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  1. Abstract

    Permafrost is a sub-ground phenomenon and therefore cannot be directly observed from space. It is an Essential Climate Variable and associated with climate tipping points. Multi-annual time series of permafrost ground temperatures can be, however, derived through modelling of the heat transfer between atmosphere and ground using landsurface temperature, snow- and landcover observations from space. Results show that the northern hemisphere permafrost ground temperatures have increased on average by about one degree Celsius since 2000. This is in line with trends of permafrost proxies observable from space: surface water extent has been decreasing across the Arctic; the landsurface is subsiding continuously in some regions indicating ground ice melt; hot summers triggered increased subsidence as well as thaw slumps; rock glaciers are accelerating in some mountain regions. The applicability of satellite data for permafrost proxy monitoring has been demonstrated mostly on a local to regional scale only. There is still a lack of consistency of acquisitions and of very high spatial resolution observations. Both are needed for implementation of circumpolar monitoring of lowland permafrost. In order to quantify the impacts of permafrost thaw on the carbon cycle, advancement in wetland and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration monitoring from space is needed.

  2. Abstract The accelerating climatic changes and new infrastructure development across the Arctic require more robust risk and environmental assessment, but thus far there is no consistent record of human impact. We provide a first panarctic satellite-based record of expanding infrastructure and anthropogenic impacts along all permafrost affected coasts (100 km buffer, ≈6.2 Mio km 2 ), named the Sentinel-1/2 derived Arctic Coastal Human Impact (SACHI) dataset. The completeness and thematic content goes beyond traditional satellite based approaches as well as other publicly accessible data sources. Three classes are considered: linear transport infrastructure (roads and railways), buildings, and other impacted area. C-band synthetic aperture radar and multi-spectral information (2016–2020) is exploited within a machine learning framework (gradient boosting machines and deep learning) and combined for retrieval with 10 m nominal resolution. In total, an area of 1243 km 2 constitutes human-built infrastructure as of 2016–2020. Depending on region, SACHI contains 8%–48% more information (human presence) than in OpenStreetMap. 221 (78%) more settlements are identified than in a recently published dataset for this region. 47% is not covered in a global night-time light dataset from 2016. At least 15% (180 km 2 ) correspond to new or increased detectable human impact sincemore »2000 according to a Landsat-based normalized difference vegetation index trend comparison within the analysis extent. Most of the expanded presence occurred in Russia, but also some in Canada and US. 31% and 5% of impacted area associated predominantly with oil/gas and mining industry respectively has appeared after 2000. 55% of the identified human impacted area will be shifting to above 0 ∘ C ground temperature at two meter depth by 2050 if current permafrost warming trends continue at the pace of the last two decades, highlighting the critical importance to better understand how much and where Arctic infrastructure may become threatened by permafrost thaw.« less