Multi-hazard susceptibility mapping of cryospheric hazards in a high-Arctic environment: Svalbard Archipelago

Ionut Cristi Nicu, Letizia Elia*, Lena Rubensdotter, H. Tanyaş, L. Lombardo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


The Svalbard Archipelago represents the northernmost place on Earth where cryospheric hazards, such as thaw slumps (TSs) and thermo-erosion gullies (TEGs) could take place and rapidly develop under the influence of climatic variations. Svalbard permafrost is specifically sensitive to rapidly occurring warming, and therefore, a deeper understanding of TSs and TEGs is necessary to understand and foresee the dynamics behind local cryospheric hazards' occurrences and their global implications. We present the latest update of two polygonal inventories where the extent of TSs and TEGs is recorded across Nordenskiöld Land (Svalbard Archipelago), over a surface of approximately 4000ĝ€¯km2. This area was chosen because it represents the most concentrated ice-free area of the Svalbard Archipelago and, at the same time, where most of the current human settlements are concentrated. The inventories were created through the visual interpretation of high-resolution aerial photographs as part of our ongoing effort toward creating a pan-Arctic repository of TSs and TEGs. Overall, we mapped 562 TSs and 908 TEGs, from which we separately generated two susceptibility maps using a generalised additive model (GAM) approach, under the assumption that TSs and TEGs manifest across Nordenskiöld Land, according to a Bernoulli probability distribution. Once the modelling results were validated, the two susceptibility patterns were combined into the first multi-hazard cryospheric susceptibility map of the area. The two inventories are available at 10.1594/PANGAEA.945348 (Nicu et al., 2022a) and 10.1594/PANGAEA.945395 (Nicu et al., 2022b).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-464
Number of pages18
JournalEarth system science data
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023




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