OPPORTUNITIES TO USE
REMOTE SENSING
IN UNDERSTANDING
Permafrost AND
RELATED ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Report of a Workshop

Committee on Opportunities to Use Remote Sensing in Understanding Permafrost and Ecosystems:
A Workshop

Polar Research Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies





NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                           OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES







THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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Committee on Opportunities to Use Remote Sensing in Understanding Permafrost and Ecosystems: A Workshop Polar Research Board Division on Earth and Life Studies

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS • 500 Fifth Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract number NNX13AD79G. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agencies or any of their subagencies. International Standard Book Number-13:  978-0-309-30121-3 International Standard Book Number-10:  0-309-30121-1 Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www. nap.edu/. Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advis- ing the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON OPPORTUNITIES TO USE REMOTE SENSING IN UNDERSTANDING PERMAFROST AND ECOSYSTEMS: A WORKSHOP PRASAD GOGINENI (Co-Chair), University of Kansas, Lawrence VLADIMIR E. ROMANOVSKY (Co-Chair), University of Alaska, Fairbanks JESSICA CHERRY, University of Alaska, Fairbanks CLAUDE DUGUAY, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada SCOTT GOETZ, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA M. TORRE JORGENSON, Alaska Ecoscience, Fairbanks MAHTA MOGHADDAM, University of Southern California, Los Angeles NRC Staff KATIE THOMAS, Program Officer LAUREN BROWN, Associate Program Officer SHELLY FREELAND, Senior Program Assistant v

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POLAR RESEARCH BOARD JAMES W. C. WHITE (Chair), University of Colorado, Boulder WALEED ABDALATI, University of Colorado, Boulder SRIDHAR ANANDAKRISHNAN, Pennsylvania State University, University Park KATEY WALTER ANTHONY, University of Alaska, Fairbanks JULIE BRIGHAM-GRETTE, University of Massachusetts, Amherst JOHN CASSANO, University of Colorado, Boulder JENNIFER A. FRANCIS, Rutgers University, Marion, MA EILEEN E. HOFMANN, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA BERNICE M. JOSEPH, University of Alaska, Fairbanks ELLEN S. MOSLEY-THOMPSON, Ohio State University, Columbus GEORGE B. NEWTON, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, Marstons Mills, MA RAFE POMERANCE, Independent Consultant, Washington, DC CARYN REA, ConocoPhillips, Anchorage, AK GAIUS R. SHAVER, The Ecosystems Center, Woods Hole, MA ALLAN T. WEATHERWAX, Siena College, Loudonville, NY Ex-Officio JACQUELINE M. GREBMEIER (U.S. Delegate to IASC), University of Maryland, Solomons TERRY WILSON (U.S. Delegate to SCAR), Ohio State University, Columbus DENEB KARENTZ (Alternate U.S. Delegate to SCAR), University of San Francisco, CA NRC Staff AMANDA STAUDT, Director LAURIE GELLER, Program Director LAUREN BROWN, Associate Program Officer RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator vi

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Acknowledgments This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft ANNE W. NOLIN, Oregon State University, form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives Corvallis and technical expertise in accordance with procedures EDWARD SCHUUR, University of Florida, approved by the National Research Council’s Report Gainesville Review Committee. The purposes of this review are to provide candid and critical comments that will assist Although the reviewers listed above have provided the institution in making the published summary as many constructive comments and suggestions, they sound as possible and to ensure that the summary were not asked to endorse, nor did they see the final meets institutional standards of objectivity, evidence, draft of the workshop summary before its release. The and responsiveness to the study charge. The review review of this summary was overseen by Jeff Dozier, comments and draft manuscript remain confidential University of California, Santa Barbara. Appointed to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We by the National Research Council, he was responsible wish to thank the following for their participation in for making certain that an independent examination the review of this summary: of this summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments GUIDO GROSSE, Alfred Wegener Institute, were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final Potsdam, Germany content of this summary rests entirely with the author LARRY D. HINZMAN, University of Alaska, and the National Research Council. Fairbanks vii

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Contents OVERVIEW 1 1 INTRODUCTION 3 Permafrost Characteristics and Change, 3 Direct and Indirect Remote Sensing of Permafrost and Permafrost-Related Ecological Characteristics, 4 U.S. and International Efforts to Use Remote Sensing to Study Permafrost, 7 Workshop Description, 8 Structure of the Report, 9 2 REMOTE SENSING TECHNOLOGIES TO DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY MEASURE PERMAFROST AND P ERMAFROST-RELATED ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS 11 Permafrost Properties and Processes, 13 Permafrost-Related Ecological Variables, 27 Data Fusion, 39 3 FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES 43 REFERENCES 45 APPENDIXES A Abstracts of Workshop Presentations 53 B Workshop Agenda and Participant List 63 C Statement of Task 69 D Committee Biosketches 71 E Acronyms and Initialisms 73 ix

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