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ESA Permafrost Climate Change Initiative (Permafrost_cci): Permafrost extent for the Northern Hemisphere, v3.0

Update Frequency: Not Planned
Latest Data Update: 2021-05-21
Status: Completed
Online Status: ONLINE
Publication State: Citable
Publication Date: 2021-06-25
DOI Publication Date: 2021-06-28
Download Stats: last 12 months
Dataset Size: 23 Files | 3GB

This dataset has been superseded. See Latest Version here

This dataset contains permafrost extent data produced as part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Permafrost project. It forms part of the second version of their Climate Research Data Package (CRDP v2). It is derived from a thermal model driven and constrained by satellite data. Grid products of CDRP v2 are released in annual files, covering the start to the end of the Julian year. This corresponds to average annual ground temperatures (at 2 m depth) which forms the basis for the retrieval of yearly fraction of permafrost-underlain and permafrost-free area within a pixel. A classification according to the IPA (International Permafrost Association) zonation delivers the well-known permafrost zones, distinguishing isolated (0-10%) sporadic (10-50%), discontinuous (50-90%) and continuous permafrost (90-100%).

Case A: This covers the Northern Hemisphere (north of 30°) for the period 2003-2019 based on MODIS Land Surface temperature merged with downscaled ERA5 reanalysis near-surface air temperature data.
Case B: This covers the Northern Hemisphere (north of 30°) for the period 1997-2002 based on downscaled ERA5 reanalysis near-surface air temperature data which are bias-corrected with the Case A product for the overlap period 2003-2019 using a pixel-specific statistics for each day of the year.

Citable as:  Obu, J.; Westermann, S.; Barboux, C.; Bartsch, A.; Delaloye, R.; Grosse, G.; Heim, B.; Hugelius, G.; Irrgang, A.; Kääb, A.M.; Kroisleitner, C.; Matthes, H.; Nitze, I.; Pellet, C.; Seifert, F.M.; Strozzi, T.; Wegmüller, U.; Wieczorek, M.; Wiesmann, A. (2021): ESA Permafrost Climate Change Initiative (Permafrost_cci): Permafrost extent for the Northern Hemisphere, v3.0. NERC EDS Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, 28 June 2021. doi:10.5285/6e2091cb0c8b4106921b63cd5357c97c.
Abbreviation: Not defined
Keywords: Permafrost, CCI, Permafrost Extent


Previous Info:
No news update for this record
Previously used record identifiers:
No related previous identifiers.
Access rules:
Public data: access to these data is available to both registered and non-registered users.
Use of these data is covered by the following licence: When using these data you must cite them correctly using the citation given on the CEDA Data Catalogue record.
Data lineage:

Data have been produced by the ESA CCI Permafrost project as part of ESA's Climate Change Initiative programme

Data Quality:
Data are as provided by the Permafrost CCI project. For further quality information see the permafrost CCI website and linked documentation.
File Format:
Data are netCDF formatted.

Citations: 1

The following citations have been automatically harvested from external sources associated with this resource where DOI tracking is possible. As such some citations may be missing from this list whilst others may not be accurate. Please contact the helpdesk to raise any issues to help refine these citation trackings.

Schulte, L., Li, C., Lisovski, S., & Herzschuh, U. (2022). Forest‐permafrost feedbacks and glacial refugia help explain the unequal distribution of larch across continents. Journal of Biogeography, 49(10), 1825–1838. Portico.

Process overview

This dataset was generated by the computation detailed below.

Computation of Permafrost v3 datsets by the ESA Permafrost CCI


The Permafrost CCI project has created Earth Observation (EO) based products for the permafrost Essential Climate Variable (ECV) spanning the last two decades. Since ground temperature and thaw depth cannot be directly observed from space-borne sensors, a variety of satellite and reanalysis data are combined in a ground thermal model. The algorithm uses remotely sensed data sets of Land Surface Temperature (MODIS LST/ ESA LST CCI) and landcover (ESA LandcoverCCI) to drive the transient permafrost model CryoGrid 2, which yields thaw depth and ground temperature at various depths, while ground temperature forms the basis for permafrost fraction.

Input data: MODIS Land surface temperature is used as the main input for the L4 production for 2003-2019 data. Sensors of auxiliary data are listed in the meta data.
Downscaled and bias corrected ERA reanalyses data based on statistics of the overlap period between ERA reanalysis and MODIS LST are used for data before 2003. Sensors of auxiliary data are listed in the meta data.

Input Description


Output Description


Software Reference


  • units: percent
  • var_id: PFR
  • standard_name: permafrost_area_fraction
  • var_id: polar_stereographic
  • units: m
  • var_id: x
  • standard_name: projection_x_coordinate
  • long_name: x coordinate of projection
  • units: m
  • var_id: y
  • standard_name: projection_y_coordinate
  • long_name: y coordinate of projection

Co-ordinate Variables

  • long_name: time
  • standard_name: time
  • var_id: time