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TitleA new approach to mapping permafrost and change incorporating uncertainties in ground conditions and climate projections
AuthorZhang, Y; Olthof, I; Fraser, R; Wolfe, S A
SourceThe Cryosphere vol. 8, 2014 p. 2177-2194, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-8-2177-2014
Year2014
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130435
PublisherCopernicus Publications
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; permafrost; freezing ground; ground ice; ground temperatures; mapping techniques
Illustrationshistograms; plots; satellite images; flow charts; tables
ProgramProgram Coordination - Climate Change Science, Climate Change Geoscience
AbstractSpatially detailed information on permafrost distribution and change with climate is important for land use planning, infrastructure development, and environmental assessments. However, the required soil and surficial geology maps in the North are coarse, and projected climate scenarios vary widely. Considering these uncertainties, we propose a new approach to mapping permafrost distribution and change by integrating remote sensing data, field measurements, and a process-based model. Land cover types from satellite imagery are used to capture the general land conditions and to improve the resolution of existing permafrost maps. For each land cover type, field observations are used to estimate the probabilities of different ground conditions. A process-based model is used to quantify the evolution of permafrost for each ground condition under three representative climate scenarios (low, medium, and high warming). From the model results, the probability of permafrost occurrence and the most likely permafrost conditions are determined. We apply this approach at 20m resolution to a large area in Northwest Territories, Canada. Mapped permafrost conditions are in agreement with field observations and other studies. The data requirements, model robustness, and computation time are reasonable, and this approach may serve as a practical means to mapping permafrost and changes at high resolution in other regions.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The current permafrost maps are coarse and did not consider changes with climate. Therefore, they cannot meet the needs for land-use planning and for environmental assessments. This study developed a new approach to mapping permafrost and changes with climate by integrating field measurements, remote sensing, and a permafrost model. Land-cover types developed from satellite imagery are used to capture the general land conditions and to improve the spatial resolution. The probabilities of different ground conditions are estimated from field measurements. A process-based model is used to calculate the evolution of permafrost under three representative climate scenarios. From the model results, the probability of permafrost occurrence and the most likely permafrost conditions are determined. We tested this approach at 20 m resolution in a large area in Northwest Territories, Canada. It shows that this approach can be used to map permafrost in other regions at high resolution.
GEOSCAN ID293572