Permafrost is a sensitive element of the cryosphere, but operational monitoring of the ground thermal conditions on large spatial scales is still lacking. Here, we demonstrate a remote-sensing-based scheme that is capable of estimating the transient evolution of ground temperatures and active layer thickness by means of the ground thermal model CryoGrid 2. The scheme is applied to an area of approximately 16 000 km(2) in the Lena River delta (LRD) in NE Siberia for a period of 14 years. The forcing data sets at 1 km spatial and weekly temporal resolution are synthesized from satellite products and fields of meteorological variables from the ERA-Interim reanalysis. To assign spatially distributed ground thermal properties, a stratigraphic classification based on geomorphological observations and mapping is constructed, which accounts for the large-scale patterns of sediment types, ground ice and surface properties in the Lena River delta.