Science and earth science

Polish Polar Research


Polish Polar Research | 2016 | vol. 37 | No 2 |

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Landscape changes of the Gåsbreen glacier and its vicinity since 1899 are described. Maps at 1:50 000 scale of changes of the glacier's elevation and extent for the periods 1938-1961, 1961-1990, 1990-2010, and 1938-2010 are analyzed in comparison with results of the authors' field work in the summer seasons 1983, 1984, 2000, 2005 and 2008. During all the 20th century, the progressive recession of the glacier revealed in a dramatic decrease in the thickness of its lower part, with a small reduction of its area and length. However, further shrinkage produced significant shortening and reduction in area which resulted in final decline of the Goësvatnet glacial dammed lake in 2002. Hence, the lowest (and very thick, up to 150-160 m) part of the former glacier tongue and dammed lake were transformed into a new terraced river valley south of the glacier and a typical marginal zone with glacial landforms north of the glacier. Since 1961, the equilibrium line altitude of the Gåsbreen glacier has risen from ca 350 to ca 500 m a.s.l. and now is located below the very steep rocky walls of the Mehesten mountain ridge, 1378 m a.s.l. Hence, the glacier is being fed by snow avalanches from these rocky walls and much more snow melts during the warmer summer seasons, stimulating a quicker recession of the lowest part of the glacier. This recession may be stopped only by significant climate cooling or increase in snow.
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Authors and Affiliations

Wiesław Ziaja
Krzysztof Ostafin
Justyna Dudek
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Temperature and precipitation conditions in the Kaffiøyra region in the summer season (21 July-31 August) for the period from 1975-2014 are described based on data collected during 22 expeditions, in which meteorological measurements were carried out, and complete data series combining both original and reconstructed data. The latter ones were obtained using data from the Ny Ålesund meteorological station, which are strongly correlated with data from the Kaffiøyra region. Seasonal statistics presented for temperature and precipitation based on these two sets of data reveal only slight changes. Summer temperatures in the Kaffiøyra region in the studied period (1975-2014) showed statistically significant strong upward trends, while precipitation totals revealed a downward trend, but not statistically significant. In the studied area, based on 40-years of data, it was demonstrated that the near-surface lapse rates of summer air temperature are slightly lower in glaciated (0.58°C/100 m) than in non-glaciated areas (0.67°C/100 m). Anticyclonic/cyclonic circulation types significantly increase/decrease air temperature on the Waldemar Glacier, while their impact on precipitation is markedly smaller. In summer, close correlations were observed between air temperature and such glacier characteristics as the mass balance and the location of the equilibrium line, while precipitation does not have a great influence on them.
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Authors and Affiliations

Rajmund Przybylak
Andrzej Araźny
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This paper presents a detailed study of melting processes conducted on Hansbreen - a tidewater glacier terminating in the Hornsund fjord, Spitsbergen. The fieldwork was carried out from April to July 2010. The study included observations of meltwater distribution within snow profiles in different locations and determination of its penetration time to the glacier ice surface. In addition, the variability of the snow temperature and heat transfer within the snow cover were measured. The main objective concerns the impact of meltwater on the diversity of physical characteristics of the snow cover and its melting dynamics. The obtained results indicate a time delay between the beginning of the melting processes and meltwater reaching the ice surface. The time necessary for meltwater to percolate through the entire snowpack in both, the ablation zone and the equilibrium line zone amounted to c. 12 days, despite a much greater snow depth at the upper site. An elongated retention of meltwater in the lower part of the glacier was caused by a higher amount of icy layers (ice formations and melt-freeze crusts), resulting from winter thaws, which delayed water penetration. For this reason, a reconstruction of rain-on-snow events was carried out. Such results give new insight into the processes of the reactivation of the glacier drainage system and the release of freshwater into the sea after the winter period.
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Authors and Affiliations

