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Siberian Geologists Probe Permafrost to Forecast Global Climate Change
November 28, 2015 10:50

Staff of the Oil and Gas Geology and Geophysics Institute of the Siberian Branch of RAS have devised a method for on-line determination of permafrost condition and evaluation of man's impact on it. It will enable scientist to better forecast the climate changes on the Earth, the head of the OGGGI  field team Alexey Fage reported to journalists.
He explained that their method of frequency sounding is based on the vertical electrical sounding invented by the famous French scientists and businessmen, the Schlumbergers brothers over 100 years ago. It checks electrical conductivity or resistivity of a geological medium by measuring the voltage of electrical field induced by distant grounded electrodes. In the past 4 electrodes were used. Modern computing technologies have made it possible to increase the number of electrodes up to 48 and automate the application process.
Such a method stands out in high efficiency, the scientist explained. The first data can be obtained within several hours. Using this method the geologists examined a permafrost site with the area of 300 sq.m. They found out that permafrost quickly melts near diesel generators of the research station: last year the melting zone was about 30-40 cm deep and now it is already about 80-90 cm deep.
As Alexey Fage explained, permafrost melting is acompanied with massive greenhouse gas emission. "Consequently, if we can better predict the melting zones, we will give clearer pictures of climatic changes on the planet", - he pointed out.
Besides, the method will enable us to analyze the condition of permafrost in the areas of human activities and take better care of it. In these conditions even insignificant impact on permafrost can have large-scale aftermath. Thus, for example, an area crossed by a caterpillar all-terrain vehicle can turn into a lake about 100-150 years later.
The research station Island Samoylovsky was opened in the delta of Lena River in Siberia in 2013. It is a Russian-German project for research in geology, biology and ecology of the Arctic. Experts of the Oil and Gas Geology and Geophysics Institute of the Siberian Branch of RAS, the Permafrostology Institute of the Siberian Branch of RAS (Yakutsk) and the Alfred Wegener German Institute for Polar and Sea Research are working at the station.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian scientists ecology Arctic Innovations  

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