(Photo: H.Þ.Hreinsson) Vegetation of Svalbard The final version of the white paper on Requirements for Monitoring of Permafrost in Polar Regions in response to the WMO Polar Space Task Group, is now available online.

The Polar Space Task Group (PSTG) has been established as the coordinating body of space agencies, in particular the Space Task Group (STG), for space-based observations of Polar Regions after the International Polar Year (IPY). The PSTG has been established under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Executive Council Panel of Experts on Polar Observations Research and Services (EC-PORS).

The group's mandate is to provide coordination across space agencies to facilitate acquisition and distribution of fundamental satellite datasets, and to contribute to or support development of specific derived products for cryospheric and polar scientific research and applications.

Requirements for space-based monitoring of permafrost observables had been defined within the IGOS Cryosphere Theme Report at the start of the IPY in 2007 (IGOS, 2007). However, during the PSTG-3 meeting in Paris May 2013, the PSTG identified the need to review the requirements for permafrost monitoring and to update these requirements as necessary.

Recommendations and data requirements specified are requested to be verified within the community. Requirement surveys with focus on satellite data are available from the ESA DUE Permafrost User requirements survey (2009), the United States National Research Council (2014) and the ESA-CliC-IPA-GTN-P workshop in February 2014. These connect needs especially those listed in the IGOS Cryosphere Theme report (IGOS, 2007).

In the present white paper, both monitoring site-specific and sensor-specific recommendations are made for polar regions in response to the PSTG request.

A draft has been discussed at the Third European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP) meeting in June 2014. Its modified version was presented at the 4th WMO-PSTG meeting in September 2014.