demonstrate the potential offered by passive acoustics to study the dynamics of individual tidewater glaciers.
A section of a gravel−dominated coast in Isbjørnhamna (Hornsund, Svalbard) was analysed to calculate the rate of shoreline changes and explain processes controlling coastal zone development over last 50 years. Between 1960 and 2011, coastal landscape of Isbjørnhamna experienced a significant shift from dominated by influence of tide−water glacier and protected by prolonged sea−ice conditions towards storm−affected and rapidly changing coast. Information derived from analyses of aerial images and geomorphological mapping shows that the Isbjørnhamna coastal zone is dominated by coastal erosion resulting in a shore area reduction of more than 31,600 m 2 . With ~3,500 m 2 of local aggradation, the general balance of changes in the study area of the shore is negative, and amounts to a loss of more than 28,000 m 2 . Mean shoreline change is −13.1 m (−0.26 m a −1 ). Erosional processes threaten the Polish Polar Station infrastructure and may damage of one of the storage buildings in nearby future.
This paper presents the results of direct 3−D fault displacement monitoring along the northern shore of Hornsund Fjord, SW Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The fault displacements have been recorded using three permanently installed optical−mechanical crack gauges since 2009. The monitoring data from all three sites provided evidence for a remarkable slip event that lasted from September 2011 to May 2012. The cause is discussed in some detail with consideration given to both exogenic (temperature changes, surface processes) and endogenic processes (isostatic rebound and regional seismicity). It is proposed that transient fault slips recorded had a tectonic origin and were caused by approximately W−E oriented compression corresponding to regional compression in the Svalbard area.
Significant retreat of glaciers terminating in Hornsund Fjord (Southern Spits− bergen, Svalbard) has been observed during the 20th century and in the first decade of the 21st century. The objective of this paper is to present, as complete as possible, a record of front positions changes of 14 tidewater glaciers during this period and to distinguish the main factors influencing their fluctuations. Results are based on a GIS analysis of archival maps, field measurements, and aerial and satellite images. Accuracy was based on an assessment of seasonal fluctuations of a glacier’s ice cliff position with respect to its mini− mum length in winter (November–December) and its maximum advance position in June or July. Morphometric features and the environmental setting of each glacier are also presented. The total area of the glacier cover in Hornsund Fjord in the period of 1899–2010 diminished approximately 172 km 2 , with an average areal retreat rate of 1.6 km 2 a −1 .The recession rate increased from ~1 km 2 a −1 in first decades of the 20th century up to ~3 km 2 a −1 in years 2001–2010. The latest period was more thoroughly studied using optical satellite images acquired almost every year. The importance of glacier morphology and hypsometry, as well as fjord bathymetry and topography is analyzed. Large glacier systems with low slopes terminating in deeper waters are retreating faster than small steep glaciers terminating in shallower water. A relation between mean annual air temperature and aerial retreat rate of tidewater glaciers was found for long time scales. A sudden temperature in − crease, known as the early 20th century warming in Svalbard, and an increase in temperatures during recent decades are well reflected in deglaciation rate. Influence of sea water temperatures on calving and retreat of glaciers was considered and is significant in short−time intervals of the last decade. Surge events are non−climatic factors which com − plicate the record. They are reflected in front advance or fast retreat due to a massive calving depending on the relation between ice thickness and water depth. Despite the influence of many factors, the response of tidewater glaciers to climate change is evident. The average linear retreat rate of all the tidewater glaciers in Hornsund amounted to ~70 ma −1 in 2001–2010 and was higher than the average retreat of other Svalbard tidewater glaciers (~45 ma −1 ). Thus, glaciers of this basin can be considered as more sensitive to climate than glaciers of other regions of the archipelago.