Multi-Resolution Analysis of LiDAR data for Characterizing a Stabilized Aeolian Landscape in South Texas

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:10 PM
Clifton Patrick Barrineau, Iliyana Dancheva Dobreva, Michael Peter Bishop and Chris Houser, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, United States
Aeolian systems are ideal natural laboratories for examining self-organization in patterned landscapes, as certain wind regimes generate certain morphologies. Topographic information and scale dependent analysis offer the opportunity to study such systems and characterize process-form relationships. A statistically based methodology for differentiating aeolian features would enable the quantitative association of certain surface characteristics with certain morphodynamic regimes. We conducted a multi-resolution analysis of LiDAR elevation data to assess scale-dependent morphometric variations in an aeolian landscape in South Texas. For each pixel, mean elevation values are calculated along concentric circles moving outward at 100-meter intervals (i.e. 500 m, 600 m, 700 m from pixel). The calculated average elevation values plotted against distance from the pixel of interest as curves are used to differentiate multi-scalar variations in elevation across the landscape. In this case, it is hypothesized these curves may be used to quantitatively differentiate certain morphometries from others like a spectral signature may be used to classify paved surfaces from natural vegetation, for example. After generating multi-resolution curves for all the pixels in a selected area of interest (AOI), a Principal Components Analysis is used to highlight commonalities and singularities between generated curves from pixels across the AOI. Our findings suggest that the resulting components could be used for identification of discrete aeolian features like open sands, trailing ridges and active dune crests, and, in particular, zones of deflation. This new approach to landscape characterization not only works to mitigate bias introduced when researchers must select training pixels for morphometric investigations, but can also reveal patterning in aeolian landscapes that would not be as obvious without quantitative characterization.