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Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground Ice Conditions

Summary

The Circum-Arctic permafrost and ground ice map is available via ftp in ESRI Shapefile format and Equal-Area Scalable Earth Grid (EASE-Grid) format. See the Format section for an explanation of the files provided via ftp.

The circumpolar permafrost and ground ice data contribute to a unified international data set that depicts the distribution and properties of permafrost and ground ice in the Northern Hemisphere (20°N to 90°N). The re-gridded data set shows discontinuous, sporadic, or isolated permafrost boundaries. Permafrost extent is estimated in percent area (90-100%, 50-90%, 10-50%, <10%, and no permafrost). Relative abundance of ground ice in the upper 20 m is estimated in percent volume (>20%, 10-20%, <10%, and 0%). The data set also contains the location of subsea and relict permafrost. the gridded data are gridded at 12.5 km, 25 km, and 0.5 degree resolution. The shapefiles were derived from the original 1:10,000,000 paper map (Brown et al. 1997)

Permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, is ground (soil, sediment, or rock) that remains at or below 0°C for at least two years (Permafrost Subcommittee, 1988). It occurs both on land and beneath offshore arctic continental shelves, and underlies about 22% of the Earth's land surface.

For more information on the creation of the original map, see Heginbottom et al. (1993). The original paper map also includes information on the relative abundance of ice wedges, massive ice bodies and Pingos, ranges of permafrost temperature and thickness (Brown et al. 1997).

Citing These Data:

Brown, J., O.J. Ferrians, Jr., J.A. Heginbottom, and E.S. Melnikov. 1998, revised February 2001. Circum-arctic map of permafrost and ground ice conditions. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media.

Overview Table

Category Description
Data format ESRI Shapefiles and EASE-Grid
Spatial coverage 25N - 90N, 180W-180E
Grid type and size Lambert Azimuthal projection, EASE-Grid
File naming convention *.avl = legend
*.dbf = attribute data
*.prj = projection info
*.shp = feature geometry
*.shx = feature geometry index
*.byte = binary raster files
*.hdr = header files used to bring the binary raster files into a GIS program
File size 94 bytes - 20.2 MB
Parameter(s) discontinuous, sporadic, or isolated permafrost boundaries
permafrost extent
relative abundance of ground ice in the upper 20 m
location of subsea and relict permafrost
Procedures for obtaining data Data are available via FTP

Table of Contents

1. Contacts
2. Detailed Data Description
3. Data Access and Tools
4. Data Acquisition and Processing
5. References and Related Publications
6. Document Information

1. Contacts:

Investigator(s) Name and Title:

Tingjun Zhang
National Snow and Ice Data Center
CIRES, 449 UCB
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO, USA

Technical Contact:

NSIDC User Services
National Snow and Ice Data Center
CIRES, 449 UCB
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449  USA
phone: +1 303.492.6199
fax: +1 303.492.2468
form: Contact NSIDC User Services
e-mail: nsidc@nsidc.org

2. Detailed Data Description:

Format:

The Circum-Arctic permafrost and ground ice map data set contains the following files:

permaice.avl = ESRI Shaprefile legend file for permaice coverage based on NUM_CODE field in the polygon attribute table
permaice.dbf = attribute data
permaice.prj = projection info
permaice.shp = feature geometry
permaice.shx = feature geometry index
subsea.avl: ESRI Shapefile legend file for subsea coverage
subsea.dbf = attribute data
subsea.prj = projection info
subsea.shp = feature geometry
subsea.shx = feature geometry index
treeline.avl: ESRI Shapefile legend for treeline map
treeline.dbf = attribute data
treeline.prj = projection info
treeline.shp = feature geometry
treeline.shx = feature geometry index
llipa.byte = binary raster file, 0.5 degree by 0.5 degree version
llipa.hdr = header file used to bring the binary raster files into a GIS program
nhipa.byte = binary raster file, 2.5 km by 12.5 km EASE-Grid version
nhipa.hdr = header file
nlipa.byte = binary raster file, 25 km by 25 km EASE-Grid version
nlipa.hdr = header file
readpf.f = fortran program

Each datum within a file is a single byte. Numerical data values are listed below.

