Welcome to The 12th International Conference on Permafrost
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Mountain permafrost and rock glacier hydrology

Mountain permafrost and rock glacier hydrology

Jordan S. Harrington#*1, Pablo A. Wainstein1, Lothar Schrott2

1. BGC Engineering Inc., Canada; corresponding author: jharrington@bgcengineering.ca 

2. Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Germany,  lothar.schrott@uni-bonn.de

* PYRN Member      # session organizer and corresponding author

Session description (250 word maximum in English):

Climate change is affecting cryo-hydrological regimes worldwide, including temperate mountain ranges where permafrost is widespread and where rock glaciers are commonly found in (semi-) arid regions. Scientific interest in understanding hydrological processes in mountain permafrost areas is increasing due to the large proportion of water supplied to lowlands by mountains and uncertainties about future water availability related to projected changes in mountain hydrological regimes. Permafrost is typically considered to act as a hydraulic barrier (i.e., aquitard); however, mountain permafrost and ground ice distribution can be highly heterogeneous, and in temperate mountains permafrost is often “warm” (i.e., > -1°C), sometimes including the presence of taliks. As a result, mountain permafrost hydrological regimes are influenced by complex interactions between thermal and hydrological processes, which results in gaps in the understanding of water movement in the subsurface of mountain permafrost regions. Climatic warming also drives permafrost thaw and melts permafrost ground ice, yet, the potential contribution of permafrost ground ice melt to streamflow remains unresolved. The hydrology of mountain permafrost regions represents a scientific frontier that is enhanced due to the difficulties of data collection in such challenging environments. Towards sharing progress on this frontier, we welcome contributions on all aspects of mountain permafrost hydrology, hydroecology, hydrogeology, hydrogeophysics, hydrochemistry, and hydromechanics, particularly those that present novel field data, those that employ multi-disciplinary analytical approaches, and those that incorporate recent advances in thermo-hydraulic modelling.

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