Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An SwRI-led remote-sensing study quantifies permafrost degradation in Arctic Alaskan wetlands

19.04.2013
A team of geoscientists from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) using newly available remote-sensing technology has achieved unprecedented detail in quantifying subtle, long-period changes in the water levels of shallow lakes and ponds in hard-to-reach Arctic wetlands.

Analysis comparing time-lapsed, high-resolution satellite imagery of the Ahnewetut Wetlands in Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska, revealed an accelerated loss of surface water in shallow thaw lakes and ponds over a recent 27-year period compared to the preceding 27-year timespan. Those periods generally coincide with a well-known cooling and warming cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, whose period is about five decades.

The analysis compared historical high-resolution aerial photography with more recent satellite imagery to quantify the evolution of 22 shallow lakes and surrounding permafrost in the park over 54 years between 1951 and 2005.

"Total water-body surface area decreased by only 0.4 percent during the first 27 years, but decreased by 5.5 percent during the second 27-year interval," said Dr. Marius Necsoiu, principal investigator for the study and a principal scientist in SwRI's Geosciences and Engineering Division. Water body surface area was relatively stable during the early, cooler time interval, with large relative losses in small ponds balanced by small relative gains in large lakes. More significant decreases in surface area occurred during the latter, warmer timespan, including complete drainage of two ponds.

Meanwhile, ice-wedge "polygons" in the soil between the water bodies (so-named because of their geometric shapes when viewed from above), transformed from having relatively low centers to relatively high centers during the more recent interval after little change was detected during the first 27 years. The change can be explained by the melting away of ice wedges that had formed the elevated rims of the polygons, leaving the rims depressed in comparison to the polygon centers.

"This project showed that semi-automated analysis of remote-sensing data can yield important information about wetland lake dynamics and permafrost degradation in remote areas where limited funding and staff shortages prevent detailed inspections on the ground," Necsoiu said.

The SwRI-funded study was published under the title, "Multi-temporal image analysis of historical aerial photographs and recent satellite imagery reveals evolution of water body surface area and polygonal terrain morphology in Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska," by Necsoiu, Dinwiddie, Walter, Larsen, and Stothoff in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

For more information, contact Joe Fohn at (210) 522-4630, Communications Department, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

Joe Fohn | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swri.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Volcanic eruption masked acceleration in sea level rise
26.08.2016 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Biomass turnover time in ecosystems is halved by land use
23.08.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

3-D-printed structures 'remember' their shapes

29.08.2016 | Materials Sciences

From rigid to flexible

29.08.2016 | Life Sciences

Sensor systems identify senior citizens at risk of falling within 3 weeks

29.08.2016 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>