• obtaining three-year series of measurement data on the state and variability of selected cryosphere parameters under the sub-regional climate diversification of the high Arctic area (central and western Spitsbergen, Svalbard);
• standardization of the conducted research on the measurements of temperature and thickness of the permafrost active layer, determination of local and regional factors affecting the differentiation of the periglacial environment and its evolution in the conditions of a changing climate;
• registration of comparable series of mass balance measurements of small glaciers in contrasting high Arctic climate conditions over three years (summer balance and winter balance), identification of factors affecting the mass balance conditions, determination of accelerated ablation rate and a more negative mass balance in the area with negligible feeding and lower average annual air temperatures, at the same time higher summer temperatures; this process is also associated with increased drainage of water from the catchment in the summer;
• extension of the measurement standard of thermal and moisture soil characteristics for capturing heat exchange between ground and atmosphere, demonstrating spatial diversity of this phenomenon on a local scale (on test plots with an area of 1 ha);
• in relation to direct measurements of the permafrost active layer, determination of changes in geophysical parameters using the georadar method;
• determination of geophysical characteristics of various types of rocks to determine the thickness and conditions of sediments accumulation in the post-glacial valley, as well as measurements of thickness, thermal type of glacier ice and related inglatinal processes;
• defining the conditions for the formation and age of soil cover using geochronological, field and modeling methods, creating a soil classification and examining their spatial distribution
• obtaining the first results of the analysis of the spatial temperature distribution of the earth's surface based on satellite images for the entire Svalbard in the period 2000-2015, the use of the satellite image analysis method to detect environmental changes on a regional and local scale
• description and analysis of glacier surge observed during the project duration and its morphological and sedimentation effects
• design and use of a portable drilling system in permafrost, obtaining the first full-year series of measurement data not only from the active layer of permafrost, but also from the non-melting base;
• determination of the spatial structure and temporal variability of the plankton communities of diatoms in tundra lakes in the high Arctic.

The research was conducted in two areas on the island of Spitsbergen, about 100 km apart, the distance was strictly meridional. Location affects different climate characteristics, with warmer winter on the west coast and precipitation about 400 mm per year, while in the interior of the island temperatures are higher in the summer, and precipitation per year do not exceed 200 mm. The assumption of a comparative study of the impact on the cryosphere was the first in Poland attempt to create a monitoring network for the natural environment, currently being developed with the participation of a much larger number of partners under the Polish Svalbard Snow Program, coordinated by the Polish Polar Consortium. Cryosphere elements such as the active permafrost layer, the frozen layer, small glaciated catchments, as well as effects of such phenomena as glacial hydrology, evolution of soil cover, non-meteorological glacier dynamics of glaciers (surges), microfauna ecology of freshwater reservoirs, were subjected to environmental monitoring considering also the human pressure.
Studies on the permafrost temperature indicate the mesoregional impact of different factors depending on the impact of the distance to the sea. Seasonal variability also draws attention to the dependence of energy flow on the type and size of precipitation, mainly the occurrence of snow cover. Thermal phenomena in the soil are also manifested in the local diversity resulting from the type and condition of the substrate, affecting the thermal regime of the soil. On a local scale (1 ha), surface measurements of the surface energy balance were also used, stating the anisotropy of the topographical relations resulting from the relief system with a range of 30-100 m, however, this variability is very important, and it is determined by the distribution of moisture in the soil and the rate of infiltrating water displacement. These studies were also supported by thermovision imaging.
Similarly, meteorological factors affect small catchments with glaciers, where the more continental climate favors more intensive ablation and the mass balance is more negative also due to the low accumulation of snow. It also affects the amount of water discharged, unexpectedly greater, even at the higher position of the ice mass. The disappearance of glacial covers also significantly affects their thermal properties, leading to the disappearance of polythermal state, although the initial state, the thinner ice cover, may not lead to its occurrence at all.
Both on mineral and glacial surfaces, the geophysical properties of the ground were investigated using georadar. Accurate depiction of the interior of the Pollock glacier showed its structure for the first time and a thickness not exceeding 60 m. In the case of areas located in the post-glacial valley, repetitive georadar images can support surface observations of the spatial distribution of the thickness of the permafrost active layer, also lead to identification of the extent and thickness of slope fluvial and marine deposits.
Soil research has allowed to determine the age of soil-forming processes on sea terraces in the range of 1.5-133ka. Soil development is not a linear phenomenon, and the main role in creating these initial types, considering their poor development, is played by dissolution and physical weathering. The conclusion was also drawn that field studies and macroscopic description alone are not sufficient methods for the analysis of the complex soil-forming process in polar regions.
