The workshop:

User workshops are an important tool for the interaction between the scientific user’s community and the remote sensing experts. The DUE Permafrost team and ESA held three workshops (2010 to 2012). ESA, CliC and IPA are funding the 4th DUE Permafrost User Workshop. This ESA-CliC-GTNP-/IPA-DUE Permafrost workshop

  • will bring together a multidisciplinary community working on permafrost-related remote sensing, field monitoring and permafrost-related modelling and climate modeling.
  • will collect and discuss the up-to-date User requirements related to monitoring and modelling.
  • will contribute to the update of the IGOS Cryosphere Theme Report (2007) for permafrost.
  • will feed into current efforts of GTN-P to build a permafrost observing component into the Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON).

Workshop Organisation:

The 4th workshop will be jointly organized by members of the former DUE permafrost team, Birgit Heim (AWI, DE), Annett Bartsch (APRI,AT & LMU, DE), Claude Duguay (UW, CA) and Frank-Martin Seifert (ESA), further co-organizers are Jenny Baseman (CliC) and Vladimir Romanovsky (IPA/GTN-P). The CliC-ESA-DUE Permafrost workshop will start with a welcome by CliC, ESA, IPA, GTN-P and GTN-P-CALM. We will show the developments related to the DUE permafrost products, and added-value applications. Presentations will also include related international remote sensing programs such as ESA GlobSnow, STSE Northern Hydrology, STSE-Alanis, EuRuCAS, FP7-PAGE21 and FP7-MONARCH-A. Most important – the workshop will have in-depth discussions how to further link remote sensing, field observations and modelling. Based on these in-depth sessions an interdisciplinary document on building up strategies and showing case studies will be produced and circulated. The workshop will also feed into current efforts of the Global Terrestrial Network of Permafrost (GTN-P) to build a permafrost observing component into the Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON).


Permafrost is one of the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) in the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Field observations proof that the active layer and permafrost are already undergoing changes with further influences on the hydrology, the carbon budget, the denudation of permafrost landscapes and the human infrastructure. A thorough mapping, observation and understanding of the climate-driven surface dynamics at work in permafrost landscapes are needed.

Remote Sensing provides detailed spatio-temporal representation of geo- and biophysical parameters. Interdisciplinary platforms are needed to get an understanding of the discipline-specific terminology, data types, usage of data, accuracy of remote sensing products and their added value for permafrost monitoring and modelling.

The following questions need to be further discussed:

1.         How valid are the operational remote sensing products for permafrost landscapes?

2.         What methods are available for upscaling from ground data?

3.         Can Remote Sensing become operational for permafrost monitoring?

4.         Can satellite-observable parameters provide the evaluation, constraining and forcing for models?

ESA DUE Permafrost (2009 to 2012) has established a permafrost-related monitoring system based on a first set of circumpolar and regional products: Land Surface Temperature (LST), Surface Soil Moisture (SSM), ground frozen/ non frozen state, terrain parameters, Land Cover, and surface waters. The user community comprises institutions, organizations and scientists from a wide range of subjects and interests. The user requirements had been taken into consideration for the definition of the service cases and the observation strategy. The remote sensing products are disseminated through the web portal of the TU Vienna ( and through the PANGAEA publication database (, which provides the DOI reference for the DUE Permafrost remote sensing products.



Previous workshops:

The 1rst DUE Permafrost User Workshop was held in May 2010 in Vienna (AT) as an official side-event of the EGU. The observation strategy was presented by the project team and reviewed with the participants. The 2nd DUE Permafrost User Workshop was hosted and financially supported by the International Arctic Research Centre, IARC, University of Alaska Fairbanks (US) and took place on 3 days in March 2011 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Due to the generous additional funding by IARC in 2011 (IARC contribution 10 000 $, logistics and catering) more than 40 scientists from scientific and governmental institutions from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia could participate. The workshop offered assessments of the remote sensing products via tutorials and indepth sessions how to use remote sensing products in context to modelling and permafrost monitoring. The 3rd DUE Permafrost User Workshop took place at AWI Potsdam (DE) in February 2012 back-to-back with the ESA ALANIS User Workshop. The workshop offered discussion sessions on remote sensing products as drivers and boundary parameters for permafrost and climate modelling and remote-sensing applications for permafrost monitoring. More than 60 participants from Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and USA gave 22 oral presentations and 20 poster presentations. Arctic climate modelers pointed out in their presentations that permafrost land surface conditions are more and more implemented to run regional models and that specific permafrost-related remote sensing products may fill this gap. Through all these activities, an interdisciplinary community interested in how to link permafrost-related remote sensing, modelling and field observation has been continuously establishing. ESA, CliC and IPA are supporting this consolidating and very active community in further funding a DUE Permafrost User Workshop in 2014.