Steep terrain and strong variability in surface temperatures are typical of mountain permafrost. The cross section in the foreground shows the complex distribution of subsurface temperatures characteristic of mountains, with the isotherms (lines linking points of equal temperature) nearly vertical in the ridge of the mountain. In the background, the colours on the mountain surface illustrate the strong variability in ground temperatures caused by differences in elevation, exposure to the sun, snow cover and ground properties. In the far background, one can only guess at this complex pattern of permafrost distribution because permafrost is invisible at the ground surface.
From collection: Global Outlook for Ice and Snow
Stephan Gruber, University of Zürich. Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arednal