Using the satellite imaging spectroradiometer MODIS, the land surface temperature (LST) data were first analyzed for the Petuniabukta area and then for the entire Svalbard in the years 2000-2016. The results are very promising for the spatial determination of trends in environmental changes that are not available for direct measurements. A statistically significant trend of LST growth was found almost for the entire area. The only places recording the decline are expressive, not caused by climatic factors, are advancing glaciers (surges), readable from the LST record.
With the help of Landsat satellite images, environmental changes were also determined, taking into account the increase in the NDVI index, illustrating the occurrence of biomass, which over 30 years showed an increase in biomass in a non-glaciated area by 66%, diversified due to environmental conditions.
Undoubtedly, a great achievement was the possibility of observing the phenomenon of surge of the Aavatsmaark glacier and its relief related and sedimentation effects occurring within one year. The glacier's forehead in the years 2013-2015 advanced by more than a kilometer and the highest recorded speeds amounted to 4.9 m / day. A number of forms and structures of the dynamic impact of glacial ice have been found, such as escape structures, micro flutes, or a separate ad hoc basal till deposit. One of the practical effects of the project was the development of a research apparatus in the form of a portable drilling rig for shallow (up to 2 m ) and medium (up to 20 m) geological boreholes in frozen or solid rock formations. The maximum obtained drilling depth, 2.25 m, was used to install a thermal profile that operated throughout the year, showing constantly negative temperatures below 150 cm below the surface of the ground. It is the deepest ever borehole made for permafrost testing in central Spitsbergen and the only one in which the active layer was drilled.
Another device made as part of the project was optical turbiditymeter, which task is to record the concentration of suspended matter in glacier ablation water. Due to its prototype nature, the apparatus was tested and calibrated in laboratory and field conditions, in rivers and in fjord waters. The first results seem to be promising, will allow the implementation of measurements in a continuous mode, with automatic data registration.
With the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), mapping of terrain forms and effects of modern morphogenetic processes on glacier forelands, in postglacial valleys, on slopes, alluvial cones and in the coastal zone were performed. Among others the first attempt to control ground erosion of the glacial river bed in periglacial conditions, controlled by terrestrial reference points. The results obtained in this case indicate small changes occurring year by year (in the order of 1-10 cm), although catastrophic events can not be excluded, in the conditions of intensive thawing of glacier covers and lowering of the ground freezing level.
From biotic issues related to the functioning of polar geoecosystems, as one of the sensitive environmental indicators, diatom communities growing in freshwater reservoirs on the surface of the central Spitsbergen marine terraces were studied. Over 94 species of diatoms were found on the basis of detailed monitoring carried out at weekly intervals in subsequent summer seasons. Benthic species (mainly theoplanktonic) predominate. As a result of time analyzes of the connections of environmental elements with the development of microfauna communities, their dependence was determined mainly on thermal conditions, which prognoses as a good indicator of long-term variability, due to the lowering of the water level, its temperature increase. There is also the possibility of reference of current studies also in paleolimnologic reconstructions.
Research was also conducted on anthropogenic impacts on the cryogenic geoecosystem and the relationship of environmental impacts to the remains of mining and settling human activity on the example of an abandoned coal mine Pyramiden. Visible is a significant, though local, transformation of the natural environment and its pollution, related to the chaotic storage of waste, currently exposed to active morphogenetic processes. It may also be connected with the migration of pollutants to fjord waters and further distances. Significant changes occur in the post-industrial landscape mainly due to numerous floods, but also mass movements, involving mineral material and causing the destruction of abandoned infrastructure. The results of research may be useful to local authorities in managing pro-ecological activities as well as supervision over the increasingly intense tourist pressure.

The project, which focuses on the analysis of the problem of cryosphere state recognition and the course of modern processes of its transformation taking into account the different characteristics of water circulation and its retention (glacial and non-glacierized catchments) under conditions of permafrost occurrence, varied in time and space, two main research goals were assumed concerning a) recognizing the seasonal variability of the thermal structure and dynamics of the active layer of permafrost as well as the temperature distribution of the continuously frozen substrate in various high Arctic climate variants; b) comparison of the mass balance and the response to climate change of two small valley glaciers, located in areas of contrasting climatic conditions of Spitsbergen, in relation to other elements of the cryosphere and, more broadly, other elements of the natural environment. Both of these goals were subordinated to research tasks, implemented on the basis of dispatch activities on Spitsbergen, leading to the creation of a unified monitoring system for research on cryosphere elements, development and / or improvement of measurement methods for quantification of cryo-morphogenetic processes in polar conditions, the use of spatial analyzes using satellite remote sensing to obtain a picture of the state of the environment in climate-sensitive polar regions, reference field measurements and detection of identifiable anthropogenic interactions.
