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Special Issue "Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Benjamin M. Jones

U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska 99508 USA
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +907 786 7150
Interests: multi-sensor remote sensing of arctic landscapes; combining ground-based and space-based observations; thermokarst and other thaw related landscape dynamics; arctic lakes
Guest Editor
Dr. Annett Bartsch

Austrian Polar Research Institute, Vice-Director, c/o Universität Wien, Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Managing Director, b.geos GmbH, Industriestrasse 1, 2100 Korneuburg, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Interests: microwave remote sensing; landsurface hydrology; frozen ground; snow; land cover
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Guido Grosse

Head of Periglacial Research Unit, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Arctic terrestrial landscape dynamics; remote sensing of permafrost regions; permafrost thaw; permafrost geomorphology and hydrology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The implications of widespread permafrost degradation are immense and include impacts to infrastructure, ecosystems, hydrology, and carbon cycling. More accurate measures of permafrost distribution, characteristics, and dynamics are needed for understanding past, present, and future permafrost region responses to climate and human disturbance. The development and application of remote sensing in permafrost regions is of importance for inventorying and observing the state and change of this essential component of the cryosphere.

We are pleased to announce a Special Issue in the journal Remote Sensing on “Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions”. We solicit manuscripts that use the multitude of remote sensing platforms and sensors available for describing permafrost region characteristics and dynamics. We welcome submissions that focus on multiple spatial and temporal scales as well as the integration of permafrost region field studies with remotely sensed data. We are particularly interested in submissions that deal with ice-rich permafrost landscapes and quantification of thermokarst and thaw-related landscape dynamics. Contributions that demonstrate the development of new techniques, data products, and/or highlight the challenges of remote sensing in permafrost regions are also encouraged.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us in regards to your potential submission to our special issue focused on “Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions”.

Dr. Benjamin M. Jones
Prof. Dr. Guido Grosse
Dr. Annett Bartsch
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Permafrost
  • Remote Sensing
  • Thermokarst
  • Permafrost Degradation
  • Ground Ice
  • Frozen Ground
  • Thaw Subsidence

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sentinel-1 InSAR Measurements of Elevation Changes over Yedoma Uplands on Sobo-Sise Island, Lena Delta
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071152 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Yedoma—extremely ice-rich permafrost with massive ice wedges formed during the Late Pleistocene—is vulnerable to thawing and degradation under climate warming. Thawing of ice-rich Yedoma results in lowering of surface elevations. Quantitative knowledge about surface elevation changes helps us to understand the freeze-thaw processes
[...] Read more.
Yedoma—extremely ice-rich permafrost with massive ice wedges formed during the Late Pleistocene—is vulnerable to thawing and degradation under climate warming. Thawing of ice-rich Yedoma results in lowering of surface elevations. Quantitative knowledge about surface elevation changes helps us to understand the freeze-thaw processes of the active layer and the potential degradation of Yedoma deposits. In this study, we use C-band Sentinel-1 InSAR measurements to map the elevation changes over ice-rich Yedoma uplands on Sobo-Sise Island, Lena Delta with frequent revisit observations (as short as six or 12 days). We observe significant seasonal thaw subsidence during summer months and heterogeneous inter-annual elevation changes from 2016–17. We also observe interesting patterns of stronger seasonal thaw subsidence on elevated flat Yedoma uplands by comparing to the surrounding Yedoma slopes. Inter-annual analyses from 2016–17 suggest that our observed positive surface elevation changes are likely caused by the delayed progression of the thaw season in 2017, associated with mean annual air temperature fluctuations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Growth of Retrogressive Thaw Slumps in the Noatak Valley, Alaska, 2010–2016, Measured by Airborne Photogrammetry
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 983; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10070983
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
PDF Full-text (21090 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We monitored the growth of 22 retrogressive thaw slumps (RTS), dramatic erosion features associated with thaw of permafrost, in the Noatak Valley of northern Alaska using high-resolution structure-from-motion digital photogrammetry. We created time-series of 3–6 Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and orthophoto mosaics during
[...] Read more.
