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Article

An Object-Based Approach for Mapping Tundra Ice-Wedge Polygon Troughs from Very High Spatial Resolution Optical Satellite Imagery

1
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
2
Woodwell Climate Research Center, Falmouth, MA 02540, USA
3
Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK 99508, USA
4
Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, Department of Natural Resources, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
5
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brigitte Leblon
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(4), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13040558
Received: 7 December 2020 / Revised: 26 January 2021 / Accepted: 28 January 2021 / Published: 4 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Mapping Using Remote Sensing)
Very high spatial resolution commercial satellite imagery can inform observation, mapping, and documentation of micro-topographic transitions across large tundra regions. The bridging of fine-scale field studies with pan-Arctic system assessments has until now been constrained by a lack of overlap in spatial resolution and geographical coverage. This likely introduced biases in climate impacts on, and feedback from the Arctic region to the global climate system. The central objective of this exploratory study is to develop an object-based image analysis workflow to automatically extract ice-wedge polygon troughs from very high spatial resolution commercial satellite imagery. We employed a systematic experiment to understand the degree of interoperability of knowledge-based workflows across distinct tundra vegetation units—sedge tundra and tussock tundra—focusing on the same semantic class. In our multi-scale trough modelling workflow, we coupled mathematical morphological filtering with a segmentation process to enhance the quality of image object candidates and classification accuracies. Employment of the master ruleset on sedge tundra reported classification accuracies of correctness of 0.99, completeness of 0.87, and F1 score of 0.92. When the master ruleset was applied to tussock tundra without any adaptations, classification accuracies remained promising while reporting correctness of 0.87, completeness of 0.77, and an F1 score of 0.81. Overall, results suggest that the object-based image analysis-based trough modelling workflow exhibits substantial interoperability across the terrain while producing promising classification accuracies. From an Arctic earth science perspective, the mapped troughs combined with the ArcticDEM can allow hydrological assessments of lateral connectivity of the rapidly changing Arctic tundra landscape, and repeated mapping can allow us to track fine-scale changes across large regions and that has potentially major implications on larger riverine systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: Arctic; permafrost; OBIA; commercial imagery; ice-wedge polygons; troughs Arctic; permafrost; OBIA; commercial imagery; ice-wedge polygons; troughs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Witharana, C.; Bhuiyan, M.A.E.; Liljedahl, A.K.; Kanevskiy, M.; Jorgenson, T.; Jones, B.M.; Daanen, R.; Epstein, H.E.; Griffin, C.G.; Kent, K.; Ward Jones, M.K. An Object-Based Approach for Mapping Tundra Ice-Wedge Polygon Troughs from Very High Spatial Resolution Optical Satellite Imagery. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 558. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13040558

AMA Style

Witharana C, Bhuiyan MAE, Liljedahl AK, Kanevskiy M, Jorgenson T, Jones BM, Daanen R, Epstein HE, Griffin CG, Kent K, Ward Jones MK. An Object-Based Approach for Mapping Tundra Ice-Wedge Polygon Troughs from Very High Spatial Resolution Optical Satellite Imagery. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(4):558. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13040558

Chicago/Turabian Style

Witharana, Chandi, Md A.E. Bhuiyan, Anna K. Liljedahl, Mikhail Kanevskiy, Torre Jorgenson, Benjamin M. Jones, Ronald Daanen, Howard E. Epstein, Claire G. Griffin, Kelcy Kent, and Melissa K. Ward Jones. 2021. "An Object-Based Approach for Mapping Tundra Ice-Wedge Polygon Troughs from Very High Spatial Resolution Optical Satellite Imagery" Remote Sensing 13, no. 4: 558. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13040558

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