2 Download File
3 Open File
4 Distribution in Canada
5 Distribution in Alaska
7 Where You Live
In this introductory lesson, learners see where permafrost is found in the Arctic and in the northern hemisphere. A Google Earth file created by the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows permafrost locations.
- download a file from the Internet to use with Google Earth; and
- find permafrost locations in the northern hemisphere.
Permafrost is a hard subject to study because so much permafrost occurs in remote regions, which may have difficult terrain and weather. Sites to observe the temperatures and other aspects of permafrost do not always exist where scientists would like them, or have not been in a location long enough to give a long record of data. It can be a challenge to maintain equipment to ensure reliable data.
Permafrost monitoring sites can give scientists a record of permafrost data. During the last International Polar Year (IPY), a goal was to increase the amount of borehole sites across the globe, to get more data about the extent of permafrost and the temperature of permafrost in different areas.
The following figure shows a snapshot of mean annual ground temperature from the recent International Polar Year. The mean annual ground temperature is taken close to or at the depth of zero annual amplitude: the point in the ground where the temperature does not change over the course of the year.
Examine the differences in temperatures between sites in Alaska and the world. Where is the coldest permafrost? Where is the warmest? What factors—climate, terrain, latitude, elevation and vegetation—affect the temperature at these sites?