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QUANTIFICATION OF PERMAFROST THAW DEPTH AND SNOW DEPTH IN INTERIOR ALASKA AT MULTIPLE SCALES USING FIELD, AIRBORNE, AND SPACEBORNE DATA

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Date Issued:
2023
Abstract/Description:
Much of Interior Alaska contains permafrost, which is a permanently frozen layer found within or at the surface of the Earth. Historically, this permafrost has experienced relative stability, with limited thaw during warmer summer months and fire events. However, largely due to the impact of a warming climate, among other factors, permafrost that would typically experience limited thawing during the summer season has recently been thawing at an unprecedented rate. Trapped by this layer of permafrost is a large quantity of carbon (C), which could be released into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Due to the remoteness of the Arctic, there is a lack of yearly recorded permafrost thaw depth and snow depth values across much of the region. As such, the focus of this research was to establish a framework to identify how permafrost thaw depth and snow depth can be predicted across both a 1 km2 local scale and a 100 km2 regional scale in Interior Alaska by a combination of 1 m2 field data, airborne and spaceborne remote sensing products, and object-based machine learning techniques from 2014 – 2022. Machine learning techniques Random Forest, Support Vector Machine, k-Nearest Neighbor, Multiple Linear Regression, and Ensemble Analysis were applied to predict the permafrost thaw depth and snow depth. Results indicated that this methodology was able to successfully upscale both the 1 m2 field permafrost thaw depth and snow depth data to a 1 km2 local scale before successfully further upscaling the estimated results to a 100 km2 regional scale, while also linking the estimated values with ecotypes. The best results were produced by Ensemble Analysis, which tended to have the highest Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient, alongside the lowest Mean Absolute Error and Root Mean Square Error. Both Random Forest and k-Nearest Neighbor also provided encouraging results. The presence or absence of a thick canopy cover was strongly connected with thaw depth and snow depth estimates. Image resolution was an important factor when upscaling field data to the local scale, however it was overall less critical for further upscaling to the regional scale.
Title: QUANTIFICATION OF PERMAFROST THAW DEPTH AND SNOW DEPTH IN INTERIOR ALASKA AT MULTIPLE SCALES USING FIELD, AIRBORNE, AND SPACEBORNE DATA.
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Name(s): Brodylo, David , author
Zhang, Caiyun, Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Department of Geosciences
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2023
Date Issued: 2023
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 240 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Much of Interior Alaska contains permafrost, which is a permanently frozen layer found within or at the surface of the Earth. Historically, this permafrost has experienced relative stability, with limited thaw during warmer summer months and fire events. However, largely due to the impact of a warming climate, among other factors, permafrost that would typically experience limited thawing during the summer season has recently been thawing at an unprecedented rate. Trapped by this layer of permafrost is a large quantity of carbon (C), which could be released into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Due to the remoteness of the Arctic, there is a lack of yearly recorded permafrost thaw depth and snow depth values across much of the region. As such, the focus of this research was to establish a framework to identify how permafrost thaw depth and snow depth can be predicted across both a 1 km2 local scale and a 100 km2 regional scale in Interior Alaska by a combination of 1 m2 field data, airborne and spaceborne remote sensing products, and object-based machine learning techniques from 2014 – 2022. Machine learning techniques Random Forest, Support Vector Machine, k-Nearest Neighbor, Multiple Linear Regression, and Ensemble Analysis were applied to predict the permafrost thaw depth and snow depth. Results indicated that this methodology was able to successfully upscale both the 1 m2 field permafrost thaw depth and snow depth data to a 1 km2 local scale before successfully further upscaling the estimated results to a 100 km2 regional scale, while also linking the estimated values with ecotypes. The best results were produced by Ensemble Analysis, which tended to have the highest Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient, alongside the lowest Mean Absolute Error and Root Mean Square Error. Both Random Forest and k-Nearest Neighbor also provided encouraging results. The presence or absence of a thick canopy cover was strongly connected with thaw depth and snow depth estimates. Image resolution was an important factor when upscaling field data to the local scale, however it was overall less critical for further upscaling to the regional scale.
Identifier: FA00014229 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (PhD)--Florida Atlantic University, 2023.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Permafrost--Alaska
Remote sensing
Machine learning
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00014229
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Host Institution: FAU