Value Definition
0 No information
1 - chf Continuous permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thick overburden
2 - dhf Discontinuous permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thick overburden
3 - shf Sporadic permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thick overburden
4 - ihf Isolated patches of permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thick overburden
5 - cmf Continuous permafrost extent with medium ground ice content and thick overburden
6 - dmf Discontinuous permafrost extent with medium ground ice content and thick overburden
7 - smf Sporadic permafrost extent with medium ground ice content and thick overburden
8 - imf Isolated patches of permafrost extent with medium ground ice content and thick overburden
9 - clf Continuous permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thick overburden
10 - dlf Discontinuous permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thick overburden
11 - slf Sporadic permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thick overburden
12 - ilf Isolated patches of permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thick overburden
13 - chr Continuous permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
14 - dhr Discontinuous permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
15 - shr Sporadic permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
16 - ihr Isolated patches of permafrost extent with high ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
17 - clr Continuous permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
18 - dlr Discontinuous permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
19 - slr Sporadic permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
20 - ilr Isolated patches of permafrost extent with low ground ice content and thin overburden and exposed bedrock
21 - g Glaciers
22 - r Relict permafrost
23 - l Inland lakes
24 - o Ocean/inland seas
25 - ld Land

Permafrost extent codes
c = continuous (90-100%)
d = discontinuous (50- 90%)
s = sporadic (10- 50%)
i = isolated patches ( 0 - 10%)


Ground ice content codes
h = high (>20% for "f" landform codes)
(>10% for "r" landform codes)
m = medium (10-20%)
l = low (0-10%)


Landform (terrain and overburden) codes
f lowlands, highlands, and intra- and intermontane depressions characterized by thick overburden cover (>5-10m)
r mountains, highlands ridges, and plateaus characterized by thin overburden cover (>5-10m) and exposed bedrock

Projection:

Projection for the raster (*.byte) files is:

Projection: Lambert Azimuthal
Units: meters
Spheroid: defined
Major Axis: 6371228.00000
Minor Axis: 6371228.000
Parameters:
radius of the sphere of reference: 6371228.00000
longitude of center of projection: 0
latitude of center of projection: 90
false easting (meters): 0.00000
false northing (meters): 0.00000

Projection of the shapefiles is:

Projection: Lambert Azimuthal
Datum: none
Units: meters
Spheroid: defined
Major Axis: 6370997.00000
Minor Axis: 0.00000
Parameters:
radius of the sphere of reference: 6370997.00000
longitude of center of projection: 180
latitude of center of projection: 90
false easting (meters): 0.00000
false northing (meters): 0.00000

Spatial Coverage:

Spatial Coverage Map:

spatial coverage map: 25°N - 90°N, 180°W-180°E

spatial coverage map

legend

3. Data Access and Tools:

Data Access:

Data are available via ftp.

Related Data Collections:

4. Data Acquisition and Processing:

Processing Steps:

The investigators initialized the Eurasian section of the map at the United Nations Environmental Programme/Global Resource Information Data Base (UNEP/GRID)-Arendal in Norway. The Norwegian Mapping Authority scanned and vectorized the polygon arcs, and georeferenced, corrected, and attributed the vectorized map at UNEP/GRID-Ardenal.

The North America and Greenland sections were also initialized at UNEP/GRID-Ardenal. The investigators manually digitized permafrost boundaries with an Root Mean Square (RMS) error of approximately 1 mm. Any coastline not coinciding with a permafrost unit was digitized as a generalized line. They digitized glacial boundaries as generalized lines and attributed closed polygons. They updated and corrected North America and Greenland at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, New Hampshire, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. They superimposed digital coastline and glacial boundaries using Arc/Info's Identity command, and corrected and updated attributes. Finally, they joined the data set of North America and Greenland with the compiled Eurasian area.

The investigators refined the full map at CRREL and USGS by appending digital coastlines and country lines to the map region south of 50°N. These data only extend down to 25°N, the limit of Northern Hemisphere permafrost. Finally, they superimposed digital data sets of select deep, large lakes with no underlying permafrost.

Data Source:

Following are input data used in processing the digital map:

5. References and Related Publications:

Baranov, I. Ya. 1982. "Geocryological map of the USSR" (In Russian). Moscow: Main Department for Geodesy and Cartography (GUGK), scale 1:7,500,000.

Baranov, I. Ya., ed. 1965. "Principles of geocryological zonation of the permafrost region" (In Russian). Moscow: Nauka.

Baranov, I. Ya. 1959. Geographical distribution of seasonally frozen ground and permafrost. Ottawa: National Research Council of Canada, Technical Translation No. 1121.

Baranov, I. Ya. 1959. Geographical distribution of seasonally frozen ground and permafrost. Ottawa: National Research Council of Canada, Technical Translation.

