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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-235
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-235
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Jan 2019

Research article | 07 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Distinguishing ice-rich and ice-poor permafrost to map ground temperatures and -ice content in the Swiss Alps

Robert Kenner1, Jeannette Noetzli1, Martin Hoelzle2, Hugo Raetzo3, and Marcia Phillips1 Robert Kenner et al.
  • 1WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Switzerland
  • 2University of Fribourg, Department of Geosciences, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
  • 3Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Switzerland

Abstract. A new countrywide permafrost distribution map of Switzerland is presented, indicating ground temperatures and ice content. The new representation of ground temperatures is achieved by distinguishing ice-poor and ice-rich permafrost in the modelling process. There is a very significant correlation of ground temperatures with elevation and potential incoming solar radiation in ice-poor and ice-free ground. The distribution of ice-rich permafrost was defined by modelling mass wasting processes and the integration of snow and ice into the ground caused by them. This dual approach allowed a clear improvement in the cartographic representation of permafrost-free elevational belts which are bordered above and below by permafrost. The reproduction of such commonly occurring permafrost gaps allowed a higher mapping accuracy and unambiguity of the mapping zones. Permafrost occurrence is represented by two clearly defined classes: Zone 1 representing modelled ground temperatures and zone 2 indicating excess ground ice outside of zone 1. 58 % of 92 validation sites could be definitively classified as having permafrost or no permafrost. If only ice-poor or –free ground is considered, this value reaches 90 %. The rather simple dependency of ice-poor permafrost on two main parameters is not only relevant for mapping but also for a wide range of scientific and engineering purposes.

Robert Kenner et al.
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Robert Kenner et al.
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Permafrost and ground ice map (PGIM) R. Kenner https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1470165

Robert Kenner et al.
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Short summary
A new countrywide permafrost distribution map of Switzerland is presented. Zone 1 indicates ground temperatures and zone 2 excess ground ice which is located outside of zone 1. By distinguishing ice-poor and ice-rich permafrost we achieved a clear improvement in the cartographic representation of commonly occurring permafrost-free elevational belts which are bordered above and below by permafrost. The reproduction of such permafrost gaps allowed a higher accuracy and unambiguity of the map.
A new countrywide permafrost distribution map of Switzerland is presented. Zone 1 indicates...
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