Leads: Anna Irrgang and Tillmann Lübker, Alfred Wegener Institute


Pan-Arctic requirements-driven Permafrost Service

Photo by Snowchange


To fill the urgent need for a robust global observing system for reporting on permafrost temperature and surface/active layer changes associated with permafrost thaw.


We will provide near real-time maps of surface changes associated with abrupt permafrost thaw disturbances using temporally dense Landsat and Sentinel-2 timeseries at high spatial resolution (30m). We will amend this permafrost disturbance product with the permafrost temperature and active layer products by the ESA CCI+ Permafrost project in close collaboration with the local communities working with Arctic PASSION, the INTERACT research stations, and our partners in Canada (AINA). This will enable us to identify local priorities and co-produce products tailored to local needs and immediate surroundings.

By co-developing protocols and data streams through CBM and facilities we will enhance the usefulness of these products. We will update the community-oriented maps following community evaluation and feedback. We will build on community partnerships established in PS1 and in the EU-funded Nunataryuk project as a platform for collaborative discussions and validation on the presence of thaw disturbances, and assessments of community vulnerability. Through these methods, we will establish best practices for GTN-P observations derived from community input, an important step long requested by the observing community in the WMO framework. We will establish the first global measurement standards for the permafrost Essential Climate Variable (ECV). Apart from the communities involved this pilot service serves the Arctic Council Working Groups, land managers, policy and decision-makers, and the scientific community.

Arctic Landscape explorer (ALEX)

The Arctic Landscape EXplorer (ALEX) presents change data derived from remote sensing analysis for permafrost regions throughout the Arctic. Interactive maps provide up-to-date information on land surface changes, hotspots of disturbance, and potential areas of active permafrost thaw and erosion. Using tailored visualizations and story maps as a means to more effectively communicate scientific observations of change, the tool is specifically addressing non-scientific user communities, stakeholders, and rights holders in the Arctic.

About the data

In the change map, flashy colors indicate a substantial change in the landscape. For example, coastal erosion (a trend of a land surface transitioning to a water surface) is depicted in dark blue colors, while coastal accretion (a trend of a water surface transitioning to a land surface) is depicted in bright orange colors. More information about the change data can be found on the About page. 

News highlights
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Feb, 24
The Arctic Landscape EXplorer (ALEX) – an Arctic PASSION Permafrost Service
For the first time, a coherent dataset on panarctic permafrost disturbance at high spatial resolution is produced and disseminated to the public. The results can substantially sup… Read More
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Dec, 23
Permafrost field work and consultations on the Arctic Landscape EXplorer (ALEX) in Western Alaska
A firsthand account of permafrost fieldwork in Alaska by Alfred Wegener Institute's Tillmann Lübker Read More
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May, 23
Integrating local environmental observations and remote sensing for researching permafrost landscape changes
Arctic PASSION partners have published a paper on integrating local knowledge with remote sensing imagery to research Arctic landscape changes. Read More
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Mar, 23
Work on the Shared Arctic Variable on Permafrost – Living on frozen ground continues
Ilkka Matero presented Arctic PASSION’s progress on co-development of the Shared Arctic Variable on permafrost in the workshop on "Longyearbyen permafrost activities". Read More
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Nov, 22
Preliminary Tool to explore changing Arctic Permafrost Regions
Introducing a new preliminary online tool which was developed within CCI Permafrost, Permafrost Discovery Gateway and Arctic PASSION. Read More
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Feb, 22
New GTN-P Strategy and Implementation Plan published
The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) Secretariat has reached a milestone in publishing their new GTN-P Strategy and Implementation Plan for 2021-2024 this week. Read More