We monitored the growth of 22 retrogressive thaw slumps (RTS), dramatic erosion features associated with thaw of permafrost, in the Noatak Valley of northern Alaska using high-resolution structure-from-motion digital photogrammetry. We created time-series of 3–6 Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and orthophoto mosaics during the time period from 2010–2016 at each slump, using high-resolution digital single-lens reflex (SLR) photographs taken from airplanes or helicopters. DEMs created using airborne GPS camera locations were adequate to detect elevations changes as small as 10 to 15 cm. Measurements made on these DEMs and orthophotographs showed slump growth rates of up to 38 m yr−1, with the fastest rates on slumps with scarps of moderate height (1 to 4 m) exposing Pleistocene glacial ice. Most of the slumps grew at constant or declining rates during the study, apparently as a result of the slumps encountering more gentle topography as they expanded upslope. Sedimentation was predominantly on the slump floor within 40 m of the active scarp, and the zone of accumulation migrated upslope with the scarp, away from adjacent water bodies. This study demonstrates that low-cost cameras coupled with airborne GPS and no ground control are suitable for monitoring geomorphic change on the order of decimeters and are a powerful tool for monitoring in remote settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Climate Sensitivity of High Arctic Permafrost Terrain Demonstrated by Widespread Ice-Wedge Thermokarst on Banks Island
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(6), 954; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10060954
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 12 May 2018 / Accepted: 12 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
PDF Full-text (12146 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ice-wedge networks underlie polygonal terrain and comprise the most widespread form of massive ground ice in continuous permafrost. Here, we show that climate-driven thaw of hilltop ice-wedge networks is rapidly transforming uplands across Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Change detection using
[...] Read more.
Ice-wedge networks underlie polygonal terrain and comprise the most widespread form of massive ground ice in continuous permafrost. Here, we show that climate-driven thaw of hilltop ice-wedge networks is rapidly transforming uplands across Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Change detection using high-resolution WorldView images and historical air photos, coupled with 32-year Landsat reflectance trends, indicate broad-scale increases in ponding from ice-wedge thaw on hilltops, which has significantly affected at least 1500 km2 of Banks Island and over 3.5% of the total upland area. Trajectories of change associated with this upland ice-wedge thermokarst include increased micro-relief, development of high-centred polygons, and, in areas of poor drainage, ponding and potential initiation of thaw lakes. Millennia of cooling climate have favoured ice-wedge growth, and an absence of ecosystem disturbance combined with surface denudation by solifluction has produced high Arctic uplands and slopes underlain by ice-wedge networks truncated at the permafrost table. The thin veneer of thermally-conductive mineral soils strongly links Arctic upland active-layer responses to summer warming. For these reasons, widespread and intense ice-wedge thermokarst on Arctic hilltops and slopes contrast more muted responses to warming reported in low and subarctic environments. Increasing field evidence of thermokarst highlights the inherent climate sensitivity of the Arctic permafrost terrain and the need for integrated approaches to monitor change and investigate the cascade of environmental consequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Remotely Sensing the Morphometrics and Dynamics of a Cold Region Dune Field Using Historical Aerial Photography and Airborne LiDAR Data
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(5), 792; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10050792
Received: 7 April 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract
This study uses an airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey, historical aerial photography and historical climate data to describe the character and dynamics of the Nogahabara Sand Dunes, a sub-Arctic dune field in interior Alaska’s discontinuous permafrost zone. The Nogahabara Sand Dunes
[...] Read more.
This study uses an airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey, historical aerial photography and historical climate data to describe the character and dynamics of the Nogahabara Sand Dunes, a sub-Arctic dune field in interior Alaska’s discontinuous permafrost zone. The Nogahabara Sand Dunes consist of a 43-km2 area of active transverse and barchanoid dunes within a 3200-km2 area of vegetated dune and sand sheet deposits. The average dune height in the active portion of the dune field is 5.8 m, with a maximum dune height of 28 m. Dune spacing is variable with average crest-to-crest distances for select transects ranging from 66–132 m. Between 1952 and 2015, dunes migrated at an average rate of 0.52 m a−1. Dune movement was greatest between 1952 and 1978 (0.68 m a−1) and least between 1978 and 2015 (0.43 m a−1). Dunes migrated predominantly to the southeast; however, along the dune field margin, net migration was towards the edge of the dune field regardless of heading. Better constraining the processes controlling dune field dynamics at the Nogahabara dunes would provide information that can be used to model possible reactivation of more northerly dune fields and sand sheets in response to climate change, shifting fire regimes and permafrost thaw. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Microrelief Associated with Gas Emission Craters: Remote-Sensing and Field-Based Study
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(5), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10050677
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 26 April 2018
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Abstract
Formation of gas emission craters (GEC) is a new process in the permafrost zone, leading to considerable terrain changes. Yet their role in changing the relief is local, incomparable in the volume of the removed deposits to other destructive cryogenic processes. However, the
[...] Read more.
