About the Report

Opportunities to Use Remote Sensing in Understanding Permafrost and Related Ecological Characteristics: Report of a Workshop (National Research Council, 2014)

An ad hoc committee of experts, under the auspices of the National Research Council, organized a workshop to explore opportunities for harnessing remote sensing technologies to advance our understanding of permafrost status and trends and the impacts of permafrost change. The workshop, which was held October 8-9, 2013, brought together experts from the remote sensing community with permafrost and ecosystem scientists. Participants represented academia, federal agencies, national laboratories, and the private sector; there was also international participation. The workshop discussions were designed to help the community articulate gaps in current understanding and identify potential opportunities to harness remote sensing techniques to better understand permafrost, permafrost change, and the implication of this change for the global carbon cycle in permafrost areas. The workshop was divided into three plenary sessions:

  1. measurement of permafrost properties,
  2. measurement of related ecological characteristics, and
  3. emerging remote sensing technologies and approaches for studying permafrost

Significant time was also spent in breakout groups to discuss current and future approaches for remotely sensing permafrost and ecological variables.

Based on literature searches, the Committee created the structure for the tables in advance of the workshop. They also added examples of variables that can be measured to study permafrost. At the workshop, break out groups spent a significant amount of time filling in the tables and informally ranking the variables by their perceived importance. When ranking, participants did not consider the likelihood of a particular variable being observed through remote sensing.

A small committee authored a summary of the workshop discussions. The report summarizes the views expressed by individual workshop participants. Although the committee is responsible for the overall quality and accuracy of the report as a record of what transpired at the workshop, the views contained in the report are not necessarily those of all workshop participants, the committee, or the NRC.

For further details, see table at: http://americasclimatechoices.org/