Introduction

The periglacial landscape in Greenland contains most landforms and processes associated with the periglacial environment. However, in recent years there has been limited permafrost and periglacial research in Greenland as evidenced by the lack of identified publications on lowland periglacial research, 2003-2007 (Humlum and Christiansen, 2008). This is likely a consequence of economic and logistic difficulties rather than actual research-related considerations. The exception to this is the on-going monitoring at the High-Arctic Zackenberg research facility in Northeast Greenland, where active layer thickness and snow-cover duration have been recorded since 1999 (Christiansen et al., 2008).

In Greenland, most periglacial research has focused on Disko Island in West Greenland. This reflects the presence of the Arctic Station in the coastal town of Qeqertarsuaq (Godhavn), which has provided a base for Arctic research for more than 100 years. Disko Island is located at the border between discontinuous and continuous permafrost. Hence, future climate ameliorations will most likely affect the distribution of permafrost and periglacial landforms, and accelerate thaw-related processes such as active layer detachment slides, solifluction, thermokarst development, and collapse of palsas and pingos.

This paper provides a status on our current knowledge on periglacial landforms and processes on Disko Island, West Greenland, and future research directions are suggested. These include research on glacier-permafrost interrelations, where the presence of surge-type glaciers on Disko Island provides good conditions for field investigations of landform evolution and monitoring of dynamic processes.

Soil Detachment Diagram

Figure 1. Location map of Disko Island, West Greenland

100 km

Figure 1. Location map of Disko Island, West Greenland

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