Airborne LiDAR and stereo-photogrammetric characterization of permafrost landscapes and thaw subsidence

ingmar.nitze [ at ]


Rapid climate change in the northern high latitudes has a strong impact on permafrost stability, apparent as coastal erosion, subsidence, or lake dynamics with potentially severe consequences for local communities and ecology. In a rapidly warming Arctic, the monitoring of these processes is essential to understand and predict permafrost dynamics over the upcoming decades. These landscape dynamics are highly diverse, localized, but widely distributed and require datasets with very high spatial resolution, which are barely achieved by satellite data alone. Repeat observations over several years allow for unprecedented insights into highly critical landscape dynamics and the potential integration with and validation of more coarse resolution satellite data. AWI’s research aircraft (Polar-5 and Polar-6) were equipped with airborne LiDAR (full-waveform, multi-echo) as well with experimental modular sensors such as the DLR-developed multi-spectral optical Modular Airborne Camera System (MACS) with a spatial resolution of few cm, stereo capabilities and a very broad radiometric range. The incoming data stream of acquired laser return point cloud data as well as hundreds of thousands of high-resolution images for individual campaigns poses new challenges of handling and processing large data volumes. Here we present an overview about past and upcoming flight campaigns in Alaska and northwestern Canada. Furthermore, we will show applications of the acquired datasets, such as assessments of subsidence, coastal erosion or infrastructure development.

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4th Helmholtz Data Science Symposium, 20 Jun 2019 - 21 Jun 2019, Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany.
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Nitze, I. , Grosse, G. , Boike, J. , Langer, M. , Lantuit, H. , Lange, S. , Grünberg, I. , Helm, V. , Sachs, T. , Hartmann, J. , Kumar, A. , Brauchle, J. , Bucher, T. , Gessner, M. and Kohnert, K. (2019): Airborne LiDAR and stereo-photogrammetric characterization of permafrost landscapes and thaw subsidence , 4th Helmholtz Data Science Symposium, Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany, 20 June 2019 - 21 June 2019 .

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