Using TerraSAR-X and hyperspectral airborne data to monitor surface deformation and physical properties of the Barrow permafrost landscape, Alask

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Mahmud Haghshenas-Haghighi1, Mahdi Motagh2, Birgit Heim3, Torsten Sachs2, Katrin Kohnert1 and Dmitry A Streletskiy4, (1)Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam, Germany, (2)Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany, (3)Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany, (4)George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States
In this study, we assess seasonal subsidence/heaving due to thawing/freezing of the permafrost in Barrow (71.3 N, 156.5 W) at the northernmost point of Alaska. The topographic relief in this area is low. Thick Permafrost underlies the entire area, with large ice volumes in its upper layer. With a large collection of field measurements during the past decades at the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO), it is an ideal site for permafrost investigation. There are long term systematic geocryological investigations within the Global Terrestrial Network (GTN-P) of the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) programme.

We use 28 TerraSAR-X images, acquired between December 2012 and December 2013 and analyze them using the Small BAseline Subset (SBAS) technique to extract time-series of ground surface deformation. We also analyze hyperspectral images acquired by the airborne AISA sensor over Barrow area, within the AIRMETH2013 programme, to assess physical characteristics such as vegetation biomass and density, surface moisture, and water bodies. Finally, we combine the information derived from both InSAR and hyperspectral analysis, with field measurements to investigate the link between physical characteristics of the permafrost and surface displacement.