Baranov, I. Ya., ed. 1956. "Geocryological map of the USSR" (In Russian). Moscow: Main Department for Geodesy and Cartography (GUGK), scale 1:10,000,000.

Baulin., V.V., ed. 1982. "Map of geocryological regions of the West Siberian Plain" (In Russian), USSR Ministry of Geology, VSEGINGEO, scale 1:1,500,000, 4 sheets.

Black, R.F. 1954. Permafrost -- a review. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 65: 839-856.

Bliss, L.C. 1979. Vegetation and revegetation within permafrost terrain in Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Permafrost. Ottawa: National Research Council of Canada, Vol. 2, pp. 31-50.

Bostock, H.S. 1970. Physiographic regions of Canada. Geological Survey of Canada, Map 1254A, scale 1:5,000,000.

Brodzik, M.J. 1998. The EASE-Grid, A Versatile Set of Equal-Area Projections and Grids. Unpublished report to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Boulder, CO.

Brown, J., O.J. Ferrians, Jr., J.A. Heginbottom, and E.S. Melnikov, eds. 1997. Circum-Arctic map of permafrost and ground-ice conditions. Washington, DC: U.S. Geological Survey in Cooperation with the Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources. Circum-Pacific Map Series CP-45, scale 1:10,000,000, 1 sheet.

Brown, R.J.E. 1978. Permafrost in Hydrological Atlas of Canada. Ottawa: Department of Fisheries and the Environment, Plate 32, scale 1:10,000,000.

Brown, R.J.E. 1973. Permafrost in National Atlas of Canada. Ottawa: Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Plate 11-12, scale 1:15,000,000.

Brown, R.J.E. 1967. Permafrost in Canada. Ottawa: National Research Council of Canada, Publication 9769, and Ottawa: Geological Survey of Canada, Map 1246A, scale 1:7,603,200.

Crawford, C.B., and G.H. Johnston. 1971. Construction on permafrost. Canadian Geotechnical Journal 8: 236-251.

Ershov, E.D., ed. 1988, 1989. "Geocryology of the USSR" (In Russian). 5 volumes. Moscow: Nauka.

Ferrians, O.J., Jr. 1965. Permafrost map of Alaska in Miscellaneous Geologic Investigations. U.S. Geological Survey, Map I-445, scale 1:2,500,000.

Fotiev, S.M., N.S. Danilova, and N.S. Shevleva. 1978. Zonal and regional characteristics of permafrost in central Siberia in Permafrost -- The USSR Contribution to the Second International Conference, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., pp. 104-110.

Fotiev, S.M. 1978. Effect of long-term cryometamorphism of earth materials on the formation of ground water in Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Permafrost. Ottawa: National Research Council of Canada, Vol. 1, pp. 181-187.

Gorbunov, A.P. 1978. Permafrost investigations in high-mountain regions. Arctic and Alpine Research 10: 283-294.

Heginbottom, J.A., and M.A. Dubreuil. 1995. Canada -- Permafrost in National Atlas of Canada, 5th edition, Plate 2.1 (MCR 4177), scale 1:7,500,000.

Heginbottom, J.A., and M.A. Dubreuil. 1993. A new permafrost and ground ice map for the National Atlas of Canada in Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Permafrost, Beijing, Vol. 1, pp. 255-260.

Heginbottom, J.A., J. Brown, E.S. Melnikov, and O.J. Ferrians, Jr. 1993. Circum-arctic map of permafrost and ground ice conditions in Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Permafrost, Wushan, Guangzhou, China: South China University Press, Vol. 2: 1132-1136. Revised December 1997. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Heginbottom, J.A., and L.K. Radburn. 1992. Permafrost and ground ice conditions of Northwestern Canada. Geological Survey of Canada, Map 1691A, scale 1:1,000,000.

Heginbottom, J.A. 1984. The mapping of permafrost. Canadian Geographer XXVIII: 78-83.

Hughes, T. 1973. Glacial permafrost and Pleistocene ice ages in Permafrost -- the North American Contribution to the Second International Conference, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., pp. 213-223.

Hughes, O.L. 1969. Distribution of open system pingos in central Yukon Territory with respect to glacial limits. Paper 69-34. Ottawa: Geological Survey of Canada.

International Permafrost Association, Data and Information Working Group. 1998. comp. Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS), version 1.0. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. CD-ROM.

Judge, A.S. 1973. Deep temperature observations in the Canadian north in Permafrost -- the North American Contribution to the Second International Conference, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., pp. 35-40.

