Opportunities and Requirements for ALOS Data Application to Arctic Coastline Change Detection

Pier Overduin(2), Rita Engemaier(1), Hugues Lantuit(2) and Guido Grosse(3)

(1) University Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24/25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
(2) Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar Research, Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
(3) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Drive, 99775 Fairbanks, United States


Arctic coastlines are distinguished by the effects of both sea and ground ice on coastal change. The sensitivity of the coastline to changes in sea level and environmental forcing depends primarily on coastal lithology, ground ice content and its vulnerability to warming, and on changes in duration, extent and thickness of sea ice cover. Through their climatically induced variability, ground ice and sea ice affect sea surface height relative to the coastline, and both parameters have the potential to dramatically increase erosion rates during periods of warming. The Arctic Circumpolar Coastal Observatory Network (ACCO-Net) Remote Sensing Baseline (awarded by ESA ADEN, PI Overduin, ID 4133) is seeking to establish a standardized remote sensing dataset for more than 41 sites along the Arctic coasts, including 24 key observatory sites of the Arctic Coastal Dynamics (ACD) project of the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone programme of the IGBP-IHDP. Within ACD, multi-temporal archived and new high-resolution data (ALOS PRISM, SPOT) is acquired for detailed monitoring of permafrost coasts and land cover mapping in a wide variety of coastal environments, including unconsolidated and lithified, emergent and submergent, and erosive and accumulative environments. Data requirements for annual resolution of coastline changes are a spatial resolution of 2.5 m or better, and the temporal resolution decreases with spatial resolution. Digital elevation models and bathymetry of the nearshore zone offer the largest step forward in estimating sediment flux rates due to erosion and accumulation. So far they are hampered by a vertical resolution limited to 3 to 4 times the lateral spatial resolution, by the lack of ground control points at most remote Arctic locations, and by the fact that the steep inclination of eroding coastal bluffs provides a poor target for Nadir-looking remote sensing sensors. We present the current state of our project, its data requirements, and describe the potential application of ALOS imagery.



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