Michał Laska
Tomasz Budzik
Bartłomiej Luks
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The thermal state of permafrost is a crucial indicator of environmental changes occurring in the Arctic. The monitoring of ground temperatures in Svalbard has been carried out in instrumented boreholes, although only few are deeper than 10 m and none are located in southern part of Spitsbergen. Only one of them, Janssonhaugen, located in central part of the island, provides the ground temperature data down to 100 m. Recent studies have proved that significant warming of the ground surface temperatures, observed especially in the last three decades, can be detected not only just few meters below the surface, but reaches much deeper layers. The aim of this paper is evaluation of the permafrost state in the vicinity of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund using the numerical heat transfer model CryoGrid 2. The model is calibrated with ground temperature data collected from a 2 m deep borehole established in 2013 and then validated with data from the period 1990-2014 from five depths up to 1 m, measured routinely at the Hornsund meteorological station. The study estimates modelled ground thermal profile down to 100 m in depth and presents the evolution of the ground thermal regime in the last 25 years. The simulated subsurface temperature trumpet shows that multiannual variability in that period can reach 25 m in depth. The changes of the ground thermal regime correspond to an increasing trend of air temperatures observed in Hornsund and general warming across Svalbard.
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Authors and Affiliations

Tomasz Wawrzyniak
Marzena Osuch
Jarosław Napiórkowski
Sebastian Westermann
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The Polish Geophysical Expedition to West Antarctica in 1979-1980 was carried out by the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences. Beside deep seismic soundings, 12 multi-channel seismic profiles, with a total length of ca 1000 km have been recorded north and east of the South Shetland Islands and in the Bransfield Strait, but they have never before been completely interpreted and published. All profiles have been processed with modern processing flow including time migration. Profiles crossing the South Shetland Trench revealed distinct reflector inside continental slope, which has been interpreted as border between buried accretionary prism and overlying slope sediments of glacial-marine origin. Profiles in the Bransfield Strait show traces of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the form of glacial foreground valleys, with some of them used as weak spots for young age volcanic intrusions. This paper is the first comprehensive geological interpretation of collected dataset and differences between results from other expeditions are discussed.
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Authors and Affiliations

Jan Okoń
Jerzy Giżejewski
Tomasz Janik
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The aim of the study was to compare cyanobacterial and algal assemblages occurring in ornithocoprophilous habitats formed under the influence of two seabird colonies (mixed colony of piscivorous Uria lomvia and Rissa tridactyla and planktivorous Alle alle) nesting on the southwest side of Hornsund (Spitsbergen). Various influences of the bird colonies (e.g. surface trophy, treading) lead to the formation of ornithogenic habitats with quantitatively and qualitatively diverse cyanobacterial and algal assemblages. Only 6 species common to both habitats were identified, but due to their different proportions the similarity ended there. Cyanobacterial and algal assemblages of both ornithogenic habitats also react rather differently to the intensity of the bird colonies' influence. The assemblages located directly beneath piscivorous bird nests were characterized by a larger number of species, which decreased the farther from the colony it was. Cyanobacterial and algal assemblages located directly next to planktivorous bird nests were species poor, but species richness increased at locations farther from their direct influence. The obtained results confirmed that bird colonies characterized by different diet and behavior influenced the formation of two separate, quantitatively and qualitatively different cyanobacterial and algal assemblages. Species such as Eucapsis sp., Gleocapsopsis sp., Gloeothece sp., Woronichinia sp., Hematococcus sp. were characteristic for algae and cyanobacteria assemblages in the vicinity of piscivorous bird colonies, whereas Aphanocapsa sp., Gloeothece sp., Komvophoron minutum, Pseudanabaena sp., Gloeocystis sp. 2 occurred in the vicinity of planktivorous bird colonies.
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Authors and Affiliations

