EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Initiation of an international database of geoelectrical surveys on permafrost to promote data sharing, survey repetition and standardized data reprocessing 

Coline Mollaret1, Christin Hilbich1, Teddi Herring2, Mohammad Farzamian3, Johannes Buckel4, Baptiste Dafflon5, Daniel Draebing6,7, Hannelore Fossaert1, Rebecca Gugerli1,8, Christian Hauck1, Julius Kunz9, Antoni Lewkowicz2, Jonas K. Limbrock10, Theresa Maierhofer1,11, Florence Magnin12, Cécile Pellet1, Sebastian Pfaehler1, Riccardo Scandroglio13, Sebastian Uhlemann5, and the IDGSP IPA Action Group*
Coline Mollaret et al.
  • 1University of Fribourg, Switzerland (
  • 2University of Ottawa, Canada
  • 3University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • 4TU Braunschweig, Germany
  • 5Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA
  • 6University of Bayreuth, Germany
  • 7Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • 8EPFL, Switzerland
  • 9University of Würzburg, Germany
  • 10University of Bonn, Germany
  • 11TU Wien, Austria
  • 12EDYTEM Lab. Université Savoie Mont Blanc, CNRS, France
  • 13TU Munich, Germany
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Geoelectrical methods are widely used for permafrost investigations by research groups, government agencies and industry. Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) surveys are typically performed only once to detect the presence or absence of permafrost. Exchange of data and expertise among users is limited and usually occurs bilaterally. Neither complete information about the existence of geophysical surveys on permafrost nor the data itself is available on a global scale. Given the potential gain for identifying permafrost evidence and their spatio-temporal changes, there is a strong need for coordinated efforts regarding data, metadata, guidelines, and expertise exchange. Repetition of ERT surveys is rare, even though it could provide a quantitative spatio-temporal measure of permafrost evolution, helping to quantify the effects of climate change at local (where the ERT survey takes place) and global scales (due to the inventory).

Our International Permafrost Association (IPA) action group (2021-2023) has the main objective of bringing together the international community interested in geoelectrical measurements on permafrost and laying the foundations for an operational International Database of Geoelectrical Surveys on Permafrost (IDGSP). Our contribution presents a new international database of electrical resistivity datasets on permafrost. The core members of our action group represent more than 10 research groups, who have already contributed their own metadata (currently > 200 profiles covering 15 countries). These metadata will be fully publicly accessible in the near future whereas access to the resistivity data may be either public or restricted. Thanks to this open-access policy, we aim at increasing the level of transparency, encouraging further data providers and fostering survey repetitions by new users.

The database is set up on a virtual machine hosted by the University of Fribourg. The advanced open-source relational database system PostgreSQL is used to program the database. Homogenization and standardization of a large number of data and metadata are among the greatest challenges, yet are essential to a structured relational database. In this contribution, we present the structure of the database, statistics of the metadata uploaded, as well as first results of repetitions from legacy geoelectrical measurements on permafrost. Guidelines and strategies are developed to handle repetition challenges such as changing survey configuration, changing geometry or inaccurate/missing metadata. First steps toward transparent and reproducible automated filtering and inversion of a great number of datasets will also be presented. By archiving geoelectrical data on permafrost, the ambition of this project is the reanalysis of the full database and its climatic interpretation.

IDGSP IPA Action Group:

Bernsteiner Heidi, Buckel Johannes, Dafflon Baptiste, Draebing Daniel, Etzelmüller Bernd, Farzamian Mohammad, Flores Orozco Adrian, Fossaert Hannelore, Gugerli Rececca, Hauck Christian, Herring Teddi, Hilbich Christin, Hördt Andreas, Kemna Andreas, Kneisel Christof, Kunz Julius, Lambiel Christophe, Lewkowicz Antoni, Limbrock Jonas K., Maierhofer Theresa, Magnin Florence, Mollaret Coline, Onaca Alexandru, Pellet Cécile, Pfaehler Sebastian, Scandroglio Riccardo, Uhlemann Sebastian et al.

How to cite: Mollaret, C., Hilbich, C., Herring, T., Farzamian, M., Buckel, J., Dafflon, B., Draebing, D., Fossaert, H., Gugerli, R., Hauck, C., Kunz, J., Lewkowicz, A., Limbrock, J. K., Maierhofer, T., Magnin, F., Pellet, C., Pfaehler, S., Scandroglio, R., and Uhlemann, S. and the IDGSP IPA Action Group: Initiation of an international database of geoelectrical surveys on permafrost to promote data sharing, survey repetition and standardized data reprocessing , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10565,, 2022.

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