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SAR Interferometry and Polarimetry for Mapping and Monitoring Permafrost in Canada

Brian Brisco(1,1), Naomi Short(1), Paul Budkewitsch(1), Kevin Murnaghan(1) and Francois Charbonneau(1)

(1) CCRS, 588 Booth St, Ottawa, K1A 0Y7, Canada


Rapid changes are occurring in Northern landscapes due to the warming climate. The ice packs, glaciers and snow fields are retreating and the permafrost is melting leading to large scale changes in surface hydrology and subsequent environmental impacts on infrastructure, as well as vegetation and wildlife habitat. Due to the isolation of this area and the large size of the region remote sensing is an attractive approach for mapping and monitoring these changes. SAR interferometry can be used to provide input to mapping and monitoring these permafrost changes by detecting changes in the surface due to changes in the permafrost status. Polarimetry can also help identify the scattering mechanisms that are occurring and aid in interpreting the SAR data as well as the coherence images and the interferograms. To evaluate and develop this approach for permafrost applications several test sites in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have been selected for observation with Radarsat-2, ALOS, and TerraSAR-X. This paper will describe the test sites, the INSAR and polarimetric analyses methodology, and the results for permafrost mapping and monitoring applications.


Full paper


  Higher level                 Last modified: 07.05.06