PeRL: A circum-Arctic permafrost region pond and lake database
Extending the international outreach of NGEE-Arctic, Bill Riley and Charlie Koven of LBNL worked with Sina Muster of the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research and a large team to develop and publish a database of waterbodies in permafrost regions (Muster et al. 2017). This database is critical to the scientific community’s ability to estimate the long-term dynamics of high-latitude waterbodies and the resulting biogeochemical transformations (e.g., CH4 emissions). The Permafrost Region Pond and Lake Database (PeRL) presents a circum-Arctic representation of ponds and lakes from modern (2002-2013) high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery with a resolution of 5 m or better. The data resolve waterbodies with surface areas between 1 and 100 ha from tundra to boreal regions and from continuous to discontinuous permafrost zones. PeRL also includes historical imagery from 1948 to 1965 with a resolution of 6 m or better. In this paper we also present statistics of waterbody distributions for each site. We are currently using these distributions to develop scalable models appropriate for inclusion in land models for large-scale and decadal to centennial prediction. Interestingly, small ponds are the dominant waterbody type by number in all permafrost landscapes and yet are not represented in any Earth System Model.