Thawing-induced cliff top retreat in permafrost landscapes is mainly due to thermo-erosion. Ground-ice-rich permafrost landscapes are specifically vulnerable to thermo-erosion and may show high degradation rates.
Within the HGF Alliance Remote Sensing and the FP7 PAGE21 permafrost programs we investigated how SAR and optical remote sensing can contribute to the monitoring of erosion rates of ice-rich cliffs in Arctic Siberia (Lena Delta, Russia).
We produced two different vector products:
i) Intra-annual cliff top retreat based on TerraSAR-X (TSX) satellite data (2012-2014):
High-temporal resolution time series of TSX satellite data allow the inter-annual and intra-annual monitoring of the upper cliff-line retreat also under bad weather conditions and continuous cloud coverage. This published SAR product contains the retreating upper cliff lines of a 1.5 km long part of eroding ice-rich coast of Kurungnakh Island in the central Lena Delta. The upper cliff line was mapped using a thresholding approach for images acquired in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 for the months June (2013, 2014), July (2013, 2014), August (2012, 2013, 2014) and September (2013, 2014). The cliff top retreat vector product is called 'upper_cliff_TerraSAR-X'. While the 2014 cliff lines show a clear retreat of 2 to 3 m/month, the cliff top lines for 2012 and 2013 are not chronologically ordered. However, lines from the end of the season of a year are always close to the lines from the beginning of the next summer season, indicating low cliff retreat in winter.
ii) 4-year cliff top retreat based on optical satellite data (2010-2014):
Long-term cliff top retreat could be assessed with two high-spatial resolution optical satellite images (GeoEye-1, 2010-08-05 and Worldview-1, 2014-08-19). The cliff top retreat vector product is called 'upper_cliff_optical'.
The long-term cliff top retreat derived from optical satellite data are 35 m cliff retreat within 4 years. The higher-temporal resolution SAR data equivalently show long-term rates of 18 m within 2 years and nearly now degradation activities in winter but maximum erosion rates in summer months.The Intra-seasonal cliff top retreat lines from 2014 show a rate of 2 to 3 m per month.
text/tab-separated-values, 6 data points