Great ablation of the Werenskiold Glacier created the need of recording the changes particularly superficial ones, after melting of its icingsGround stereophotogrammetric photos done during the Polar Expedition of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1983 enabled to prepare a map in the scale of 1:10,000 covering by its two sheets the whole glacier, a system of open crevasses inclusive. The map presents the actual state of the glacier and enables a comparison with earlier photogrammetric measurements carried out several times since 1957.
In the bottom fauna of the Van Keulen fiord 53 taxa of invertebrates (51 species) were recorded. Four different bottom types were sampled and the distribution of invertebrates in these bottom types is discussed. The most important components in the benthos of the fiord were Polvchaeta. Crustacea. Bivalvia and Gastropoda (79.2%). From the zoogeographical point of view the Van Keulen fiord should be included into the transient zone, situated at the border of the boreal and arctic zones.
Archaeological investigations were carried out on Sörkappland, the results together with literature data permitted to draw the past distribution of walruses at South Spitsbergen. Recent observations of walruses and marine biological survey indicate good perspectives for the recolonisation of investigated area by walrus population from East Svalbard region.
Methods and results of mass movement measurements on mountain slopes in northwestern Wedel Jarlsberg Land are presented in connection with morphoclimatic zones. Debris movement was investigated using fishing nets while movement of solifluction tonques was studied with series of nails. Marks and lines crosswise the investigated forms were also painted. Creeping of stone belts was measured with a use of tree-nails. Observations of these measuring points after twelve months show usability of employed methods for a record of mass movements.
Botanic investigations were carried through on the Calypsostranda strandflat, southern coast of Bellsund. Among flora communities 35 moss species were distinguished. Connections between moss habitats and ecologic conditions were studied.
Mapping and analysis of air photos enabled preparation of a photogeological map of the Hansbreen-Sofiekammen region in a scale of 1 : 10,000. Glacial, slope and marine landforms and sediments were distinguished. Supplied with thermoluminescence and radiocarbon data, a morphogenetic evolution of the area could be presented. Four Pleistocene and Holocene glacier advances were distinguished. Seven raised marine beaches result from the Pleistocene and the Holocene uplift of the land.
Average duration of a thermal winter in Hornsund has been determined for 216 days. Average soil temperature at depth of 5 cm in winter is equal —9.8°C. During a spring that lasts 35 days only, soil temperatures at depth of 5 cm indicate distribution nearest to a normal one. Soil temperature distribution in winter substantially differs from the one in spring.
Relief of Svalbard is an effect of varied morphogenetic, exogenic and endogenic processes. Tectonic and glacioisostatic movements of the Earth crust have occurred many a time in this region. Glacial, marine and periglacial features are particularly common. During the Late Quaternary the western Nordenskiöld Land underwent several sea transgressions, followed by glacier advances. Basing on erratics of crystalline rocks transported by sea ice, past sea levels have been established up to 250 m a.s.l. Marine terraces above 60 m a.s.l. date back to the Late Pleistocene, the lower ones are of the Holocene age.
Beach pollution is one of the most common hazards in present-day anthropogenic environments. Even in the remote Svalbard Archipelago, pollution impacts the beach system and can pose environmental threats. The significant increase in human activity observed in Svalbard over the last 20–30 years has resulted in a visible change in the amount of coastal pollution. A 5 km long transect of modern beach developed along Calypsostranda (Recherchefjorden, Bellsund) was surveyed in the summer of 2015 in order to characterize the beach pollution. During the survey 296 pieces of trash were found on beach surface. 82% of found trash was plastic, followed by glass (8%), and metal (5%). The comparison with previous pollution survey showed the significant increase of plastic waste in local beach environment. Similar problem has been recently recorded in other parts of Svalbard suggesting an urgent need for coastal pollution monitoring.
This article aims to analyse the influence of weather types on meteorological conditions in Petuniabukta (Svalbard) during July and August of 2016. The paper analyses the daily courses of air temperature and humidity at four measurement points located on the west bank of Petuniabukta near Adam Mickiewicz University Polar Station during two different types of weather conditions: (i) cloudy and windy, (ii) calm and clear. These weather types, distinguished on the basis of wind speed and cloudiness, allowed for the creation of composite maps of the synoptic situation (SLP and geopotential height of 500 hPa distribution) and its anomalies. In the study area, the air temperature range in windy and cloudy weather conditions was larger (-10°C to 15°C) than that in sunny and calm weather (0°C to 15°C), which contrasts the range of humidity values. The diurnal cycle of meteorological elements in sunny and calm days is strongly related to the sun elevation angle. In the above-mentioned weather types, the air temperature was higher by several degrees (median 5°C to 8°C) than on windy and cloudy days (median about 0°C to 6°C) at each measurement point. On days with sunny and calm weather, a smaller vertical temperature gradient of air is observed (for sunny and calm days 0.63°C and for windy weather 0.8°C).
