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Article

Assessment of LiDAR and Spectral Techniques for High-Resolution Mapping of Sporadic Permafrost on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

1
Department of Geosciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
2
ABR, Inc.—Environmental Research & Services, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA
3
Alaska Ecoscience, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA
4
Department of Statistics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020258
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Arctic Tundra)
Western Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) spans nearly 67,200 km2 and is among the largest and most productive coastal wetland ecosystems in the pan-Arctic. Permafrost currently forms extensive elevated plateaus on abandoned floodplain deposits of the outer delta, but is vulnerable to disturbance from rising air temperatures, inland storm surges, and salt-kill of vegetation. As pan-Arctic air and ground temperatures rise, accurate baseline maps of permafrost extent are critical for a variety of applications including long-term monitoring, understanding the scale and pace of permafrost degradation processes, and estimating resultant greenhouse gas dynamics. This study assesses novel, high-resolution techniques to map permafrost distribution using LiDAR and IKONOS imagery, in tandem with field-based parameterization and validation. With LiDAR, use of a simple elevation threshold provided a permafrost map with 94.9% overall accuracy; this approach was possible due to the extremely flat coastal plain of the YKD. The addition of high spatial-resolution IKONOS satellite data yielded similar results, but did not increase model performance. The methods and the results of this study enhance high-resolution permafrost mapping efforts in tundra regions in general and deltaic landscapes in particular, and provide a baseline for remote monitoring of permafrost distribution on the YKD. View Full-Text
Keywords: LiDAR; permafrost mapping; Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta; Alaska; tundra LiDAR; permafrost mapping; Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta; Alaska; tundra
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MDPI and ACS Style

Whitley, M.A.; Frost, G.V.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Macander, M.J.; Maio, C.V.; Winder, S.G. Assessment of LiDAR and Spectral Techniques for High-Resolution Mapping of Sporadic Permafrost on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020258

AMA Style

Whitley MA, Frost GV, Jorgenson MT, Macander MJ, Maio CV, Winder SG. Assessment of LiDAR and Spectral Techniques for High-Resolution Mapping of Sporadic Permafrost on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. Remote Sensing. 2018; 10(2):258. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020258

Chicago/Turabian Style

Whitley, Matthew A., Gerald V. Frost, M. T. Jorgenson, Matthew J. Macander, Chris V. Maio, and Samantha G. Winder 2018. "Assessment of LiDAR and Spectral Techniques for High-Resolution Mapping of Sporadic Permafrost on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska" Remote Sensing 10, no. 2: 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020258

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