Permafrost or permanently frozen ground is an important element of the terrestrial cryosphere, which also includes glaciers and snow. Permafrost is defined as ground which is permanently frozen for at least two consecutive years.
Frozen ground will be and has been in the past affected by climate change on time scales of decades to centuries. Thawing permafrost can locally increase geohazards, especially in mountains along the west coast of Norway, and trigger changes in the hydrological and biological cycles. Thawing permafrost also has the potential to amplify climate change through an increased release of methane and carbon dioxide from the microbial decomposition of previously frozen organic material.
In the Nordic countries, there is a lack of co-ordination and knowledge transfer on this field, especially related to numerical modelling of thermal and hydrological processes related to frozen ground. Perma-Nordnet will initiate and catalyse such efforts, as well as to build, carry forward and tighten existing co-operations between the network members.
The key instrument will be courses on PhD level, and workshops, where both established researcher and students can meet for scientific exchange. The network will also facilitate exchange between Nordic universities.