The aim of the study was to compare cyanobacterial and algal assemblages occurring in ornithocoprophilous habitats formed under the influence of two seabird colonies (mixed colony of piscivorous Uria lomvia and Rissa tridactyla and planktivorous Alle alle) nesting on the southwest side of Hornsund (Spitsbergen). Various influences of the bird colonies (e.g. surface trophy, treading) lead to the formation of ornithogenic habitats with quantitatively and qualitatively diverse cyanobacterial and algal assemblages. Only 6 species common to both habitats were identified, but due to their different proportions the similarity ended there. Cyanobacterial and algal assemblages of both ornithogenic habitats also react rather differently to the intensity of the bird colonies' influence. The assemblages located directly beneath piscivorous bird nests were characterized by a larger number of species, which decreased the farther from the colony it was. Cyanobacterial and algal assemblages located directly next to planktivorous bird nests were species poor, but species richness increased at locations farther from their direct influence. The obtained results confirmed that bird colonies characterized by different diet and behavior influenced the formation of two separate, quantitatively and qualitatively different cyanobacterial and algal assemblages. Species such as Eucapsis sp., Gleocapsopsis sp., Gloeothece sp., Woronichinia sp., Hematococcus sp. were characteristic for algae and cyanobacteria assemblages in the vicinity of piscivorous bird colonies, whereas Aphanocapsa sp., Gloeothece sp., Komvophoron minutum, Pseudanabaena sp., Gloeocystis sp. 2 occurred in the vicinity of planktivorous bird colonies.
The aim of this study was to identify a suitable lichen species for the long−term monitoring of heavy−metal atmospheric pollution in Svalbard. Cladonia and Cetraria s.l. species that have been widely used until now for assessing heavy−metal deposition in the Arctic are in decline over extensive areas of Svalbard, mainly due to climate change and over−grazing by reindeer. Cetrariella delisei , rarely used for biomonitoring, is still common and widespread in this area. Levels of Cr, Ni, Fe, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd and Mn were measured in three lichen species: Cetrariella delisei , Cladonia uncialis , Flavocetraria nivalis and in a moss Racomitrium lanuginosum from Sørkapp Land, South Spitsbergen. The results imply that Cetrariella delisei can be safely compared to Cladonia uncialis for identifying the levels of heavy metals, but direct comparison between Cetrariella delisei and other species studied is more difficult owing to differences in levels of heavy metals even in samples from the same site.
The results from a hydrological monitoring program of Breelva basin (Spitsbergen, Svalbard) have been analysed to improve the understanding of the Werenskiöld Glacier system’s functioning in the High Arctic. Hydrographs of a 44 km 2 river basin (27 km 2 of which was covered by a glacier) were analysed for the period 2007–2012. Seasonal discharge fluctuations were linked to glacier ablation and meteorological parameters, including atmospheric circulation types. A dichotomy was found in the discharge peaks generation during the hydrologically active season, with the main role played by snow and ice melt events during its first part and the rainfall regime dominating its second part. Foehn type strong winds played a significant role in the generation of ablation type floods ( e.g. in August 2011). A simple classification of the runoff regime was applied to the examined six−year period, resulting in the identification of its three types: the ablation type (dominant in 2007 and 2009), the rainfall type (in the years 2011–2012), and the mixed type (during 2008 and 2010). According to publications the river flow season in Spitsbergen begins in June and end with freeze−up in September or at the beginning of October. Recently, this season for Breelva tend to be extended with the mid−May onset and end in the second part of October. A multiannual trend was noted that reflects a growing importance of rainfalls, especially in September. Rainfall waters play a more distinct role in outflow from the Breelva catchment recently.
This paper provides an overview of the results of research on changes in ground temperature down to 50 cm depth, on the Kaffiøyra Plain, Spitsbergen in the summer seasons. To achieve this, measurement data were analysed from three different ecotopes (CALM Site P2A, P2B and P2C) – a beach, a moraine and tundra – collected during 22 polar expeditions between 1975 and 2014. To ensure comparability, data sets for the common period from 21 July to 31 August (referred to as the “summer season” further in the text) were analysed. The greatest influence on temperature across the investigated ground layers comes from air temperature (correlation coefficients ranging from 0.61 to 0.84). For the purpose of the analysis of the changes in ground temperature in the years 1975–2014, missing data for certain summer seasons were reconstructed on the basis of similar data from a meteorological station at Ny-Ålesund. The ground temperature at the Beach site demonstrated a statistically−significant growing trend: at depths from 1 to 10 cm the temperature increased by 0.27–0.28 ° C per decade, and from 20 to 50 cm by as much as 0.30 ° C per decade. On the Kaffiøyra Plain, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has a greater influence on the ground an d air temperature than the Arctic Oscillation (AO).
