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Boeckli, Lorenz; Brenning, A; Gruber, A; Noetzli, Jeannette (2012): Alpine permafrost index map. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Boeckli, L et al. (2012): Permafrost distribution in the European Alps: calculation and evaluation of an index map and summary statistics. The Cryosphere, 6, 807-820,

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The objective of this study is the production of an Alpine Permafrost Index Map (APIM) covering the entire European Alps. A unified statistical model that is based on Alpine-wide permafrost observations is used for debris and bedrock surfaces across the entire Alps. The explanatory variables of the model are mean annual air temperatures, potential incoming solar radiation and precipitation. Offset terms were applied to make model predictions for topographic and geomorphic conditions that differ from the terrain features used for model fitting. These offsets are based on literature review and involve some degree of subjective choice during model building. The assessment of the APIM is challenging because limited independent test data are available for comparison and these observations represent point information in a spatially highly variable topography. The APIM provides an index that describes the spatial distribution of permafrost and comes together with an interpretation key that helps to assess map uncertainties and to relate map contents to their actual expression in terrain. The map can be used as a first resource to estimate permafrost conditions at any given location in the European Alps in a variety of contexts such as research and spatial planning.
Results show that Switzerland likely is the country with the largest permafrost area in the Alps, followed by Italy, Austria, France and Germany. Slovenia and Liechtenstein may have marginal permafrost areas. In all countries the permafrost area is expected to be larger than the glacier-covered area.
The "zip"-file (available via the "Download dataset" link) contains the APIM and a surface cover map for the entire European Alps (43°-49° N, 4°-16° E), both spatially subdivided into twelve tiles. The legend for both maps is provided in a "pdf"-file (legend.pdf).
The GIS-Layers are provided in the ".png" format, which supports RGB colors and transparency. For each "png"-file, a "world file" (".pgw") for geo-referencing the image is provided. The world file defines the spatial resolution, the rotation of the axes and the coordinates of the upper left pixel. The spatial reference for all tiles is Geographic coordinate system WGS1984 that is defined in the ".xml"-file. Depending on the GIS environment, the coordinate system has to be defined by the user manually in the project file of a GIS. The spatial arrangement of the tiles is described in a "pdf"-file (tiles.pdf).
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