The Periglacial Research section of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research focuses on current and past environmental dynamics in permafrost regions.
The groundtruthing of modern environmental processes and the reconstruction of ancient periglacial dynamics in the polar regions during the Quaternary is the basis for the understanding, the modelling, and the prediction of regional and global climatic processes as well as environmental feedbacks.
Applying an interdiscplinary research approach (Geomorphology, Microbiology, Limnogeology, Geoecology, Geochemistry, Soil Physics, Remote Sensing), these informations are extracted from modern periglacial process studies, permafrost soils, ancient frozen deposits, lake sediments, and ice records (see Research Themes, Projects, Facilities).
Investigations of current geosphere-atmosphere (microbiology and gas fluxes) and geosphere-hydrosphere (coastal erosion of permafrost coasts) dynamics in permafrost regions provide the basis for the understanding of the processes responsible for the landscape evolution of permafrost regions. The study areas are located in eastern Siberia, Central Asia, Spitzbergen, Canada, Alaska, and Antarctica. The picture shows the Samoylov Island in the Lena Delta with patterned frozen ground and thermokarst lakes.