Dorota Richter
Mirosława Pietryka
Jan Matuła
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The development of megasporocytes and the functional megaspore formation in Deschampsia antarctica were analyzed with the use of microscopic methods. A single archesporial cell was formed directly under the epidermis in the micropylar region of the ovule without producing a parietal cell. In successive stages of development, the meiocyte was transformed into a megaspore tetrad after meiosis. Most megaspores were arranged in a linear fashion, but some tetrads were T-shaped. Only one of the 60 analyzed ovules contained a cell in the direct proximity of the megasporocyte, which could be an aposporous initial. Most of the evaluated D. antarctica ovules featured monosporic embryo sacs of the Polygonum type. Approximately 30% of ovules contained numerous megaspores that were enlarged. The megaspores were located at chalazal and micropylar poles, and some ovules featured two megaspores - terminal and medial - in the chalazal region, or even three megaspores at the chalazal pole. In those cases, the micropylar megaspore was significantly smaller than the remaining megaspores, and it did not have the characteristic features of functional megaspores. Meiocytes and megaspores of D. antarctica contained polysaccharides that were detectable by PAS-reaction and aniline blue staining. Starch granules and cell walls of megasporocytes, megaspores and nucellar cells were PAS-positive. Fluorescent callose deposits were identified in the micropylar end of the megasporocytes. During meiosis and after its completion, thick callose deposits were also visible in the periclinal walls and in a small amount in the anticlinal walls of megaspores forming linear and T-shaped tetrads. Callose deposits fluorescence was not observed in the walls of the nucellar cells.
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Authors and Affiliations

Marcin Domaciuk
Irena Giełwanowska
Agata Leszczuk
Ewa Szczuka
Wioleta Kellmann-Sopyła
Justyna Koc
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Although chaetognaths inhabiting polar ecosystems are relatively well known, there are few reports on their functioning in the Antarctic coastal plankton community. The presented results provide the first comprehensive description of population structure of chaetognaths in the neritic zone west of the Antarctic Peninsula. The studies were performed on samples collected in Admiralty Bay, from December 1994 to June 1995. Following six chaetognath species were determined: Eukrohnia hamata, E. bathypelagica, E. fowleri, Pseudosagitta gazellae, P. maxima and Solidosagitta marri. The representatives of Eukrohnia were observed almost throughout the research period, whereas those of Pseudosagitta and Solidosagitta were found only during first four months of our investigation. Eukrohnia hamata showed a strong dominance in respect to abundance (max. 445 ind./1000 m3). The mean abundance of all taxa significantly fluctuated in the study period and across weeks. Generally, all species were represented by the first three maturity stages (I-III), individuals stage IV occurred sporadically, and mature specimens (stage V) were not recorded at all. Morphometric analysis of the most abundant species showed distinct differences in their total length and body proportions. Our findings may suggest that chaetognath populations in Admiralty Bay are migrant, dependent on the inflow of water from the Bransfield Strait, but to prove this statement further, round year study is necessary.
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Authors and Affiliations

Luiza Bielecka
Bartłomiej Jerzak
Ilona Złoch
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Water bears (Tardigrada) are known as one of the most extremophile animals in the world. They inhabit environments from the deepest parts of the oceans up to the highest mountains. One of the most extreme and still poorly studied habitats which tardigrades inhabit are cryoconite holes. We analysed the relation between area, depth, elevation and tardigrades densities in cryoconite holes on four glaciers on Spitsbergen. The mean (±SD) of cryoconite area was 1287.21±2400.8 cm2, while the depth was on average 10.8±11.2 cm, the elevation 172.6±109.66 m a.s.l., and tardigrade density 24.9±33.0 individuals per gram of wet material (n = 38). The densities of tardigrades on Hans Glacier reached values of up to 168 ind. cm3, 104 ind. g-1 wet weight, and 275 ind. g-1 dry weight. The densities of tardigrades of the three glaciers in Billefjorden were up to 82 ind. cm2, 326 ind. g-1 wet weight and 624 ind. g-1 dry weight. Surprisingly, although the model included area, depth and elevation as independent variables, it cannot explain Tardigrada density in cryoconite holes. We propose that due to the rapid melting of the glacier surface in the Arctic, the constant flushing of cryoconite sediments, and inter-hole water-sediment mixing, the functioning of these ecosystems is disrupted. We conclude that cryoconite holes are dynamic ecosystems for microinvertebrates in the Arctic.
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Authors and Affiliations

Krzysztof Zawierucha
Tobias R. Vonnahme
Miloslav Devetter
Małgorzata Kolicka
Marta Ostrowska
Sebastian Chmielewski
Jakub Z. Kosicki

