Alaska Science Center

Permafrost and Climate-Monitoring Network

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is developing a long-term permafrost monitoring network on federal lands in northern Alaska as part of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) and the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).


This permafrost monitoring network consists of 1) 15 automated surface stations, and 2) a 20-element deep borehole array. The surface stations continuously monitor changes in permafrost active-layer as well as a number of other climate parameters, including: permafrost temperature, soil moisture, snow depth, air temperature, wind speed and direction, up- and downwelling shortwave radiation, albedo, and cloudiness. A portion of the surface network is now available in near real-time through radio telemetry. Vegetation changes are coincidentally monitored at these sites. The borehole array is used to monitor the thermal state of the underlying permafrost. This is the largest array of deep boreholes in the world currently available for monitoring the thermal state of permafrost. Many of the surface stations are co-located with deep boreholes, effectively forming "permafrost observatories." We are developing models for synthesizing climate observations and for investigating how the cryosphere responds to climate change. These models will improve existing predictive capabilities for DOI lands.
Title Type
DOI/GTN-P Climate and Active-Layer Data from NPR-A and ANWR, Arctic Alaska, 1998-2011Publication
USGS Permafrost Temperatures from the DOI/GTN-P Deep Borehole Array in Arctic Alaska, 1973-ongoingPublication


Clow, Gary D., 303-236-5509
Urban, Frank , 303.236.4790

Status: onGoing
Start Year: 1998
End Year:

Project Sites

BLM - Arctic Field Office
FWS - Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

North Slope

USGS Mission Area and Program
Land ResourcesClimate Research and Development

Atmosphere > Atmospheric Temperature > Air Temperature
Atmosphere > Clouds
Cryosphere > Frozen Ground > Active Layer
Cryosphere > Frozen Ground > Permafrost
Cryosphere > Frozen Ground > Soil Temperature
Cryosphere > Snow/Ice > Albedo
Cryosphere > Snow/Ice > Snow Depth
Land Surface > Soils > Soil Moisture/Water Content