Formation of gas emission craters (GEC) is a new process in the permafrost zone, leading to considerable terrain changes. Yet their role in changing the relief is local, incomparable in the volume of the removed deposits to other destructive cryogenic processes. However, the relief-forming role of GECs is not limited to the appearance of the crater itself, but also results in positive and negative microforms as well. Negative microforms are rounded hollows, surrounded by piles of ejected or extruded deposits. Hypotheses related to the origin of these forms are put forward and supported by an analysis of multi-temporal satellite images, field observations and photographs of GECs. Remote sensing data specifically was used for interpretation of landform origin, measuring distances and density of material scattering, identifying scattered material through analysis of repeated imagery. Remote-sensing and field data reliably substantiate an impact nature of the hollows around GECs. It is found that scattering of frozen blocks at a distance of up to 293 m from a GEC is capable of creating an impact hollow. These data indicate the influence of GEC on the relief through the formation of a microrelief within a radius of 15–20 times the radius of the crater itself. Our study aims at the prediction of risk zones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Multi-Annual Kinematics of an Active Rock Glacier Quantified from Very High-Resolution DEMs: An Application-Case in the French Alps
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10040547
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
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Abstract
Rock glaciers result from the long-term creeping of ice-rich permafrost along mountain slopes. Under warming conditions, deformation is expected to increase, and potential destabilization of those landforms may lead to hazardous phenomena. Monitoring the kinematics of rock glaciers at fine spatial resolution is
[...] Read more.
Rock glaciers result from the long-term creeping of ice-rich permafrost along mountain slopes. Under warming conditions, deformation is expected to increase, and potential destabilization of those landforms may lead to hazardous phenomena. Monitoring the kinematics of rock glaciers at fine spatial resolution is required to better understand at which rate, where and how they deform. We present here the results of several years of in situ surveys carried out between 2005 and 2015 on the Laurichard rock glacier, an active rock glacier located in the French Alps. Repeated terrestrial laser-scanning (TLS) together with aerial laser-scanning (ALS) and structure-from-motion-multi-view-stereophotogrammetry (SFM-MVS) were used to accurately quantify surface displacement of the Laurichard rock glacier at interannual and pluri-annual scales. Six very high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs, pixel size <50 cm) of the rock glacier surface were generated, and their respective quality was assessed. The relative horizontal position accuracy (XY) of the individual DEMs is in general less than 2 cm with a co-registration error on stable areas ranging from 20–50 cm. The vertical accuracy is around 20 cm. The direction and amplitude of surface displacements computed between DEMs are very consistent with independent geodetic field measurements (e.g., DGPS). Using these datasets, local patterns of the Laurichard rock glacier kinematics were quantified, pointing out specific internal (rheological) and external (bed topography) controls. The evolution of the surface velocity shows few changes on the rock glacier’s snout for the first years of the observed period, followed by a major acceleration between 2012 and 2015 affecting the upper part of the tongue and the snout. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Thaw Subsidence of a Yedoma Landscape in Northern Siberia, Measured In Situ and Estimated from TerraSAR-X Interferometry
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10040494
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (23538 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In permafrost areas, seasonal freeze-thaw cycles result in upward and downward movements of the ground. For some permafrost areas, long-term downward movements were reported during the last decade. We measured seasonal and multi-year ground movements in a yedoma region of the Lena River
[...] Read more.
