Science Service System

Summary of Proposal LAN0164

TitleTERRA-GLAKIMA - Potential of TerraSAR-X imagery for mapping rock glacier kinematics and mass movements
Investigator Braun, Matthias - Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Geographisches Institut
Team Members
Prof. Dr. Dikau, Richard - Bonn University, Department of Geography, Geomorphological and Environmental Research Group
Dipl. Geogr. Krautblatter, Michael - Bonn University, Department of Geography, Geomorphological and Environmental Research Group
Dr. Nyenhuis, Michael - Bonn University, Department of Geography, Geomorphological and Environmental Research Group
Dipl. Geogr. Otto, Jan-Christoph - Bonn University, Department of Geography, Geomorphological and Environmental Research Group
Prof. Dr. Kääb, Andreas - University of Oslo, Department of Geosciences
Winiger, Matthias - Bonn University, Department of Geography, Geomorphological and Environmental Research Group
Börst, Uwe - Bonn University, Department of Geography, Geomorphological and Environmental Research Group
SummaryThe project targets to use TerraSAR’s high-resolution capabilities and its high temporal revisit time to analyse the kinematics of rock glaciers and mass movements. The distribution of rock glaciers is considered a good indicator for permafrost distribution in alpine regions. Raising air temperatures may lead to changes in kinematics of rock glaciers or induce slope instabilities to changes in the permafrost regime. Consequently, populated areas in high mountain regions can be affected by hazards induced by mass movement or related upstream river damming. Counteractions are cost intensive and require profound knowledge about the distribution of endangered areas, quantities of movement as well as risk assessments. Cost effective monitoring tools are required. During recent years SAR interferometry from ERS-1/2 and JERS imagery has also been applied to rock glaciers and mass movements. The improved capabilities of TerraSAR-X could enable the large-scale mapping of permafrost movements as well as the detailed study of rock glacier kinematics by differential SAR interferometry. The project team intends to combine conventional in-situ measurements, analysis of repeat aerial photographs and InSAR techniques for a comprehensive study on rock glacier kinematics and mass movements. Summer SAR imagery has proven to be most suited for InSAR analysis over rock glaciers as extend of snow covered areas is smallest and scattering from rock surfaces leads to higher coherence. For inventorying purposes of rock glaciers over larger areas TerraSAR stripmap mode data is intended whereas high-resolution capabilities of the spotlight mode shall be fully exploited for the known rock glacier areas. A steep incident angle is preferred to minimize topographic effects in the mountainous areas. A total of 48 images in stripmap mode and 176 high-resolution spotlight mode are requested. Different viewing geometry is planed by combining ascending and descending tracks a) to include different aspect orientation of the rock glaciers and b) for the construction of a 2D-velocity field. Deliverables comprise a report on achieved results, problems and recommendations including figures of velocity maps and rock glacier distribution. The university and the federal state provide core funding of some principle investigators. Funding for a least one PhD student shall be acquired via a joint proposal (e.g. DFG).

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