The PSHI is based on the concept of the Sensitivity Index for Global Sea-Level Rise on Canadian Coasts developed by Shaw et al.
In addition, we used a vegetation map (Fleming, 1997) and temperature map (SNAP, 2010) to create the PSHI map in GIS.
Therefore, in this study, we estimated weights for the PSHI through the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) of Saaty (2008).
We then calculated weights for each PSHI variable with the AHP process, following (Saaty, 2008).
The PSHI was developed to enable analysis of anticipated thaw subsidence caused by climate warming.
To verify our calculated PSHI results, we tested them with different sets of importance ratings for each pair of ecosystem variables.
As shown in Table 3, we calculated three different sets of weights for each test case (Tl, T2, and T3) and created three different PSHI maps, one for each case, which permitted us to confirm our initial hypothesis.
We also tested the PSHI by exchanging the importance rankings of ground ice volume and temperature.
For this second PSHI test, calculated with temperature as the most important variable, the statistical analysis did not prove the hypothesis that discontinuous permafrost areas have greater risk of thaw subsidence than continuous permafrost areas.
Since permafrost temperatures are projected to continue rising (Markon et al., 2012), we created another PSHI based on future air temperatures projected by the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP, 2010).