Ecological Mapping and Permafrost Database for Northern Alaska (Final Ecological Mapping Update (2014))

Note:This revision updates the geodatabase and shapefiles associated with the prior Landscape Level Ecological Mapping of Northern Alaska (NOAK). It includes recoding of some attributes as well as the addition of modeled permafrost map layers. A database of permafrost borehole information is also provided below.

Permafrost is a unique characteristic of polar regions and high mountains and it is fundamental to geomorphic processes and ecological development in those environments. Despite the critical importance of permafrost to ecosystem responses to climate change, permafrost characteristics of Alaska have been mapped in only generalized regional maps or site-level terrain unit maps for engineering design and assessment. This ecological mapping effort provides an intermediate-level mapping of permafrost throughout Northern Alaska and is intended to improve landscape-level assessments, regional climate impact modeling and prediction. The permafrost map was derived through correlation with mapped terrain units, airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys and modeling of soil temperatures from terrain conditions.

GIS data are provided for download in geodatabase and shapefile format and contain the following layers: permafrost extent, thermokarst landforms, maximum settlement potential, massive ice, segregated ice, biome, ecoregion, ecological subsection, ecological section, ecological landscape, soil landscape, physiography, lithology, general geology, average elevation (m), and mean annual air temperature (c). ARCGIS layer files are also included in this download.

In 2023, an updated version of the Access relational database was released and includes information on 2453 sites compiled from 26 projects since 1977, of which 1889 have permafrost, soil, and/or vegetation data. When the database is first opened, a table opens that provides an overview of the database. For 1664 sites where photographs are available, photographs and site summary information are provided for viewing in a web mapping tool available from the Catalog home page under 'Web Maps' or through the link below for 'WebMap – Permafrost Mapping and Soils Database'.

The permafrost project final report is provided for download (Final Report-June 8, 2015) below. In addition the final report for the original ecological mapping is also provided as further reference for ecological mapping.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
ISO Topics biota, elevation, geoscientificInformation
Primary Contact Torre Jorgenson (
Other Contacts Yuri Shur (Email:, Mikhail Kanevskiy, Jess Grunblatt (Email:
Primary Organization University of Alaska Fairbanks
Funding Organizations Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, North Slope Science Initiative
Other Organizations Alaska Ecoscience, UAF Institute of Northern Engineering , North Slope Science Initiative
Organization Types Academic, Federal, Industry and Consultants
Geo-keywords North Slope
Start Date 2014-11-07
Created February 23, 2016, 01:52 (AKST)
Last Updated December 21, 2023, 13:11 (AKST)