The coast from above: remote sensing tools for the investigation of Arctic coastal settings

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Lantuit, H. , Rachold, V. and Pollard, W. H. (2005): The coast from above: remote sensing tools for the investigation of Arctic coastal settings , Second International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP II). November 10-12 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark. .
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While concern about coastal erosion on arctic coasts arises due to increasing impacts on several northern communities and potential threats to oil and gas activities in the circum-arctic, means to document and assess precisely rates and causes of coastal erosion remain scarce due to the remote locations of arctic coastal settings. Remote sensing tools offer relatively cheap and efficient means to compensate for the remoteness of these areasWe present in this poster several applications of remote sensing tools which address the issue of coastal erosion on Herschel Island, Yukon Territory with sensors operating at different spatial and temporal scales. Optical high resolution imagery is used to map periglacial features and ground ice presence in the backshore zone and assess planimetric coastal retreat rates. High resolution stereo-pairs provide a mean to document the volume of sediment eroded from the coast as well as the quantities of total organic carbon released to the nearshore zone. Finally, investigations of the spectral characteristics of coastal landcovers using high to medium resolution imagery enables the reconstruction of several stages of landslide activity and the prediction of zones at risk on ice-rich coasts.We put into perspective these applications with the expected launches of new generations of high resolution satellites and satellite constellations and the subsequent changes in approach of the temporal and spatial scales of coastal erosion. In addition, we highlight the potential of these types of tools within the context of future arctic research as mean to provide a common baseline for coastal erosion studies in the circum-arctic.

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