skip to main content


Title: PeRL: a circum-Arctic Permafrost Region Pond and Lake database

Ponds and lakes are abundant in Arctic permafrost lowlands. They play an important role in Arctic wetland ecosystems by regulating carbon, water, and energy fluxes and providing freshwater habitats. However, ponds, i.e., waterbodies with surface areas smaller than 1.0 × 10 4 m 2, have not been inventoried on global and regional scales. The Permafrost Region Pond and Lake (PeRL) database presents the results of a circum-Arctic effort to map ponds and lakes from modern (2002–2013) high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery with a resolution of 5 m or better. The database also includes historical imagery from 1948 to 1965 with a resolution of 6 m or better. PeRL includes 69 maps covering a wide range of environmental conditions from tundra to boreal regions and from continuous to discontinuous permafrost zones. Waterbody maps are linked to regional permafrost landscape maps which provide information on permafrost extent, ground ice volume, geology, and lithology. This paper describes waterbody classification and accuracy, and presents statistics of waterbody distribution for each site. Maps of permafrost landscapes in Alaska, Canada, and Russia are used to extrapolate waterbody statistics from the site level to regional landscape units. PeRL presents pond and lake estimates for a total areamore » of 1.4 × 10 6 km 2 across the Arctic, about 17 % of the Arctic lowland ( < 300 m a.s.l.) land surface area. PeRL waterbodies with sizes of 1.0 ×10 6 m 2 down to 1.0 ×10 2 m 2 contributed up to 21 % to the total water fraction. Waterbody density ranged from 1.0 ×10 to 9.4 × 10 1 km –2. Ponds are the dominant waterbody type by number in all landscapes representing 45–99 % of the total waterbody number. In conclusion, the implementation of PeRL size distributions in land surface models will greatly improve the investigation and projection of surface inundation and carbon fluxes in permafrost lowlands.« less
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [6] ; ORCiD logo [7] ; ORCiD logo [7] ; ORCiD logo [1] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [12] ; ORCiD logo [13] ; ORCiD logo [13] ;  [14] more »;  [7] ;  [7] ;  [7] ;  [15] ; ORCiD logo [15] ; ORCiD logo [1] « less
  1. Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam (Germany)
  2. Heidelberg Univ., Heidelberg (Germany)
  3. Humboldt Univ., Berlin (Germany)
  4. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg (Germany)
  5. Zentralanstalt fur Meteorologie and Geodynamik, Vienna (Austria)
  6. U. S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK (United States)
  7. Stockholm Univ., Stockholm (Sweden)
  8. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  9. Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino (Russia)
  10. Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States)
  11. Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Quebec, QC (Canada); Univ. of Montreal, Montreal, QC (Canada)
  12. Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL (United States)
  13. Univ. of Montreal, Montreal, QC (Canada)
  14. Univ. of Helsinki, Helsinki (Finland)
  15. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1866-3516
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; AC02-05CH11231
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Earth System Science Data (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Earth System Science Data (Online); Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1866-3516
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1379885