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Remotely Sensing the Morphometrics and Dynamics of a Cold Region Dune Field Using Historical Aerial Photography and Airborne LiDAR Data

1
Alaska Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
2
Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge, Galena, AK 99741, USA
3
Department of Geoscience, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
4
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
5
Woods Hole Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
6
Kodiak Mapping Inc., Palmer, Alaska 99645, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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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 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; LiDAR; sand dunes; permafrost; migration; sub-Arctic remote sensing; LiDAR; sand dunes; permafrost; migration; sub-Arctic
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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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Baughman, C.A.; Jones, B.M.; Bodony, K.L.; Mann, D.H.; Larsen, C.F.; Himelstoss, E.; Smith, J. Remotely Sensing the Morphometrics and Dynamics of a Cold Region Dune Field Using Historical Aerial Photography and Airborne LiDAR Data. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 792.

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