Science Service System
You are here : Home : Proposals_Summary

Summary of Proposal COA1736

TitleAssessing changes of arctic coastal environments with high resolution SAR data
Investigator Roth, Achim - DLR, DFD
Team Member
Prof. Duguay, Claude - University of Waterloo, Department of Geography and Environmental Management
Prof. Kaeaeb, Andreas - University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences
Dr. Bartsch, Annett - Vienna University of Technology, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation
Mr. Duffe, Jason - Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre
Research Scientist van der Sanden, Joost - Natural Resources Canada, Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
Mr. Ullmann, Tobias - University of Würzburg, Department of Geography, Remote Sensing Unit
Dr. Heim, Birgit - Alfred Wegener Institute, Geosciences & Periglacial Research
SummaryPolar Regions are affected by dramatic changes. In particular Arctic coastlines are facing risks due to a changing climate and increasing anthropogenic utilization of near shore environments. Thawing of permafrost leads to increasing exhalation of greenhouse gases, such as methane, which accelerates atmospheric warming. Additionally thawing of frozen soil reduces the cohesion of substrate material which leads to higher erosion susceptibility. Longer open water periods of the Arctic Ocean, as well as increased storm surge frequency and intensity also advance the thawing processes of frozen soil and the mean annual tidal influence. Both processes regulate the erosion of Arctic coasts. Longer open water periods will therefore intensify the coast erosion. It is expected that climate change is likely to open Northern trade routes (e.g. the Northwest Passages) for increasing periods of time, making it attractive as shipping routes. Also the exploration of natural resources in Polar Regions is growing. The drilling of oil and natural gas in arctic shelf regions will mean that Arctic coastal ecosystems will face increased risk to oil disasters, land consumption and terminal development.
The rapidly changing conditions and the projected threats demand intensification of research activities to ensure an adequate monitoring of affected regions. Beside accurate high resolution Land Cover information, topographic information with high accuracy and high spatial coverage are needed to describe the morphology of remote Arctic Regions and more specifically of Arctic shorelines. Such data will help to classify several key shoreline types, which is essential for environmental sensitivity mapping and ecosystem monitoring, e.g. to estimate the negative impact in case of oil disasters, to project the impact of an increasing sea level, or to quantify the erosion and nutrient matter discharge. Remote Sensing has the capacity to provide accurate high resolution information of the land cover and topography in an automated and standardized way. In particular modern SAR sensors like TerraSAR-X allow for mapping and monitoring within short observation periods. In particular the all-weather and day and night observation capability are important advantages in the Arctic due to high cloud coverage rates and low illumination during the winter period. TanDEM-X will additionally provide relief information in outstanding quality that allows classifying the shoreline and land’s topography at an unprecedented level of detail. The goal of this joint research proposal is the development of a classification scheme for an automated derivation of shoreline types and segments from high resolution polarimetric SAR data. The focus will be on TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X data. Additionally, a synergistic evaluation of TerraSAR-X and RADARSAT-2 data shall be performed. TerraSAR-X provides high spatial resolution data. The dual polarization limits the polarimetric analysis to some degree while RADARSAT-2 allows a fully polarimetric analysis, but at a poorer spatial resolution. The procedure developed shall be tested and verified on test sites in the Canadian Arctic representing different environments.It then shall betransfered and verifiedat other sites in northern Europe, Greenland andRussiato demonstrate the general applicability of the method for Polar Regions.

Back to list of proposals

© DLR 2004-2016