Get Data


Data can be downloaded through a Web browser or command line via FTP. When using a Web browser, the FTP link first directs you to an Optional Registration Form that if filled out, will allow you to receive notifications about updates or processing changes related to that specific data set. After completing the Optional Registration Form, the FTP directory becomes available. For additional help downloading data through an FTP client, go to the How to access data using an FTP client support page.


OGC Web Services: Access these data using the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Services.
OGC Web Services: Access these data using the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Services.
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

  • Frozen Ground > Ground Ice
  • Frozen Ground > Permafrost
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 90, S: 28, E: 180, W: -180

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage: Not specified
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
Data Format(s):
  • ESRI Shapefile
Platform(s) Not specified
Sensor(s): Not specified
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].
No technical references available for this data set.
No FAQs or How Tos available for this data set.

Access complete Knowledge Base

Questions? Please contact:
NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199