The Arctic is changing rapidly due to global warming. While some alarming impacts can be observed directly, such as the melting of ice sheets and sea ice, thawing of permafrost is mostly taking place in the hidden depths of the ground. By causing profound ecological upheaval and destabilizing infrastructure, thawing permafrost has a direct impact on the livelihoods of people living in the Arctic.

In collaboration with citizen scientists, the project "UndercoverEisAgenten" funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is gathering reliable and up-to-date data on the state and rate of permafrost thaw to provide better insights on landscape disturbances and the impact on people living in the Arctic.

Young citizens from a school in Aklavik (Northwest Territories, Canada) are working with researchers to collect high-resolution aerial photographs from drone flights in the Mackenzie Delta. In close collaboration with secondary schools in Germany, these image data are processed and analyzed in small mapping tasks, so called "micro-tasks". These can even be completed by students and other citizen scientists via smartphone. Their contribution creates a unique reference dataset that improves the quality of remote sensing-based monitoring and prediction of permafrost thaw.

More information, teaching material and the mapping application can be found at: https://undercovereisagenten.org/

The project runs from July 2021 to December 2024 and is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its Citizen Research funding program. It is one of 15 projects that will advance the collaboration of citizens and scientists in terms of content and methodology and provide answers to societal challenges by the end of 2024. Further information can be found at https://www.bmbf.de and http://www.buergerschaffenwissen.de.


Project Information


Dr. Josefine Lenz

Telegrafenberg A45, 14473 Potsdam,


Website undercovereisagenten.org
Project Duration 01/07/2021 - 31/12/2024
Funding BMBF
Funding Recipients 01BF2115A
Leader Dr. Moritz Langer

Dr. Josefine Lenz
Soraya Kaiser

Role of AWI
in Project
Project Management, Concept and Knowledge Transfer
Participants (AWI)


Dr. Moritz Langer

Dr. Josefine Lenz

Soraya Kaiser

Frederieke Miesner


Prof. Dr. Hugues Lantuit
Participants (extern)

Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT gGmbH)

Prof. Dr. Alexander Zipf

Oliver Fritz

Sabrina Marx

German Aerospace Center (DLR): Institute of Data Science

Prof. Dr. Christian Thiel

Marlin Müller

Aklavik Hunters & Trappers Committee

Secondary Schools in Berlin-Brandenburg, Thuringia (Jena) and Baden-Wurttemberg (Heidelberg)


Section (AWI) Permafrost Research