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Summary of Proposal GEO0565

TitleSAR for measuring permafrost landscape changes (PERMA-SAR)
Investigator Lauknes, Tom Rune - Norut, Earth Observation
Team Member
Dr. Larsen, Yngvar - Northern Research Institute Tromsų, Earth Observation
Dr. Malnes, Eirik - Northern Research Institute Tromsų, Earth Observation
Professor Christiansen, Hanne H. - The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Arctic Geology
Dehls, John - Geological Survey of Norway,
SummaryThis TerraSAR-X AO project will fill the remote sensing X-band SAR data requirements in the IPY project "Permafrost Observatory Project: A Contribution to the Thermal State of Permafrost in Norway and Svalbard (TSP-NORWAY)", and in the Norwegian Space Centre funded project "SAR for detecting landscape changes related with permafrost". Access to satellite data from the sensors ERS-1/2, Envisat ASAR, and ALOS PALSAR is covered through the European Space Agency (ESA) International Polar Year project AOPOL.4104 where Tom Rune Lauknes is PI. Access to Radarsat-2 SAR data is covered through an official agreement between Norway and Canada. Access and ordering of archived satellite data is coordinated with the project "Geohazard - Satellite InSAR for monitoring of Geohazards in Norway". Objectives Many potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of global climatic change are associated with permafrost. In Norway permafrost represents a significant feature of the landscape. The effects of climatic change on permafrost and the seasonally thawed layer above it, the active layer, can severely disrupt ecosystems and human infrastructure and intensify global warming. Permafrost degradation may affect slope stability, and to evaluate certain geohazards (rock slides and mudflows), improved knowledge on the permafrost is essential to increase the understanding of geohazards in Norway and Svalbard. The objective of this project is to use C-band data (ERS-1/2, Envisat ASAR, Radarsat-2), X-band (TerraSAR-X), and L-band SAR data (ALOS PALSAR) to detect and quantify landscape changes related to permafrost. Method Differential SAR interferometry will be performed to detect fine-scale surface displacements. For time-series analysis, we will be using the short baseline subset (SBAS) method will be performed. The effects of wavelength and spatial resolution will be investigated by using data from multiple sensors and acquisition modes. To detect onset of melting of permafrost, we propose to analyze time-series of radar backscattering from different satellite radar sensors. We would like to compare different spatial resolution (from very high resolution TerraSAR-X to low resolution Envisat ASAR WideSwath data), different radar frequency (X/C/L-band), and different temporal resolution (from days to weeks). Data requirements In order to fully assess, and to capture rapid ground displacement changes, we will require acquisitions during two snow-free seasons, over the same area with the same beam mode. We would like to cover two study areas in northern Norway and one on Svalbard during two snow-free seasons (approximately 10 scenes from 15. June to 1. October). Since we are interested in separating vertical and horzontal displacement components, we would like to acquire data from both ascending and descending orbits, with a relatively high incidence angle. In total we request up to 120 TerraSAR-X scenes. We request StripMap mode, Single Look Complex. The minimum requirements for this project are one summer season of data for one study site, with both ascending and descending look directions. Deliverables We will produce a ground motion map for each sensor and image type. We will also produce an interpreted map including geology and ground measurements. We will produce time series maps showing onset of melting. The final report will compare the results of using different frequencies and spatial resolutions. All results will be published in scientific journals. Source of funding The activities of this project will be part of existing projects, so no additional funding will be required. Software development is currently funded by the Norwegian Space Centre, Norut, the Geological Survey of Norway and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute. The time devoted to the project by the project participants is funded by their institutions.

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