In many cold mountain areas, permafrost is a key factor for the stability of rock walls. This study provides a regional assessment of potential permafrost occurrence in steep rock walls in Norway. We present a map of steep rock walls with possible permafrost occurrence for Norway. This map is created from interpolated and gridded surface air temperature data and a terrain analysis based on a 10 m digital elevation model (DEM). The results are evaluated against field observations, a rock glacier inventory and local rock-wall temperature measurements. We show that permafrost in steep rockwalls is found in around 9% of all the steep rock walls in Norway. Most frequently these are found in central southern Norway and in the Lyngen–Kåfjord area in northern Norway. The study discusses the spatial distribution pattern of permafrost rock walls, and shows that in northern Norway mapped rock-slope failures are in close association with permafrost rock walls.
Modelling the permafrost distribution in steep rock walls in Norway