Using modern photogrammetric methods to assess vegetation change (1995-2017), Toolik Lake, Alaska

Authors: Brianna Rick*, University of Montana, Anna E Klene, University of Montana
Topics: Cryosphere, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Vegetation, Arctic, remote sensing, photogrammetry, unmanned aerial vehicle, cold regions, permafrost
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download


The Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) Project has been monitoring a 1 ha plot at Toolik Lake (CALM U12b) on the Alaskan North Slope since 1995. This site is located in the Arctic foothills physiographic province and vegetation consists of moist acidic tundra and a water-track complex. Air temperature and soil-surface temperature are measured in-situ daily, and the depth of thawed soil above permafrost (active-layer thickness) is measured annually during maximum thaw (August). Over time (1995-2017) there has been a slight increase in mean summer (July-August) air temperatures and a slight decrease in mean soil-surface temperatures. Such an increase in the difference between air and soil-surface temperatures may be related to changing vegetation properties. Color-infrared aerial photograph pairs from peak greenness in 1995 and 2017 were obtained from traditional airplane and unmanned aerial vehicles, respectively, and were analyzed using modern photogrammetric techniques to quantify vegetation change. Comparison between maps of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for both years reveals an expansion of shrubs within the water-track areas. This research supports and complements coarser remote sensing efforts as well as plot-level biomass measurements showing “Arctic greening” in this region.

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