In terms of funds obtained for research, the biggest problem in the implementation of tasks related to the use of field equipment was its unreliability in harsh climatic conditions, mainly due to inadequate power supply systems, limiting autonomy and maintenance-free operation, which resulted in data acquisition interruptions. The functioning of the measuring equipment that was left for the winter period was also exposed to the animals that destroyed it, and in two cases the meteorological station were crashed by wind conditions of exceptional intensity, not noted before in the measurements carried out (during one day the speed of gusts exceeded 30 m/s and reached a maximum of 46.9 m/s). The malfunctioning of the equipment was also noted in the case of a georadar, which could not be repaired during the expedition, what eliminated its functioning during one season.There was also a problem with the implementation of orders for the drill and turbidimeter, because due to their prototypical nature, subsequent companies did not undertake to perform them. In the initial phase of the project, due to the documented inability of the principal investigator to carry out field studies, they had to change the schedule of their conduct, so the start has moved from spring to summer. This also affected the deadline for completion of field work and the development of results. However, thanks to this, two planned spring campaigns and four, i.e. one over the plan, summer campaigns were organized, the last of which was held in 2016, was practically entirely financed from funds outside the project. The data series obtained at that time, however deficient, constitute a unique measurement material, the full elaboration and publication of which has only been carried out so far. As part of the queries, very rich documentary material was collected, comprising most of the satellite images available for the Svalbard area. In cooperation with other research units (not directly involved in the project), reference data sequences (primarily meteorological) are also collected, which will serve to validate models of environmental changes developed by remote sensing methods. In cooperation with the units forming the Polish Polar Consortium (18 academic units, research institutes and the Polish Academy of Sciences), we prepare to place the results of research in the Polish Polar Data Base, the implementation of which is at the stage of technical reconciliation and the creation of a set of metadata.
Additional objectives completed during the project, which were not previously planned, included the implementation of biotic monitoring programs in relation to cryosphere changes, in the diatom research (together with dr. Monika Rzodkiewicz from Adam Mickiewicz University) and those still waiting for the study collected from tundra environments and further glacial samples for stagnant zooplankton communities (together with prof. IOP PAN Agnieszka Pociecha). For a well-used opportunity, the research conducted on the Aavatsmaarka glacier surge should be considered. Although glacial events are increasingly identified in Spitsbergen, this is the first case in Polish literature, where this phenomenon was observed during its impact and describes the effects and sedimentary output. Using the cooperation established, among others during the implementation of the project, its scope has been enriched with the results of research of dr. Mateusz Strzelecki team (University of Wroc³aw), not only regarding human-environmental interactions, but also the results of littoral and glacial-marginal processes related to cryospheric interactions in preparation.

Research standards developed within the framework of the project, consisting in a comparison of the state and variability of cryosphere elements in the high Arctic, in relation to other elements of the natural environment, with variability corresponding to the influence of extremely different conditions that can be observed in the vicinity of the sea coast of the western part of Spitsbergen and in the inner fiord location, isolated from the influence of the open ocean, have a chance, after being grounded through entering the literature, become a reference point for other measurement networks, gaining value along with extending the territorial range, by including other partners in the system. Poland is in a good situation, having a number of research stations in Spitsbergen, as well as in Antarctica as well as institutional facilities in the form of the Polish Polar Consortium, thanks to the connections within which procedures can be proposed to develop. Such tasks are highly desirable to create a reference system in areas with low human impact, and to other studies in which the results of such interaction can not be excluded. And although the global impacts, transfer the anthropogenic signal to different areas, its exclusion or only minimization can significantly help in understanding the mechanisms taking place in the environment of change.
In a special way, much can be promised through the effects that have been achieved by referring to the results of spatial analyzes performed based on satellite imagery. The procedures allowing for the processing of large data sets, both in terms of their acquisition and processing technology, are becoming more and more available. With proper implementation of the developed methods, it will be possible to apply them universally, which will also allow obtaining comparable results for many areas. At the current stage of technological development, data processing can take place in real time, and appropriate algorithms, using already processed data series, will allow for better and more long-term forecasting of environmental development trends. It is also not possible without further reference field tests. It should be expressed that the experience collected during the grant, both in the technical and logistic sphere as well as in the substantive aspects of the conducted research, will contribute to the consolidation of new measurement standards as well as incentives for the inclusion of an increasing number of cooperating stations, primarily in polar areas, implementing comprehensive environmental observations and further exchanging experiences in this field.