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.
The analysis of climate changes in of the Tarfala valley and Kebnekaise Mts area, and changes within the range of the Scandinavian Glaciation shows that even in the warmest period of Holocene there were favourable environmental conditions for permafrost of the Pleistocene origin to be preserved in this area. The results of electrical resistivity surveys together with analysis of available publications indicate that two layers of permafrost can be distinguished in the Storglaciären forefield. The shallower, discountinuous, with thickness ca. 2–6 meters is connected to the current climate, The second, deeper located layer of permafrost, separated with talik, is older. Its thickness can reach dozens of metres and is probably the result of permafrost formation during Pleistocene. The occurrence of two-layered permafrost in the Tarfala valley in Kebnekaise area shows the evolution of mountain permafrost may be seen as analogous to that in Western Siberia. This means that the effect of climate changes gives a similar effect in permafrost formation and evolution in both altitudinal and latitudinal extent. The occurrence of two-layered permafrost in Scandes and Western Siberia plain indicates possible analogy in climatic evolution, and gives opportunity to understand them in uniform way.