Antarctic Permafrost And Soils (ANTPAS) Expert Group


Permafrost in the Antarctic is widespread in the ice-free areas and a key variable for ecosystems, hydrology and geomorphological dynamics. It was only in the last decade that it was possible to have a more accurate overview of the thermal state of permafrost and active layer dynamics in the Antarctic. This followed the installation of new GTN-P boreholes and active layer monitoring sites (CALM) within IPY projects ANTPAS and TSP. However, there is still a lot to be understood about Antarctic permafrost and active layer and mainly on their relationships to other environmental variables. Even in cold permafrost areas, extreme warm events can induce significant modifications in the active layer dynamics as has been shown in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Other areas of the Antarctic show warm permafrost and several sites suggest that it is thawing fast due following climate change, such as the South Shetlands and Northwest Antarctic Peninsula region. An interdisciplinary approach is needed to fully unravel consequences of this changes in the highly sensitive Antarctic environments.

The Antarctic Permafrost, Soils and Periglacial Environment (ANTPAS) Expert Group aims at promoting international collaboration towards the development and consolidation of Antarctic permafrost research. Such is done through annual organization of workshops and conference sessions, dissemination of an annual newsletter on member activities and promotion of discussion of needs for Antarctic permafrost research. As such and following the IPY approach, ANTPAS promotes the main science guidelines for international cooperation on hot topics in permafrost science in key areas of the Antarctic.

ANTPAS links with other SCAR bodies on advisory issues related to permafrost, as well as with other associations, such as the IPA.