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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-162
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
05 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Potential permafrost distribution and ground temperatures based on surface state obtained from microwave satellite data
Christine Kroisleitner1,2, Annett Bartsch1,2,3, and Helena Bergstedt4,2 1Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Vienna, Austria
2Austrian Polar Research Institute, Vienna, Austria
3b.geos, Korneuburg, Austria
4Salzburg University, Austria
Abstract. A threshold of half a year frozen conditions has been previously suggested for the determination of potential permafrost extent from a passive microwave sensor using 37 GHz (SSM/I). We argue that this value should be higher and needs to be refined. Further on, data using lower frequencies such as from Metop ASCAT (5.3 GHz) might be more suitable. We used borehole temperature records from across the Arctic for the assessment. The comparison to mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) at coldest sensor depth revealed that temperature can be directly obtained from ASCAT surface state with a residual error of 2.5 °C compared to 3 °C in case of SSM/I. The optimum threshold of frozen days to estimate permafrost extent is 190 days for SSM/I, as determined in comparison to borehole data (Kendall's τ test), and 196 days from modelled MAGT. Thresholds for Metop ASCAT are 204 and 212 frozen days per year respectively. Data sets are comparably coarse (12.5 km–25 km nominal resolution) and the accuracy of the modelled MAGT varies regionally but the approach does not require gap filling or spatial interpolation as in the case of conventional frozen ground modelling from temperature measurements.

Citation: Kroisleitner, C., Bartsch, A., and Bergstedt, H.: Potential permafrost distribution and ground temperatures based on surface state obtained from microwave satellite data, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-162, in review, 2017.
Christine Kroisleitner et al.
Christine Kroisleitner et al.
Christine Kroisleitner et al.

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Short summary
Knowledge about permafrost extent is required with respect to climate change. We used borehole temperature records from across the Arctic for the assessment of a method applied to space borne microwave sensors for permafrost extent mapping. The comparison to mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) at coldest sensor depth revealed that not only extent but also temperature can be obtained from C-band derived surface state with a residual error of 2.5 °C.
Knowledge about permafrost extent is required with respect to climate change. We used borehole...
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