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Towards a Tiered Permafrost Modeling Cyberinfrastructure


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Computer science & e-learning

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Science / project summary

Permafrost is ground that is frozen for at least two consecutive years. The distribution of permafrost has a major impact on ecosystems and human activities in areas where it is found. Availability and presentation of permafrost data and products can be important for scientists, engineers, policy makers, indigenous communities, and the general public. This project will advance the accessibility of permafrost models in order to help researchers and others who are not permafrost modeling experts to employ models to explore and study permafrost. In particular, the project will promote the online use of permafrost models by students, scientists, and stakeholders. The project will create an Integrated Modeling Toolbox (IMT), consisting of four permafrost models representing a range of capability and complexity. The IMT will provide easy online access to students, stakeholders, and scientists who want to use permafrost models, but lack the expertise and resources to develop them. The IMT will include multiple sets of sample inputs representing a variety of conditions and locations to enable immediate use of any of the permafrost models. The project will also develop open source Visualization Tools with a user-friendly front-end interface to plot model outputs and compare model outputs to observations. Lastly, the project will develop two IMT applications to demonstrate its utility: 1) a high-resolution permafrost map of Alaska and 2) a link between a permafrost model and a geomorphology model. The project also engages students and includes several workshops and meetings to reach out to users and to teach them how to use the permafrost models with hands-on training sessions.