Tales from the Station Samoylov (Part 2)

There are long-term monitoring sites at Research Station Samoylov Island which provide rare and invaluable meteorological and permafrost data on a regular basis (https://www.earth-syst-sci-data.net/11/261/2019/essd-11-261-2019.html). That’s why it is crucial to keep their operation intact by changing batteries and accessories, updating software, retrieving data and maintaining the instruments – all in time. This year the expedition suffered from the coronavirus pandemic and, therefore, such works were partly handed over to the station staff who live there permanently and sustain the life of the station year-round. The crew is busy with operating and maintaining the facilities and they normally do not take part in research activities, therefore, we had to prepare very clear and simple instructions (in Russian) for them to follow.

Tower for meteorological observations (Niko Bornemann, AWI)

Samoylov Island and its adjacent areas are a part of the the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) and provide active layer depth measurements since 2002 within the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) program as well as permafrost temperature measurements from several boreholes since 2006 within the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) program. This year the active layer depth measurements are carried out by the station personnel.

Moreover, in 2018 AWI established a program on the Lena River Water Monitoring (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2020.00053), which makes a great use of the year-round station operation. Station personnel take water samples from the river every few days during the whole year, then make a preprocessing and conservation, pack and send out the samples. The exceptionally high frequency and year-round duration make this dataset of many biogeochemical parameters unique for the entire Arctic region.

Ruffs (Sergey Volkov, Research Station Samoylov Island)

Expeditions to Samoylov Island are known for their very special and friendly atmospheres. There are many social gatherings, campfires on the river shore, Russian banya, as well as cold swimming adventures in the lakes and Lena River. There are a number of geological, geographical, and historical landmarks to where daily excursions from Samoylov Island can be organised. For example, Stolb Island is a 400 million years old remnant of Devonian carbonate mountains. Tit-Ary Island is famous for having the northernmost forest in the world with its larch trees (Larix cajanderi) up to 6 m tall. Amerika-Khaya Rock is the memorial place where the US explorer George De Long and the crew of the ill-fated “Jeannette” expedition faced their doom in 1881.

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