Permafrost and seasonally frozen ground regions occupy approximately 24 percent and 60 percent, respectively, of the exposed land surface in the Northern Hemisphere. The actual area underlain by permafrost is approximately 12 percent to 18 percent of the exposed land area (Zang et al. 2000). Frozen ground data and information collected over past decades, and to be collected in the future, are critical for fundamental process understanding, environmental change detection, impact assessment, model validation, and engineering applications.

Thus, the International Permafrost Association (IPA) developed a strategy for data and information management to meet the requirements of cold regions science, engineering, and modeling communities. A central component of this strategy is the Global Geocryological Data (GGD) system, an internationally distributed system linking investigators and data centers around the world. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in collaboration with the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) serves as a central node of the GGD. NSIDC developed a five-year compilation of permafrost and frozen ground-related data and information products with a global perspective, and they call it The Frozen Ground Data Center (FGDC).

FGDC serves as a central node of the IPA GGD system. The GGD is an internationally distributed system linking investigators and data centers around the world. The FGDC facilitates the operation of the GGD by collecting and distributing data and metadata describing permafrost and frozen ground related data. Many of the data products available come directly through the FGDC and some are held by other institutions. For those data sets held by other institutions, NSIDC provides the original metadata for the data set, and asks users to contact the Principal Investigator for access to the data.

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

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See Also

All About Frozen Ground
Learn about frozen ground and permafrost on this educational Web site.