Knowles, K. 1992. Points, Pixels, Grids, and Cells: A Mapping and Gridding Primer. Unpublished report to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO.

Kudryavtsev, V.A., K.A. Kondrat'eva, and A.G. Gavrilov. 1978. "Geocryological map of the USSR" (In Russian). General Permafrost Studies; Materials for the Third International Conference on Permafrost. Novosibirsk: Nauka, scale 1:2,500,000.

Mackay, J.R. and S.R. Dallimore. 1992. Massive ice of the Tuktoyaktuk area, western Arctic coast, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 29: 1235-1249.

Mackay, J.R. 1972. The world of underground ice. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 62: 1-22.

Melnikov, E.S. 1988. Natural geosystems of the plain cryolithozones in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Permafrost. Trondheim, Norway: Tapir Publishers, Vol. 1, pp. 208-212.

Melnikov, P.I. 1966. "Geocryological map, Yakustkoi, A.S.S.R." (In Russian). Moscow: Akademia Nauk SSSR, scale 1:5,000,000.

Nikiforoff, C. 1928. The perpetually frozen subsoil of Siberia. Soil Science 26: 61-81.

Permafrost Subcommittee. 1988. Glossary of Permafrost and Related ground ice Terms. National Research Council of Canada. Technical Memorandum. No. 142. p. 156.

Pewe, T.L. 1983. Alpine permafrost in the contiguous United States: a review. Arctic and Alpine Research 15: 145-156.

Pewe, T.L. 1982. Geologic hazards of the Fairbanks area. Special Report 15. Fairbanks: Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Popov, A.I., et al. 1990. "Cryolithological map of North America" (In Russian). Moscow: Faculty of Geography, M.V. Lomonosov University, scale 1:6,000,000, 4 sheets.

Popov, A.I., et al. 1985. "Map of cryolithology of the USSR" (In Russian). Moscow: Faculty of Geography, M.V. Lomonosov University, scale 1:4,000,000, 4 sheets.

Popov, A.I., S.P. Kachurin, and N.A. Grave. 1966. Features of the development of frozen geomorphology in northern Eurasia. in Proceedings of the Permafrost International Conference, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., NRC Publication 1287, pp. 481-487.

Rapp, A., and L. Annersten. 1969. Permafrost and tundra polygons in northern Sweden in The Periglacial Environment. Edited by T.L. Pewe. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, pp. 65-91.

Shumskiy, P.A, and B.I. Vtyurin. 1966. Underground ice in Proceedings of the Permafrost International Conference, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. NRC Publication 1287, pp. 108-113.

Shi Yafeng, and Mi Disheng, eds. 1988. "Map of snow, ice and frozen ground in China" (In Chinese). Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology, Academia Sinica, scale 1:4,000,000, 2 sheets.

Sodnom, N., and A.L. Yanshin, eds. 1990. Geocryology and Geocryological zonation in National Atlas of Mongolia. Moscow: GUGK, Ulan Bator, Plates 40 and 41, scales 1:4,500,000 and 1:12,000,000.

Tong Boliang, et al. 1982. "Map of permafrost along the Qinghai-Xizang Highway" (In Chinese). Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology, Academia Sinica, scale 1:600,000.

Vtyurin, B.I. 1975. "Ground ice of the USSR" (In Russian). Moscow: Nauka.

Wahrhaftig, C. 1965. Physiographic divisions of Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 482, 52 pp.

Washburn, A.L. 1980. Geocryology. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Halstead Press.

Weidick, A. 1968. Observations on some Holocene glacier fluctuations in West Greenland. Meddelelser om Grønland 165(6), 202 pp.

Williams, R.B.G. 1969. Permafrost and temperature conditions in England during the last glacial period in The Periglacial Environment. Edited by T.L. Pewe. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Zhang, T., R.G. Barry, K. Knowles, J.A. Heginbottom, J. Brown. 1999. Statistics and characteristics of Permafrost and ground ice Distribution in the Northern Hemisphere. Polar Geography 23(2):132-154.

Zhang, T., J.A. Heginbottomm R.G. Barry, J. Brown. 2000. Further Statistics on the Distribution of Permafrost and Ground Ice in the Northern Hemisphere. Polar Geography 24(2):126-131.

6. Document Information:

Document Creation Date:

February 2001

Document Revision Date:

October 2002

14 December 2005

Document URL:

http://nsidc.org/data/ggd318.html