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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1579; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101579

Thermokarst Development Detected from High-Definition Topographic Data in Central Yakutia

1
College of Economics, Kanto Gakuin University, 1-50-1, Mutsuura-higashi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-8501, Japan
2
Center for Spatial Information Science, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8568, Japan
3
Graduate School of Bioresources, Mie University, 1577 Kurimamachiya-cho Tsu city, Mie 514-8507, Japan
4
Melnikov Permafrost Institute, 36 Merzlotnaya Str., 677010 Yakutsk, Russia
5
BEST International Centre, North-Eastern Federal University, 58 Belinsky str., 677027 Yakutsk, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 15 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Abstract

Eastern Siberia is characterized by widespread permafrost thawing and subsequent thermokarst development. Estimation of the impacts of the predicted rise in precipitation and air temperatures under climate change requires quantitative knowledge about the spatial distribution of thermokarst development. In the last few years, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and structure-from-motion multi-view stereo (SfM-MVS) photogrammetry attracted a tremendous amount of interest for acquiring high-definition topographic data. This study detected characteristics of thermokarst landforms using UAS and SfM-MVS photogrammetry at a disused airfield (3.0 ha) and for arable land that was previously used for farming (6.3 ha) in the Churapcha area, located on the right bank of the Lena River in central Yakutia. Orthorectified photographs and digital terrain models with spatial resolutions of 4.0 cm and 8.0 cm, respectively, were obtained for this study. At the disused airfield site and the abandoned arable land, 174 and 867 high-centered polygons that developed after the 1990s were detected, respectively. The data showed that the average diameter and average area of the polygons at the disused airfield site were 11.6 m and 111.2 m2, respectively, while those of the polygons in the abandoned arable land were 7.4 m and 46.8 m2, respectively. The abandoned arable land was characterized by smaller polygons and a higher polygon density. The differences in polygon size for the abandoned arable land and the disused airfield site indicate a difference in the ice wedge distributions and thermokarst developments. The subsidence rate was estimated as 2.1 cm/year for the disused airfield site and 3.9 cm/year for the abandoned arable land. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermokarst; high-centered polygons; UAS; SfM-MVS photogrammetry; eastern Siberia thermokarst; high-centered polygons; UAS; SfM-MVS photogrammetry; eastern Siberia
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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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Saito, H.; Iijima, Y.; Basharin, N.I.; Fedorov, A.N.; Kunitsky, V.V. Thermokarst Development Detected from High-Definition Topographic Data in Central Yakutia. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1579.

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