Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2022-357
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2022-357
 
02 Dec 2022
02 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Weekly High Resolution Multispectral and Thermal UAS Mapping of an Alpine Catchment During Summer Snowmelt, Niwot Ridge, Colorado

Oliver Wigmore1,2,3 and Noah Paul Molotch2,4 Oliver Wigmore and Noah Paul Molotch
  • 1Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 2Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder CO, USA
  • 3Earth Lab, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder CO, USA
  • 4Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

Abstract. Alpine ecosystems are experiencing rapid change, as a result of warming temperatures and changes in the quantity, timing and phase of precipitation. This in turn impacts patterns and processes of ecohydrologic connectivity, vegetation productivity, and water provision to downstream regions. The fine scale heterogeneous nature of these environments makes them challenging areas to measure with traditional instrumentation, and spatiotemporally coarse satellite imagery. This paper describes the data collection, processing, accuracy assessment, and availability, of a series of ~weekly interval unmanned aerial system (UAS) surveys, flown over the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research site during the 2017 summer snowmelt season. Visible, near infrared, and thermal infrared imagery were collected. Our unique series of 5–25 cm multispectral and thermal orthomosaics provide a unique snapshot of seasonal transitions in a high alpine catchment. Weekly radiometrically calibrated Normalized Difference Vegetation Index imagery can be used to track vegetation productivity at the pixel scale through time. Thermal imagery can be used to map the movement of snow melt across and within the near subsurface, as well as identify locations where groundwater is discharging to the surface. A 10 cm digital surface model and dense point cloud are also provided for topographic analysis of the snow free surface. Data summaries, citations, and DOIs are provided in the Data Availability section. These datasets augment ongoing data collection within this heavily studied and important alpine site, and are made publicly available to facilitate wider use by the research community.

Oliver Wigmore and Noah Paul Molotch

Status: open (until 27 Jan 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-357', Paul Schattan, 16 Jan 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-357', Marc Adams, 20 Jan 2023 reply

Oliver Wigmore and Noah Paul Molotch

Data sets

Uncalibrated RGB orthomosaic imagery from UAV campaign at Niwot Ridge, 2017. ver 1 Wigmore, O. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/073a5a67ddba08ba3a24fe85c5154da7

Calibrated red/near infrared orthomosaic imagery from UAV campaign at Niwot Ridge, 2017. ver 1 Wigmore, O. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/dadd5c2e4a65c781c2371643f7ff9dc4

5cm multispectral imagery from UAV campaign at Niwot Ridge, 2017 ver 1 Wigmore, O. and Niwot Ridge LTER https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/a4f57c82ad274aa2640e0a79649290ca

25cm NDVI data from UAV campaign at Niwot Ridge Saddle Catchment, 2017 ver 1 Wigmore, O. and Niwot Ridge LTER https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/444a7923deebc4b660436e76ffa3130c

Surface temperature mapped from thermal infrared survey from UAV campaign at Niwot Ridge, 2017. ver 2 Wigmore, O. and Niwot Ridge LTER https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/70518d55a8d6ec95f04f2d8a0920b7b8

Photogrammetric point cloud and DSM from UAV campaign at Niwot Ridge, 2017. ver 2. Wigmore, O. and Niwot Ridge LTER https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/1289b3b41a46284d2a1c42f1b08b3807

Video supplement

Drones over Niwot Oliver Wigmore https://youtu.be/5FxboPSCbW4

Video abstract

Drones over Niwot Oliver Wigmore https://youtu.be/5FxboPSCbW4

Oliver Wigmore and Noah Paul Molotch

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Short summary
We flew a custom-built drone fitted with visible, near infrared, and thermal cameras every week over a summer season at Niwot Ridge in Colorado’s alpine tundra. We processed these images into seamless orthomosaics that record changes in snow cover, vegetation health, and the movement of water over the land surface. These novel datasets provide a unique centimetre resolution snapshot of ecohydrologic processes, connectivity, and spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the alpine zone.