Editorial office


Magdalena BŁAŻEWICZ (Life Sciences), University of Łódź, Poland

Wojciech MAJEWSKI (Geosciences), Institute of Paleobiology PAS, Poland

Michał ŁUSZCZUK (Social Science and Hummanities), UMCS, Poland

Associate Editors

Piotr JADWISZCZAK (Białystok),


Krzysztof JAŻDŻEWSKI (Łódź),


Monika KĘDRA (Sopot)


Ewa ŁUPIKASZA (Sosnowiec)


Piotr PABIS (Łódź),


Editorial Advisory Board

Angelika BRANDT (Hamburg),

Claude DE BROYER (Bruxelles),

Peter CONVEY (Cambridge, UK),

J. Alistair CRAME (Cambridge, UK),

Rodney M. FELDMANN (Kent, OH),

Jane E. FRANCIS (Cambridge, UK),

Andrzej GAŹDZICKI (Warszawa)

Aleksander GUTERCH (Warszawa),

Jacek JANIA (Sosnowiec),

Jiří KOMÁREK (Třeboň),

Wiesława KRAWCZYK (Sosnowiec),

German L. LEITCHENKOV (Sankt Petersburg),

Jerónimo LÓPEZ-MARTINEZ (Madrid),

Sergio A. MARENSSI (Buenos Aires),

Jerzy NAWROCKI (Warszawa),

Ryszard OCHYRA (Kraków),

Maria OLECH (Kraków)

Sandra PASSCHIER (Montclair, NJ),

Jan PAWŁOWSKI (Genève),

Gerhard SCHMIEDL (Hamburg),

Jacek SICIŃSKI (Łódź),

Michael STODDART (Hobart),

Witold SZCZUCIŃSKI (Poznań),

Andrzej TATUR (Warszawa),

Wim VADER (Tromsø),

Tony R. WALKER (Halifax, Nova Scotia),

Jan Marcin WĘSŁAWSKI (Sopot) - President.



phone: (48 22) 697 88 53

Instytut Paleobiologii PAN
ul. Twarda 51/55
00-818 Warszawa, POLAND

Life Sciences
phone: (48 22) 635 42 97

Zakład Biologii Polarnej i Oceanobiologii Uniwersytet Łódzki
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90-237 Łódź, POLAND

Social Science and Hummanities
phone: (48 81) 537 68 99

Instytut Geografii Społeczno-Ekonomicznej i Gospodarki Przestrzennej UMCS
Al. Kraśnicka 2D
20-718 Lublin, POLAND

Instructions for authors

Instructions for authors

The quarterly Polish Polar Research invites original scientific papers dealing with all aspects of polar research. The journal aims to provide a forum for publication of high-quality research papers, which are of international interest.

Articles must be written in English. Authors are requested to have their manuscript read by a person fluent in English before submission. They should not be longer than 30 typescript pages, including tables, figures and references. However, upon request, longer manuscripts may be considered for publication. All papers are peer-reviewed. With a submitted manuscript, authors should provide their names, affiliations, ORCID number and e-mail addresses of at least three suggested reviewers.

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Responsibility for the accuracy of bibliographic citations lies entirely with the authors. The inline references to published papers should consist of the surname of the author(s) followed by the year of publication. More than two authors should be cited with the first author’s surname, followed by et al. (Dingle et al. 1998) but in full in the References.

ANDERSON J.B. 1999. Antarctic Marine Geology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
BIRKENMAJER K. 1991. Tertiary glaciation in the South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica: evaluation of data. In: M.R.A. Thomson, J.A. Crame and J.W. Thomson (eds) Geological Evolution of Antarctica. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 629–632.
DINGLE S.A., MARENSSI S.A. and LAVELLE M. 1998. High latitude Eocene climate deterioration: evidence from the northern Antarctic Peninsula. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 11: 571–579.
SEDOV R.V. 1997. Glaciers of the Chukotka. Materialy Glyatsiologicheskikh Issledovaniy 82: 213–217 (in Russian).
SOBOTA I. and GRZEŚ M. 2006. Characteristic of snow cover on Kaffioyra’s glaciers, NW Spitsbergen in 2005. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 16: 147–159 (in Polish).
WARD B.L. 1984. Distribution of modern benthic foraminifera of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. M.Sc. Thesis. Victoria University, Wellington (unpublished).

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