GTN-P (2015): Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost metadata for permafrost boreholes (TSP) and active layer monitoring (CALM) sites.

Biskaborn, Boris Kolumban; Lanckman, Jean-Pierre; Lantuit, Hugues; Elger, Kirsten; Streletskiy, Dmitry A; Cable, William L; Romanovsky, Vladimir E

The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) provides the first dynamic database associated with the Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) and the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) programs, which extensively collect permafrost temperature and active layer thickness (ALT) data from Arctic, Antarctic and mountain permafrost regions. The purpose of GTN-P is to establish an early warning system for the consequences of climate change in permafrost regions and to provide standardized thermal permafrost data to global models. In this paper we introduce the GTN-P database and perform statistical analysis of the GTN-P metadata to identify and quantify the spatial gaps in the site distribution in relation to climate-effective environmental parameters. We describe the concept and structure of the data management system in regard to user operability, data transfer and data policy. We outline data sources and data processing including quality control strategies based on national correspondents. Assessment of the metadata and data quality reveals 63 % metadata completeness at active layer sites and 50 % metadata completeness for boreholes.

Voronoi tessellation analysis on the spatial sample distribution of boreholes and active layer measurement sites quantifies the distribution inhomogeneity and provides a potential method to locate additional permafrost research sites by improving the representativeness of thermal monitoring across areas underlain by permafrost. The depth distribution of the boreholes reveals that 73 % are shallower than 25 m and 27 % are deeper, reaching a maximum of 1 km depth. Comparison of the GTN-P site distribution with permafrost zones, soil organic carbon contents and vegetation types exhibits different local to regional monitoring situations, which are illustrated with maps. Preferential slope orientation at the sites most likely causes a bias in the temperature monitoring and should be taken into account when using the data for global models. The distribution of GTN-P sites within zones of projected temperature change show a high representation of areas with smaller expected temperature rise but a lower number of sites within Arctic areas where climate models project extreme temperature increase.


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Biskaborn, Boris Kolumban

Metadata Access

DCAT in RDF/XML-Format

DCAT in Turtle-Format

DCAT in JSON-LD-Format

APGC Dataset Metadata in JSON-Format

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Identifier DOI:10.1594/PANGAEA.842821
Project(s) Changing Permafrost in the Arctic and its Global Effects in the 21st Century (PAGE21)
Institute AWI Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
Publication Date 2015-09-14
Version 1.0
Product Dynamic Permafrost Database
  1. txt file: metadata for active layer monitoring (CALM) sites
  2. txt file: metadata for permafrost boreholes (TSP)
  3. csv file: metadata for active layer monitoring (CALM) sites
  4. csv file: metadata for permafrost boreholes (TSP)
Variables [Units]
  1. Identification (ID)
  2. Name
  3. Country
  4. Permafrost Zone
  5. Latitude of event (Latitude)
  6. Longitude of event (Longitude)
  7. Elevation of event [m] (Elevation)
  8. Vegetation type (Visual description / standardized)
  9. Slope [deg] (standardized / calculated with DEM)
  10. Aspect [deg] (standardized / calculated with DEM)
  11. Comment
  12. Accessibility of site (Accessibility)
  13. Completeness of filled in metadata fields [%] (Completeness)
  14. Principle investigator (PI)
  15. Borehole depth [m] (BHD)
Region Permafrost Region
Spatial Reference EPSG:4326 WGS 84
Spatial Resolution
Spatial Coverage Latitude -78.50 to 82.50, Longitude -170.50 to 172.00
Temporal Coverage
Temporal Resolution
Format TXT, CSV, Shapefile
Is Supplement To

Biskaborn, Boris K; Lanckman, Jean-Pierre; Lantuit, Hugues; Elger, Kirsten; Streletskiy, Dmitry A; Cable, William L; Romanovsky, Vladimir E (2015): The new database of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P). Earth System Science Data, 7(2), 245-259,

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