Science Service System

Summary of Proposal LAN1797

TitleMapping permafrost dynamics in Northern Alaska using TerraSAR-X data
Investigator Liu, Lin - The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Earth System Science Programme
Team Member
Dr. Chen, Albert - Stanford University, Geophyisc
Dr. Schaefer, Kevin - University of Colorado, National Snow and Ice Data Center
Dr. Zhang, Tingjun - University of Colorado, National Snow and Ice Data Center
SummaryWidespread changes in active layer and near-surface permafrost dynamics have profound effects on biological, biogeochemical, hydrologic, and landscape processes, on the flux of green house gases, and on human infrastructure in the Arctic. Seasonal freeze/thaw of the active layer and penetration of thaw into the top layers of ice-rich permafrost can cause substantial surface deformation through seasonal and long-term frost heave and thaw settlement. This surface deformation is large enough to be detected using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). The surface deformation detected from InSAR can also be used to infer active layer thickness(ALT). The overall objective of this proposed research is to investigate changes in the dynamics of the active layer and the top layers of ice-rich permafrost in northern Alaska from InSAR analysis on TerraSAR-X data. The expected results of the proposed research will provide (1) regional maps of ALT in northern Alaska with a resolution of about 100 meters and (2) detailed time series of thermokarst evolution at selected sites. The proposed research directly supports the TerraSAR-X scientific applications in polar regions. The results from this study will help to expand the existing monitoring network from individual points and a few select grid measurements to regional-scale, to provide results everywhere across large areas in northern Alaska and will be useful for identifying scales of spatial variability, detecting temporal trends, and validating models. This work will be supported by a US National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to the team.

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DLR 2004-2016