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Alpine Permafrost Index Map (APIM)

Please download the new KMZ file for Google Earth below if yours predates November 7, 2018. This is necessary due to a server change. We apologize for any inconvenience.


The Alpine Permafrost Index Map (APIM) is publicly available and shows an index of the estimated likelihood of permafrost occurrence for the entire Alps. The legend and the interpretation key provide further information and allow the map user to refine the interpretation of the color code shown on the map using more detailed information of the terrain considered.

The map is intended for practitioners such as public outhorities or individuals involved in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure in mountain areas.

The APIM has been modelled and designed at the University of Zurich in collaboration with the University of Waterloo, Canada and within the scope of the Alpine Space Interreg Project Permafrost longterm monitoring network (PermaNET).

Data Availability

The APIM is available as a kmz overlay for Google Earth (download) and as a Web Mapping Service (https://geoserver.geo.uzh.ch/cryogis/wms, e.g. ArcCatalog: GIS Servers > Add WMS Server) for use in a GIS environment. In some regions of the Alps, high-resolution versions based on local digital elevation models with better quality than the ASTER GDEM used here have been computed. These have the same color legend and should in their interpretation be comparable to this pan-Alpine product. The availability of that data is decided upon by the commissioning authorities.


This map has been made possible through the PermaNET inventory of permafrost evidence that has been initiated to collect a pan-Alpine coherent database. This effort was largely the work of M. Philips and team at the WSL/SLF Davos, Switzerland and E. Cremonese and team at the RAVA, Italy. The content of this inventory is based on years of previous work by many scientists and has been inserted into the system in a great collaborative effort. For this, we thank:

Bodin X., Boeckli L., Broccard A., Cremonese E.,  Crepaz A., Crittin C., Curtaz M., Delaloye R., Fabre D., Garcia S., Gruber S., Hölzle M.,  Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., Keusen H.R., Kroisleitner C., Krysiecki J.M., Lambiel C.,  Lang K., Letey S., Lieb G.,  Mair V., Mari S., Monnier S.,  Morra di Cella U., Noetzli J., Paro L., Phillips M.,   Pogliotti P.,  Ravanel L., Riedl C., Rovera G.,  Scapozza C., Schoeneich P.,  Seppi R., Springman S., Walcher J., Zampedri G,  Zischg A, and the Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network (PERMOS).

Furthermore we acknowledge W. Schöner and F. Paul for providing Alpine-wide temperature data and glacier outline data. We acknowledge the constructive feedback of A. Kellerer-Pirklbauer-Eulenstein, C. Huggel, A. Zischg, I. Gaertner-Roer and P. Schoeneich, which has helped to improve the map legend and interpretation key. Ronald Schmidt has kindly helped to set-up the first generation web mapping and kml server, Jörg Roth has performed the migration to geoserver in 2018.

This map has been generated at the University of Zurich, Switzerland in close collaboration with A. Brenning of the University of Waterloo, Canada. This effort was part of the PhD project of Lorenz Boeckli. This has been in part supported through the commissioning of local high-resolution maps in the framework of the project PermaNET.

Most computation has been performed using the Open Source tools RSAGA, R, and SAGA GIS. The precipitation data were provided by the ALP-IMP project. Landsat scenes were available from GLOVIS.

References for the Generation of the APIM

Other Key References for the APIM

Further Recommended Sources

Web Links


Stephan Gruber (now at Carleton University: homepage)
Glaciology, Geomorphodynamics & Geochronology
Department of Geography
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstr. 190
CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland
email: stephan.gruber@carleton.ca


The data are provided "as is" and University of Zurich makes no representations or warranties, express or implied. By way of example, but without limitation, University of Zurich makes no representations or warranties of merchantibily or fitness for any particular purpose or that the data will meet your requirements or that the use of the data or documentation will not infringe any third party's patents, copyrights, trademarks or other rights. Furthermore, University of Zurich does not warrant or make any representations regarding use of the data in terms of correctness, accuracy, reliability, or otherwise or that defects in the data will be corrected. University of Zurich will not be liable for any consequential, incidental, or special damages, or any other relief, or for any claim by any third party, arising from the use of the data.