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Summary of Proposal LAN1276

TitleInSAR versus field observations of mass wasting in the South Shetland islands, Antarctic Peninsula (INFIELD)
Investigator Vieira, Goncalo - University of Lisbon, Centre of Geographical Studies - Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning
Team Member
Prof Dr Catalão, João - Instituto Dom Luiz, Universidade de Lisboa (UL), Department of Geographical Engineering, Geophysics and Energy
Prof Dr Kääb, Andreas - UiO, University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences
Mr Jorge, Marco - IGOT, Universidade de Lisboa (UL), Center for Geographical Studies
Dr Mora, Carla - IGOT, Universidade de Lisboa (UL), Center for Geographical Studies
SummaryWe will apply SAR interferometry to TerraSAR-X Stripmap mode data of the South Shetland islands, in the maritime Antarctic, off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, aiming to detect and quantify terrain deformation by mass wasting processes related with permafrost, seasonal frost and with the ground-ice, but focusing mainly rock glaciers. The analysis is restricted to two areas of the archipelago: Admiralty Bay in King George Island, on the eastern sector of the archipelago, and Hurd and Mackay Peninsulas, in Livingston island, more to the West. In both areas, study objects, mainly rock glaciers, moraine complexes and thermokarst areas, are identified and mapped, but deformation associated and activity status and kinematics is virtually unknown. From previous experience in the area, we hypothesize that, accounting for the trade-off between scene coverage and spatial resolution, X band SAR imagery with the spatial resolution provided by Stripmap acquisition mode is suited to detect frozen ground deformation in the area. In a few key sites, ground truth will be obtained from GNSS-RTK surveys already started. Data on climate, snow cover and thickness, and GPS stations information will be used for refining the processing, mainly in what concerns to “snow-driven decorrelation”, humidity and troposphere vertical profile influence on the phase signal. DInSAR will be applied and the success of the project is dependent on the obtainment of accurate deformation information for some mass wasting features. DORIS (TU, Delft), and probably StaMPS, as well as routines developed by the IDL team will be used for the processing. In addition, one of the team members (Oslo) has access to the GAMMA software. There is sufficient archived imagery available for applying InSAR to the study sites of King George island. That is not the case for Livingston island case studies, for which two new image acquisition phases corresponding to a period centered in the Antarctic summers of 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 are requested. The terrain in the study areas is very dynamic and significant deformation may occur even in between the 11 days separating the two acquisitions, so that we require the maximum number of images for each one of the two periods, from the end of December to the beginning of April. This would total a maximum of about 20 new image acquisitions, 10 for each period. From the archives of King George Island, we are planning to request about 20 images. From imagery acquisition to results publication, the project would be developed in 3 years, a timeline which is related with the imagery needed for obtaining the desired (hypothesized) results and with the schedule of the Ph.D. of Marco Jorge. Dr. Gonçalo Vieira is the PI of the project PERMANTAR-2, Permafrost and Climate Change in the maritime Antarctic (PTDC/AAC-CLI/098885/2008), which presently frames Marco Jorge´s Ph.D. work. Very recently, a new project (Holocene Environmental Change in the Maritime Antarctic. Interactions between permafrost and the lacustrine environment (HOLOANTAR)) coordinated by ANTECC, having funds devoted to remote sensing applications, was approved by FCT. Funding for field work to obtain ground-truth at a few key sites is guaranteed for the next two field campaigns. In agreement with the objectives, the main deliverables of the project are: to demonstrate the capacity of TerraSAR-X interferometry for detecting ground-ice related terrain deformation at a centimeter level in the high latitude land environments of the maritime Antarctic; and to obtain deformation information for mass wasting processes and landforms directly related with permafrost, seasonal frost and with the ground-ice in the South Shetlands archipelago.

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