Standardized monitoring of permafrost thaw: a user-friendly, multiparameter protocol (T-MOSAiC)

julia.boike [ at ]


Climate change is destabilizing permafrost landscapes, affecting infrastructure, ecosystems and human livelihoods. The rate of permafrost thaw is affected by surface and subsurface properties and processes, all of which are potentially linked with each other. Yet, no standardized protocol exists for measuring permafrost thaw and related processes and properties in a linked manner. The permafrost thaw action group of the Terrestrial Multidisciplinary distributed Observatories for the Study of the Arctic Connections (T-MOSAiC) project has developed a protocol, for use by non-specialist scientists and technicians, citizen scientists and indigenous groups, to collect standardized metadata and data on permafrost thaw. The protocol introduced here addresses the need to jointly measure permafrost thaw and the associated surface and subsurface environmental conditions. The parameters along transects are: snow depth, thaw depth, and vegetation height, soil texture and water level. The metadata collection includes data on timing of data collection, geographical coordinates, land surface characteristics (vegetation, ground surface, water conditions), as well as photographs. The comprehensive description and management of all data with metadata, central data storage and controlled data access is applied through the Observation to Archives (O2A) dataflow framework. Through this standardized procedure, data can be monitored in near-real time and their spatial distribution visualized. The dedicated user-friendly application (app) myThaw facilitates the data entry of field measurements and provides standardized data collection and documentation. We started our first measurements during March 2021 with snow depth measurements at the Bayelva site along a 10 meter transect. Several INTERACT sites in Svalbard, Alaska, Canada and Siberia have also agreed to start this data collection. This openly available dataset will also be highly valuable for validation and parameterization of numerical and conceptual models, thus to the broad community represented by the T-MOSAIC project.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Research Networks
Publication Status
Event Details
Svalbard Science Conference 2021, 02 Nov 2021 - 03 Nov 2021.
Eprint ID
Cite as
Boike, J. , Chadburn, S. , Martin, J. , Zwieback, S. , Althuizen, I. H. J. , Cai, L. , Coulombe, S. , Lee, H. , Liljedahl, A. K. , Schneebeli, M. , Sjöberg, Y. , Smith, N. , Streletskiy, D. , Stuenzi, S. M. , Westermann, S. , Wilcox, E. J. and Anselm, N. (2021): Standardized monitoring of permafrost thaw: a user-friendly, multiparameter protocol (T-MOSAiC) , Svalbard Science Conference 2021, 2 November 2021 - 3 November 2021 .

[thumbnail of SSC2021_PosterTMOSAiC_A0.pdf]

Download (1MB) | Preview

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email

Geographical region

Research Platforms


Edit Item Edit Item