Note: This data set was first published on the 1998 CAPS CD.
The text for this document was taken unchanged from that CD.

See also Description of Data Files.

Western Spitsbergen, Site And Data Description

Putkonen, J.K., and B. Hallet.
Quaternary Research Center, MS 351360
University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

The data has been collected from an Arctic desert site (latitude 78o57'29N, longitude 12o27'42E), Broeggerhalvoya in western Spitsbergen, 10 km NW from Ny Alesund, 45 m above sea level, 2 km from the shore. This is a low relief tip of a bedrock peninsula covered with several meters of glacial drift and reworked raised beach ridges. The measurements are obtained in the site of well developed patterned ground, sorted polygons, where the influence of plants, including thermal insulation and transpiration, is negligible. The 1985-1986 period, was average. Mean annual air temperature was -6.6oC, 0.4oC colder than the long term (1975-1990) mean, but well within the mean variability. Mean winter air temperature is relatively warm (mean of coldest month, February is -14.6oC). Annual precipitation was 17 % larger than long term mean (372 mm), however the number of rain-on-snow events was less (3) than average (5.5). Overall, the reference period is close to long-term averages.

A program of automated soil temperature recordings was initiated in the summer of 1984, at a patterned ground field site Thermistors were placed approximately 0.1 m apart in an epoxy-filled PVC rod (18 mm outside diameter), buried in the center of a fine-grained domain of a sorted circle, down to 1.14 m below the ground surface. The data presented here covers 7/1/85-7/1/86, once a day (6 am), two levels (0.0 m, 1.145 m below surface). The resolution of the thermistors is 0.004oC, and the accuracy is estimated to be 0.02oC near 0oC. Missing data accounts for less than 7%. The gaps are filled with simple average of the beginning and end of the gap values. For a detailed description of the field site and data analysis see Putkonen (1997) and Hallet and Prestrud (1986).


Hallet, B. and Prestrud, S. 1986. Dynamics of Periglacial Sorted Circles in Western Spitsbergen. Quaternary Research, Vol. 26, pp. 81-99

Putkonen, J.K. 1997. Climatic Control of the Thermal Regime of Permafrost, Northwest Spitsbergen. Unpublished Doctorate Dissertation, University of Washington, Department of Geological Sciences 7/9/97.

Please cite these data as follows:

Putkonen, J.K. and Hallet, B. 1998. Active layer physical processes at Broeggerhalvoya, western Spitsbergen. In: International Permafrost Association, Data and Information Working Group, comp.Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS), version 1.0. CD-ROM available from National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado: NSIDC, University of Colorado at Boulder.