Detection of landscape dynamics in the Arctic Lena Delta with temporally dense Landsat time-series stacks

ingmar.nitze [ at ]


Abstract Arctic permafrost landscapes are among the most vulnerable and dynamic landscapes globally, but due to their extent and remoteness most of the landscape changes remain unnoticed. In order to detect disturbances in these areas we developed an automated processing chain for the calculation and analysis of robust trends of key land surface indicators based on the full record of available Landsat TM, {ETM} +, and {OLI} data. The methodology was applied to the ~ 29,000 km2 Lena Delta in Northeast Siberia, where robust trend parameters (slope, confidence intervals of the slope, and intercept) were calculated for Tasseled Cap Greenness, Wetness and Brightness, NDVI, and NDWI, and {NDMI} based on 204 Landsat scenes for the observation period between 1999 and 2014. The resulting datasets revealed regional greening trends within the Lena Delta with several localized hot-spots of change, particularly in the vicinity of the main river channels. With a 30-m spatial resolution various permafrost-thaw related processes and disturbances, such as thermokarst lake expansion and drainage, fluvial erosion, and coastal changes were detected within the Lena Delta region, many of which have not been noticed or described before. Such hotspots of permafrost change exhibit significantly different trend parameters compared to non-disturbed areas. The processed dataset, which is made freely available through the data archive PANGAEA, will be a useful resource for further process specific analysis by researchers and land managers. With the high level of automation and the use of the freely available Landsat archive data, the workflow is scalable and transferrable to other regions, which should enable the comparison of land surface changes in different permafrost affected regions and help to understand and quantify permafrost landscape dynamics.

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DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2016.03.038

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Nitze, I. and Grosse, G. (2016): Detection of landscape dynamics in the Arctic Lena Delta with temporally dense Landsat time-series stacks , Remote Sensing of Environment, 181 , 27 - 41 . doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2016.03.038

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