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Data Set ID:

Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground-Ice Conditions, Version 2

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 percent, 50-90 percent, 10-50 percent, <10 percent, and no permafrost). Relative abundance of ground ice in the upper 20 m is estimated in percent volume (>20 percent, 10-20 percent, <10 percent, and 0 percent). 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 percent 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).

Geographic Coverage

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 90, S: 28, E: 180, W: -180

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage: Not specified
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
  • Frozen Ground > Ground Ice
  • Frozen Ground > Permafrost
Platform(s) Not specified
Sensor(s): Not specified
Data Format(s):
  • ESRI Shapefile
Version: V2
Data Contributor(s): J. Heginbottom, Jerry Brown, Oscar Ferrians, E.S. Melnikov

Data Citation

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Brown, J., O. Ferrians, J. A. Heginbottom, and E. Melnikov. 2002. Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground-Ice Conditions, Version 2. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. [Date Accessed].
Questions? Please contact:

NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Contact Address:
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA