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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 11533-11557; doi:10.3390/rs61111533

Detecting Landscape Changes in High Latitude Environments Using Landsat Trend Analysis: 1. Visualization

1
Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO), Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON K1S5K2, Canada
2
Northwest Territories Geoscience Office, Yellowknife, NT X1A2L9, Canada
3
School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W2Y2e, Canada
4
Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N6N5, Canada
5
Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON K1A0E8, Canada
6
NWT Centre for Geomatics, Government of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, NWT X1A3S8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 June 2014 / Revised: 31 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 November 2014 / Published: 20 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Changing Northern High Latitude Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Satellite remote sensing is a promising technology for monitoring natural and anthropogenic changes occurring in remote, northern environments. It offers the potential to scale-up ground-based, local environmental monitoring efforts to document disturbance types, and characterize their extents and frequencies at regional scales. Here we present a simple, but effective means of visually assessing landscape disturbances in northern environments using trend analysis of Landsat satellite image stacks. Linear trends of the Tasseled Cap brightness, greenness, and wetness indices, when composited into an RGB image, effectively distinguish diverse landscape changes based on additive color logic. Using a variety of reference datasets within Northwest Territories, Canada, we show that the trend composites are effective for identifying wildfire regeneration, tundra greening, fluvial dynamics, thermokarst processes including lake surface area changes and retrogressive thaw slumps, and the footprint of resource development operations and municipal development. Interpretation of the trend composites is aided by a color wheel legend and contextual information related to the size, shape, and location of change features. A companion paper in this issue (Olthof and Fraser) focuses on quantitative methods for classifying these changes. View Full-Text
Keywords: arctic; change detection; image stacks; disturbance; lakes; slumps; fires; environmental monitoring; cumulative impacts arctic; change detection; image stacks; disturbance; lakes; slumps; fires; environmental monitoring; cumulative impacts
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fraser, R.H.; Olthof, I.; Kokelj, S.V.; Lantz, T.C.; Lacelle, D.; Brooker, A.; Wolfe, S.; Schwarz, S. Detecting Landscape Changes in High Latitude Environments Using Landsat Trend Analysis: 1. Visualization. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 11533-11557.

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