1After almost a century of research, periglacial geomorphology remains a dynamic discipline: facing the contemporary issue of global warming, its research matter is in constant renewal and improved understanding of the dynamics of cold areas is growing. The scientific meeting “Shifting lands: new insights into periglacial geomorphology”, held in Clermont-Ferrand, France, January 20–22 2005, was a place to discuss some advances in this field of research, especially periglacial dynamics and permafrost, weathering in cold areas, and paraglacial dynamics. This meeting was part of SEDIFLUX (Sedimentary source-to-sink fluxes in cold environments), a network coordinated by the European Science Foundation (www.esf.org/sediflux). It was the second of four meetings scheduled between 2004 and 2006 (Iceland, Great-Britain, Norway) and organized by the Laboratoire de Géographie Physique CNRS-GEOLAB. It received scientific support from the International Geographical Union (IGU), International Permafrost Association (IPA), International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Comité National Français de Géographie (CNFG), and Groupe Français de Géomorphologie (GFG).
2The meeting was organized over two and a half days, and included five guest oral papers, five thematic sessions of talks and posters, and three working group sessions. Guest papers were given by Prof. Colin Thorn (University of Illinois, USA): “Context, focus, methodology, and philosophy in periglacial geomorphology”, Prof. Colin Ballantyne (University of St Andrews, UK): “Paraglacial landscapes dynamics”, Prof. Kevin Hall (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada): “Properties of rock weathering: some thoughts on attributes of scale”, Prof. Hugh French (University of Ottawa, Canada): “Periglacial geomorphology as a branch of geocryology” and Prof. John Dixon (University of Arkansas, USA): “Scale in periglacial geomorphology”. Four of these papers are published in this special issue: H. French and C. Thorn, J. Dixon, K. Hall, K. Yoshikawa et al. et A. Beylich et al.
3Adding to these state-of-the art papers, five thematic sessions were organized: paraglacial dynamics, weathering, permafrost dynamics, periglacial dynamics, and snow-related processes. Thirty-one oral communications were given and twenty-three posters were presented both in short plenary oral sessions and during poster sessions. A special issue on paraglacial dynamics will be published by the journal Geomorphology (Mercier and Etienne, in press), while a selection of other contributions are presented in this issue.
4Accepted extended abstracts of workshop contributions were also published as a special volume and disseminated during the meeting (Etienne, 2005). It contains the final science meeting programme and schedule, all accepted abstracts of workshop contributions and also twelve abstracts of contributions to the Young Geomorphologists Day, a special event organized by the Groupe Français de Géomorphologie on the final afternoon following the SEDIFLUX Conference. As many as 95 participants were registered in the Shifting Lands conference, 45 were regulary registered SEDIFLUX members. Fifteen countries were represented (Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and USA).
Fig. 1 – Mesures stationnelles des températures de surface rocheuse calcaire en Baie du Roi, Spitsberg, 79°N : centrale d’acquisition Grant Squirrell(S. Etienne, juin 2002).
Fig. 1 – Monitoring of limestone rock surface temperatures in the Kongsfjord area, Spitsbergen, 79°N: Grant Squirrell data logger and thermistors (S. Etienne, June 2002).