A user-friendly, multi-parameter protocol for monitoring permafrost thaw

julia.boike [ at ] awi.de


There is an urgent need for standardized data collection to better understand permafrost thaw and its interaction with vegetation, hydrology, soil and snow. To enable this, the Permafrost Thaw Action Group of T-MOSAiC have developed a protocol for gathering integrated observations of multiple connected components of permafrost landscapes. It is integrated with a user-friendly app aimed at non-experts to facilitate collection and synthesis of data from across the Arctic. Recognizing the fundamental role of interactions between the different components of the permafrost system, we provide measurement guidelines for variables pertaining to snow, vegetation, hydrology, soil and permafrost in a single protocol. The measured variables include snow depth, vegetation height, water level, soil type, and thaw depth. The protocol locates all measurements on transects that are revisited throughout the year. The co-located measurements of multiple variables facilitate quantification of interactions between these variables and model–data integration. The protocol is geared toward non-experts, including citizen scientists. We provide video tutorials and a user-friendly app. The protocol uses simple measurements that do not require specialist equipment or skills. While variables that are more difficult to measure could not be included, we believe that the simplicity of the protocols will enable greater participation in data collection and thus an improved coverage of the permafrost region. Along with the protocol and app, we present the first results from the data collection which has been live now for several months, and details of how to get involved.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Research Networks
Publication Status
Event Details
AGU Fall Meeting, 13 Dec 2021 - 17 Dec 2021, New Orleans, LA, USA/Online.
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Zwieback, S. , Boike, J. , Martin, J. , Anselm, N. , Coulombe, S. , Liljedahl, A. K. , Sjöberg, Y. , Smith, S. L. , Stünzi, S. , Wilcox, E. J. , Chadburn, S. , Althuizen, I. , Cai, L. , Lee, H. , Schneebeli, M. , Smith, N. , Streletskiy, D. A. and Westermann, S. (2021): A user-friendly, multi-parameter protocol for monitoring permafrost thaw , AGU Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA, USA/Online, 13 December 2021 - 17 December 2021 .

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