This website provides information and data from the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database version 2 (NCSCDv2), a spatial dataset created for the purpose of quantifying storage of organic carbon in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region.

The earth system holds large carbon pools which interact with the global climate system. Soils in permafrost regions store large amounts of organic carbon and if permafrost thaws, parts of this carbon could be released as greenhouse gases. The interactions between carbon stored in permafrost soil is one of the least understood and potentially most significant carbon-climate feedbacks because of the size of the carbon pools and the intensity of climate forcing at high latitudes.

The NCSCDv2 contains information on fractions of coverage of different soil types as well as storage of soil organic carbon between 0–300 cm depth. The NCSCDv2 is available either as a polygon-based database or converted to gridded data. Gridded data products are available in different spatial grid resolutions and in formats adapted for use in desktop GIS-applications and model applications.

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For a detailed scientific description of the creation of the NCSCDv2 and the gridded dataset available see this paper published in the journal Earth System Science Data Discussion. Please refer to this paper if you make use of any dataset downloaded from this site:

A new data set for estimating organic carbon storage to 3 m depth in soils of the northern circumpolar permafrost region
Hugelius G., Bockheim J.G., Camill P., Elberling B., Grosse G., Harden J.W., Johnson K., Jorgenson T., Koven C.D., Kuhry P., Michaelson G., Mishra U., Palmtag J., Ping C.-L., O'Donnell J., Schirrmeister L., Schuur E.A.G., Sheng Y., Smith L.C., Strauss J. and Yu Z.
Earth System Science Data, Vol 5, pp. 393–402 (2013). DOI:10.5194/essd-5-393-2013
The Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database: spatially distributed datasets of soil coverage and soil carbon storage in the northern permafrost regions
Hugelius, G., Tarnocai, C., Broll, G., Canadell, J. G., Kuhry, P., and Swanson, D. K.
Earth System Science Data, Vol 5, pp. 3–13 (2013). DOI:10.5194/essd-5-3-2013

For an example of how the NCSCDv2 has been used for a quantification Soil organic carbon stocks in the northern circumpolar permafrost region, see:

Soil organic carbon stocks in the northern circumpolar permafrost region
Tarnocai, C., Canadell, J., Mazhitova, G., Schuur, E.A.G., Kuhry, P. and Zimov, S
Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol 23, GB2023 (2009). DOI:10.1029/2008GB003327

More information about the NCSCDv2

Please read further about The Northern Circumpolar Soil Organic Carbon Database version 2.

Contact and database management

If you have any questions regarding the Northern Circumpolar soil Carbon Database, please contact the database manager, Gustaf Hugelius, via email:

gustaf DOT hugelius AT natgeo DOT su DOT se.

The scientific development of the NCSCD is guided by a the NCSCD Scientific Steering Committee:

  • Charles Tarnocai, chairperson (Agriculture and Agri-food, Canada)
  • Peter Kuhry (Stockholm Univ., Sweden)
  • Gustaf Hugelius (Stockholm Univ., Sweden)
  • Chien-Lu Ping (Univ. of Alaska, U.S.A)
  • Gabrielle Broll (Univ. of Osnabrück, Germany)
  • Lutz Schirrmeister (Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam, Germany)
  • Dimitry Konyushkov (V.V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute, Moscow, Russia)

The map shows the extent of the northern circumpolar permafrost region and soil organic carbon content to a depth of 1 m, estimated using the Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database.

Interactive map