Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2023-193
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2023-193
26 Sep 2023
 | 26 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Super-high-resolution aerial imagery datasets of permafrost landscapes in Alaska and northwestern Canada

Tabea Rettelbach, Ingmar Nitze, Inge Grünberg, Jennika Hammar, Simon Schäffler, Daniel Hein, Matthias Gessner, Tilman Bucher, Jörg Brauchle, Jörg Hartmann, Torsten Sachs, Julia Boike, and Guido Grosse

Abstract. Permafrost landscapes across the Arctic are very susceptible to a warming climate and are currently experiencing rapid change. High-resolution remote sensing datasets present a valuable source of information to better analyze and quantify current permafrost landscape characteristics and impacts of climate change on the environment. In particular, aerial datasets can provide further understanding of permafrost landscapes in transition due to local and widespread thaw. We here present a new dataset of super-high-resolution digital orthophotos, photogrammetric point clouds, and digital surface models that we acquired over permafrost landscapes in northwestern Canada, northern, and western Alaska. The imagery was collected with the Modular Aerial Camera System (MACS) during aerial campaigns conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute in the summers of 2018, 2019, and 2021. The MACS was specifically developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for operation under challenging light conditions in polar environments. It features cameras in the optical and the near-infrared wavelengths with up to 16 megapixels. We processed the images to four-band (blue – green – red – near-infrared) orthomosaics, digital surface models with spatial resolutions of 7 to 20 cm, and 3D point clouds with point densities up to 44 pts/m3. This super-high-resolution dataset provides opportunities for generating detailed training datasets of permafrost landform inventories, a baseline for change detection for thermokarst and thermo-erosion processes, and upscaling of field measurements to lower-resolution satellite observations. All three regional dataset collections, along with supporting data, are available via PANGAEA; the DOIs are listed in the Code and Data Availability Section.

Tabea Rettelbach, Ingmar Nitze, Inge Grünberg, Jennika Hammar, Simon Schäffler, Daniel Hein, Matthias Gessner, Tilman Bucher, Jörg Brauchle, Jörg Hartmann, Torsten Sachs, Julia Boike, and Guido Grosse

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-193', Anonymous Referee #1, 30 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2023-193', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Nov 2023
  • CC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-193', Matt Nolan, 06 Dec 2023
    • CC2: 'PDF of review, with formatting', Matt Nolan, 06 Dec 2023
Tabea Rettelbach, Ingmar Nitze, Inge Grünberg, Jennika Hammar, Simon Schäffler, Daniel Hein, Matthias Gessner, Tilman Bucher, Jörg Brauchle, Jörg Hartmann, Torsten Sachs, Julia Boike, and Guido Grosse

Data sets

Aerial imagery datasets of permafrost landscapes in Alaska and northwestern Canada acquired by the Modular Aerial Camera System Tabea Rettelbach, Ingmar Nitze, Inge Grünberg, Jennika Hammar, Simon Schäffler, Daniel Hein, Matthias Gessner, Tilman Bucher, Jörg Brauchle, Jörg Hartmann, Torsten Sachs, Julia Boike, and Guido Grosse https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.961577

Model code and software

MACS Processing Ingmar Nitze and Tabea Rettelbach https://github.com/awi-response/macs_processing

Tabea Rettelbach, Ingmar Nitze, Inge Grünberg, Jennika Hammar, Simon Schäffler, Daniel Hein, Matthias Gessner, Tilman Bucher, Jörg Brauchle, Jörg Hartmann, Torsten Sachs, Julia Boike, and Guido Grosse

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Latest update: 15 Apr 2024
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Short summary
Permafrost landscapes in the Arctic are rapidly changing due to climate warming. We here publish aerial images and elevation models with very high spatial detail that help study these landscapes in northwestern Canada and Alaska. The images were collected using the Modular Aerial Camera System (MACS). This dataset has significant implications for understanding permafrost landscape dynamics in response to climate change. It is publicly available for further research.
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