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International Permafrost Association, 1998. Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS), version 1.0.
Uploaded on Tuesday 21 Feb 2012
Permafrost distribution in the Arctic
Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Most of the Arctic is covered by ice and snow for more than eight and even up to twelve months a year, but conditions are highly variable, ranging from snow several metres deep each winter to the polar deserts of northern Greenland with only 50- 100 mm of precipitation annually. A large portion of the Arctic is underlain by permafrost. Permafrost, defined as ground that does not thaw for two or more years, can reach a thickness of up to 1000 metres, as it does on the North Slope of Alaska. It extends through as much as 50% of Canada and 80% of Alaska (Clark, 1988).