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.
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.
We present the variability of the thermal state and thickness of permafrost active layer at the raised marine beaches in Svalbard. The investigations were carried out using direct probing, thaw tube, ground temperature and radar soundings at Holocene strand plains 10–20 m a.s.l. in Fuglebergsletta (SW Spitsbergen) and at the shore of Kinnvika Bay (Nordaustlandet). Their results were compared to those obtained at other coastal sites in Svalbard. The ground temperature measurements were conducted in 2009 on August, recognized as the standard month for the maximum thawing during the last decade. The studied sites are typical for close to extreme active layer conditions on Svalbard. In Hornsund, the thawing depth exceeded 2 m, while in Kinnvika the active layer was thinner than 1 m. In Svalbard, the depth of thawing decreases generally from south to north and from the open sea coast to the central parts of islands. These differences are the consequence of diverse climatic conditions strongly determined by the radiation balance modified by a number of regional ( e.g. ocean circulation) and local ( e.g. duration of snow deposition) conditions.
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 ostracod fauna were examined from the Kapp Starostin Formation sequences (Upper Permian) from West Spitsbergen (Svalbard). The ostracod taxa are mainly confined to 3 superfamilies: Kirkbyacea, Healdiacea and Bairdiacea. 11 taxa are identified. One new species, Kindlella bellsundi is proposed. The ostracod assemblage dominated by kirkbyacean taxa is related to open shelf marine environment.
Complex analysis ofgeomorphological glacial processes in forefields of retreating glaciers in the southern Bellsund region was undertaken. Field studies and archival cartographic materials indicate continued glacial retreat, at least since the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Its average present rate of about 20 m/y is rather high and no moraine ridges are formed, except for the fluted moraines. Forefields of large glaciers are characterized by typical relief and sediments of frontal deglaciation only. Intensity and extent of glacial forefield remodelling depends mainly on activity ablation waters. At present glaciofluvial erosion predominates.
Fluted ground moraine deposits in the forefield zones of the Blomli, Scott and Renard glaciers were investigated. It was found that the fluted moraine crests, especially the stone-rich ones, continue on the glacier front surface as cones or stony belts. The linear ablation forms, partly filled by the supraglacial sediment, are the extensions of the crests formed from the finer material. Thus, the opinion is expressed that the ribs and furrows at the top surface of the ground moraine are the result of the supraglacial material deposition and that they reflect the differentation of the ablation relief of the front surface of the recessing glacier. Till now the fluted relief origin was joined exclusively with the subglacial conditions and such forms were considered as the indicators of the glacier movement direction.
About 1600 joint fractures were measured in tillites of the Upper Hecla Hoek Formation on the southern shore of Bellsund. Measurements were collected in 12 areas between the Renardbreen and Tjörndalen. Ray diagrams and contour diagrams of joint fractures, and contour diagrams of joint fractures after rotation to pre-folding position were made for each area. The preliminary analysis of diagrams indicates 2 conjugated joint sets: ca. 60°—120° and 0°—30°. This joint system is probably older than folding and was originated under ENE—WSW to NE—SW stress.
Field mapping and analysis of air photos enabled to prepare a photogeological map of Treskelen-Hyrnefjellet-Kruseryggen area in scale of 1:10,000. Slope, glacial and nival landforms and sediments, and ten raised marine beaches were distinguished. Morphogenetic evolution of the area is also presented, with discussion of probable glacier advances and land uplift during the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene.
Studies were performed in the summer of 1989 in the vicinity of the Polish Polar Station at Hornsund, Svalbard, in an attempt to characterize the functioning of selected tundra soils in terms of bioenergetics. The intensity of bioenergetical processes in the soil was evaluated by the rates of O2 consumption and CO2 production, measured in the laboratory under controlled hydrothermic conditions. Soils metabolic processes are markedly correlated with soil water content and dependent upon soil structure, water capacity and character of plant cover. The strongest correlation was observed in the more aerated soils with small water capacity and without vegetation. The respiratory quotient (RQ) decreased with the growth of soil moisture content. Soil metabolic activity began directly after the summer melting of the ground, when the soil temperature reached 0°C, and ceased in autumn, when temperatures fell below 0°C again.
In the summer of 1979, in South Spitsbergen investigations of the extreme temperatures of the ground surface were carried out. The investigations permitted the determination of the magnitude of the extreme temperatures of the ground surface and their relation to the air temperature. The spatial variability of the extreme temperatures of the ground surface was observed.