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Work Package 5

WP 5: Remote sensing and multi-scale integration

Remotely sensed data will need to be integrated with in situ measurements for improved process understanding and model validation. A wide range of Earth Observation (EO) datasets at model scale are available for this purpose, but there is a lack of representation of heterogeneity and dynamics, in particular. This needs to be addressed, as well as the actual suitability of the available data, by incorporating state-of-the-art approaches regarding surface cover distribution and the dynamics of biogeophysical properties, for all observation sites and across all scales.

This WP will support research in most of the other  WPs, all aiming to complete different  tasks. The remote sensing WP will, in particular, address issues that are not currently covered by existing monitoring schemes, in order to avoid duplication, and will make  use of state-of-the-art methods and sensors. Special attention will be given to microwave remote sensing due to its illumination and cloud cover independence, the long term availability of data, its ability to  capture  thermal and hydrological dynamics and, in particular, current plans by space agencies for the launch of new sensors.

It is proposed to take advantage of the monitoring service currently being  implemented by the European Space Agency's DUE Permafrost project. This will include work on:

  • circumpolar scales, such as standardized land cover information from multiple sources, coarse resolution  surface soil moisture and frozen/thawed status (also in conjunction with ESA STSE WACMOS), and recent coarse resolution multi-sensor land surface temperature and snow parameters from ESA's DUE  GlobSnow project,
  • regional scales, such as experimental surface hydrology monitoring schemes, and also
  • the collection of site-scale information on terrain and thermokarst features.

Upscaling of in situ measurements from relevant processes will require circumpolar assessment as well as in-depth site-scale investigations that will need to be comparable across all chosen sites.  Special emphasis will therefore be given not only to integrated analyses of all remotely sensed and other available spatial information, but also to coordinated remote sensing investigations (e.g., land surface  changes and validation) over the selected sites (TUW, AWI). Dedicated development with respect to the arctic environment will be undertaken for downscaling of long term coarse resolution land surface  temperature (UJF, CEA) and near surface soil moisture (TUW) measurements. This will support improved modelling of both permafrost and biogeochemical processes. More detailed spatial and temporal     inundation monitoring will address better representation of methane emissions and thermokarst dynamics (TUW). All results will be included in a coherent spatial grid database, conforming with the requirements for WP6/8.


WP Coordinator:

Technische Universität Wien

Principal Investigator:

Annett Bartsch