In permafrost areas, seasonal freeze-thaw cycles result in upward and downward movements of the ground. For some permafrost areas, long-term downward movements were reported during the last decade. We measured seasonal and multi-year ground movements in a yedoma region of the Lena River Delta, Siberia, in 2013–2017, using reference rods installed deep in the permafrost. The seasonal subsidence was 1.7 ± 1.5 cm in the cold summer of 2013 and 4.8 ± 2 cm in the warm summer of 2014. Furthermore, we measured a pronounced multi-year net subsidence of 9.3 ± 5.7 cm from spring 2013 to the end of summer 2017. Importantly, we observed a high spatial variability of subsidence of up to 6 cm across a sub-meter horizontal scale. In summer 2013, we accompanied our field measurements with Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (DInSAR) on repeat-pass TerraSAR-X (TSX) data from the summer of 2013 to detect summer thaw subsidence over the same study area. Interferometry was strongly affected by a fast phase coherence loss, atmospheric artifacts, and possibly the choice of reference point. A cumulative ground movement map, built from a continuous interferogram stack, did not reveal a subsidence on the upland but showed a distinct subsidence of up to 2 cm in most of the thermokarst basins. There, the spatial pattern of DInSAR-measured subsidence corresponded well with relative surface wetness identified with the near infra-red band of a high-resolution optical image. Our study suggests that (i) although X-band SAR has serious limitations for ground movement monitoring in permafrost landscapes, it can provide valuable information for specific environments like thermokarst basins, and (ii) due to the high sub-pixel spatial variability of ground movements, a validation scheme needs to be developed and implemented for future DInSAR studies in permafrost environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Modeling Wildfire-Induced Permafrost Deformation in an Alaskan Boreal Forest Using InSAR Observations
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(3), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10030405
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
The discontinuous permafrost zone is one of the world’s most sensitive areas to climate change. Alaskan boreal forest is underlain by discontinuous permafrost, and wildfires are one of the most influential agents negatively impacting the condition of permafrost in the arctic region. Using
[...] Read more.
The discontinuous permafrost zone is one of the world’s most sensitive areas to climate change. Alaskan boreal forest is underlain by discontinuous permafrost, and wildfires are one of the most influential agents negatively impacting the condition of permafrost in the arctic region. Using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) of Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) images, we mapped extensive permafrost degradation over interior Alaskan boreal forest in Yukon Flats, induced by the 2009 Big Creek wildfire. Our analyses showed that fire-induced permafrost degradation in the second post-fire thawing season contributed up to 20 cm of ground surface subsidence. We generated post-fire deformation time series and introduced a model that exploited the deformation time series to estimate fire-induced permafrost degradation and changes in active layer thickness. The model showed a wildfire-induced increase of up to 80 cm in active layer thickness in the second post-fire year due to pore-ice permafrost thawing. The model also showed up to 15 cm of permafrost degradation due to excess-ice thawing with little or no increase in active layer thickness. The uncertainties of the estimated change in active layer thickness and the thickness of thawed excess ice permafrost are 27.77 and 1.50 cm, respectively. Our results demonstrate that InSAR-derived deformation measurements along with physics models are capable of quantifying fire-induced permafrost degradation in Alaskan boreal forests underlain by discontinuous permafrost. Our results also have illustrated that fire-induced increase of active layer thickness and excess ice thawing contributed to ground surface subsidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Remote Sensing of River Erosion on the Colville River, North Slope Alaska
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(3), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10030397
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7167 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Colville is an Arctic river in the Alaska North Slope. The residents of Nuiqsut rely heavily on the Colville for their subsistence needs. Increased erosion has been reported on the Colville, especially along bluffs, which shaped the goals of this study: to
[...] Read more.
The Colville is an Arctic river in the Alaska North Slope. The residents of Nuiqsut rely heavily on the Colville for their subsistence needs. Increased erosion has been reported on the Colville, especially along bluffs, which shaped the goals of this study: to use remote sensing techniques to map and quantify erosion rates and the volume of land loss at selected bluff sites along the main channel of the Colville, and to assess the suitability of automated methods of regional erosion monitoring. We used orthomosaics from high resolution aerial photos acquired in 1955 and 1979/1982, as well as high resolution WorldView-2 images from 2015 to quantify long-term erosion rates and the cubic volume of erosion. We found that, at the selected sites, erosion rates averaged 1 to 3.5 m per year. The erosion rate remained the same at one site and increased from 1955 to 2015 at two of the four sites. We estimated the volume of land loss to be in the magnitude of 166,000 m3 to 2.5 million m3 at our largest site. We also found that estimates of erosion were comparable for manual hand-digitized and automated methods, suggesting our automated method was effective and can be extended to monitor erosion at other sites along river systems that are bordered by bluffs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Permafrost Region Coherence Variation in the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau with a High-Resolution TerraSAR-X Image
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020298
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 15 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3854 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP) is heavily affected by climate change and has been undergoing serious permafrost degradation due to global warming. Synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) has been a significant tool for mapping surface features or measuring physical parameters, such as soil moisture,
[...] Read more.
The Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP) is heavily affected by climate change and has been undergoing serious permafrost degradation due to global warming. Synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) has been a significant tool for mapping surface features or measuring physical parameters, such as soil moisture, active layer thickness, that can be used for permafrost modelling. This study analyzed variations of coherence in the QTP area for the first time with high-resolution SAR images acquired from June 2014 to August 2016. The coherence variation of typical ground targets was obtained and analyzed. Because of the effects of active-layer (AL) freezing and thawing, coherence maps generated in the Beiluhe permafrost area exhibits seasonal variation. Furthermore, a temporal decorrelation model determined by a linear temporal-decorrelation component plus a seasonal periodic-decorrelation component and a constant component have been proposed. Most of the typical ground targets fit this temporal model. The results clearly indicate that railways and highways can hold high coherence properties over the long term in X-band images. By contrast, mountain slopes and barren areas cannot hold high coherence after one cycle of freezing and thawing. The possible factors (vegetation, soil moisture, soil freezing and thawing, and human activity) affecting InSAR coherence are discussed. This study shows that high-resolution time series of TerraSAR-X coherence can be useful for understanding QTP environments and for other applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Permafrost Distribution along the Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor, China Using High-Resolution Statistical Mapping and Modeling Integrated with Remote Sensing and GIS
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020215
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
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Abstract
Permafrost distribution in the Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor (QTEC) is of growing interest due to the increase in infrastructure development in this remote area. Empirical models of mountain permafrost distribution have been established based on field sampled data, as a tool for regional-scale assessments
[...] Read more.
Permafrost distribution in the Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor (QTEC) is of growing interest due to the increase in infrastructure development in this remote area. Empirical models of mountain permafrost distribution have been established based on field sampled data, as a tool for regional-scale assessments of its distribution. This kind of model approach has never been applied for a large portion of this engineering corridor. In the present study, this methodology is applied to map permafrost distribution throughout the QTEC. After spatial modelling of the mean annual air temperature distribution from MODIS-LST and DEM, using high-resolution satellite image to interpret land surface type, a permafrost probability index was obtained. The evaluation results indicate that the model has an acceptable performance. Conditions highly favorable to permafrost presence (≥70%) are predicted for 60.3% of the study area, declaring a discontinuous permafrost distribution in the QTEC. This map is useful for the infrastructure development along the QTEC. In the future, local ground-truth observations will be required to confirm permafrost presence in favorable areas and to monitor permafrost evolution under the influence of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessArticle Vegetation Changes along the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Engineering Corridor Since 2000 Induced by Climate Change and Human Activities
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010095
Received: 21 September 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (14807 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Qinghai-Tibet (QT) Plateau Engineering Corridor is located in the hinterland of the QT Plateau, which is highly sensitive to global climate change. Climate change causes permafrost degradation, which subsequently affects vegetation growth. This study focused on the vegetation dynamics and their relationships
[...] Read more.
The Qinghai-Tibet (QT) Plateau Engineering Corridor is located in the hinterland of the QT Plateau, which is highly sensitive to global climate change. Climate change causes permafrost degradation, which subsequently affects vegetation growth. This study focused on the vegetation dynamics and their relationships with climate change and human activities in the region surrounding the QT Plateau Engineering Corridor. The vegetation changes were inferred by applying trend analysis, the Mann-Kendall trend test and abrupt change analysis. Six key regions, each containing 40 nested quadrats that ranged in size from 500 × 500 m to 20 × 20 km, were selected to determine the spatial scales of the impacts from different factors. Cumulative growing season integrated enhanced vegetation index (CGSIEVI) values were calculated for each of the nested quadrats of different sizes to indicate the overall vegetation state over the entire year at different spatial scales. The impacts from human activities, a sudden increase in precipitation and permafrost degradation were quantified at different spatial scales using the CGSIEVI values and meteorological data based on the double mass curve method. Three conclusions were derived. First, the vegetation displayed a significant increasing trend over 23.6% of the study area. The areas displaying increases were mainly distributed in the Hoh Xil. Of the area where the vegetation displayed a significant decreasing trend, 72.4% was made up of alpine meadows. Second, more vegetation, especially the alpine meadows, has begun to degenerate or experience more rapid degradation since 2007 due to permafrost degradation and overgrazing. Finally, an active layer depth of 3 m to 3.2 m represents a limiting depth for alpine meadows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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