Climate Data

Global Permafrost Zonation Index Map

This data set contains a global (excluding Antarctica) 1 km map of permafrost zonation. It is an estimate of to what degree permafrost exists in a region nearly everywhere, or only in the most favorable conditions. These local conditions affecting permafrost occurrence will partly exhibit regional trends (e.g. mean snow cover characteristics or continentality), partly vary over typical distances on the order of several km (e.g. shaded or sun-exposed side of a mountain), and partly over tens to hundreds of meters (e.g. snow drift, vegetation, ground material). These conditions need to be assessed during interpretation, depending on the intended purpose of using the PZI map. This product is likely to be most valuable in remote regions where only sparse reliable information exists.

Key Strengths:

  • Provides a global map of permafrost occurrence for comparison with model predictions or for other studies

Key Limitations:

  • Not purely observational data; the permafrost map is itself dependent on models, including the permafrost model and the model used to generate the reanalysis, from which the temperatures are taken (and combined with temperatures from CRU)

Expert Developer Guidance

The following was contributed by Stephan Gruber (U Zurich), April, 2012:

This data set contains a global (excluding Antarctica) 1 km map of permafrost zonation. The accompanying publicatios points out important limitations that exist in such products and that may be relevant when used for validating other models. The Permafrost Zonation Index (PZI) or a corresponding map color indicates, to what degree permafrost exists only in the most favorable conditions (yellow) or nearly everywhere (blue). These local conditions affecting permafrost occurrence will partly exhibit regional trends (e.g. mean snow cover characteristics or continentality), partly vary over typical distances on the order of several km (e.g. shaded or sun-exposed side of a mountain), and partly over tens to hundreds of meters (e.g. snow drift, vegetation, ground material). These conditions need to be assessed during interpretation, depending on the intended purpose of using the PZI map. This product is likely to be most valuable in remote regions where only sparse reliable information exists. The accompanying publication [Key Publication #1 below, Gruber et al., 2012] points to the importance of heterogeneity and uncertainty in the derivation and use of such permafrost zonation maps.#

temporal metadataID:

Formats

Timestep

Climatology

Domain

Spatial Resolution

30 arc-seconds; 0.008333333; 60S-90N; 43200x18000

Ocean or Land

Ocean&Land

Missing Data Flag

missing data present

Earth system components and main variables

Data Access: Please Cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions.

Key Figures

Click the thumbnails to view larger sizes

Thumbnails

Captions

Permafrost Zonation in the Himalaya region. (Credit: Stephan Gruber [U Zurich])

Cite this page

Gruber, Stephan & National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified 08 Oct 2013. "The Climate Data Guide: Global Permafrost Zonation Index Map." Retrieved from https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/global-permafrost-zonation-index-map.

Acknowledgement of any material taken from this page is appreciated. On behalf of experts who have contributed data, advice, and/or figures, please cite their work as well.