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Title: Mapping Arctic plant functional type distributions in the Barrow Environmental Observatory using WorldView-2 and LiDAR datasets

Abstract

Multi-scale modeling of Arctic tundra vegetation requires characterization of the heterogeneous tundra landscape, which includes representation of distinct plant functional types (PFTs). We combined high-resolution multi-spectral remote sensing imagery from the WorldView-2 satellite with light detecting and ranging (LiDAR)-derived digital elevation models (DEM) to characterize the tundra landscape in and around the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO), a 3021-hectare research reserve located at the northern edge of the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain. Vegetation surveys were conducted during the growing season (June August) of 2012 from 48 1 m 1 m plots in the study region for estimating the percent cover of PFTs (i.e., sedges, grasses, forbs, shrubs, lichens and mosses). Statistical relationships were developed between spectral and topographic remote sensing characteristics and PFT fractions at the vegetation plots from field surveys. These derived relationships were employed to statistically upscale PFT fractions for our study region of 586 hectares at 0.25-m resolution around the sampling areas within the BEO, which was bounded by the LiDAR footprint. We employed an unsupervised clustering for stratification of this polygonal tundra landscape and used the clusters for segregating the field data for our upscaling algorithm over our study region, which was an inverse distance weighted (IDW)more » interpolation. We describe two versions of PFT distribution maps upscaled by IDW from WorldView-2 imagery and LiDAR: (1) a version computed from a single image in the middle of the growing season; and (2) a version computed from multiple images through the growing season. This approach allowed us to quantify the value of phenology for improving PFT distribution estimates. We also evaluated the representativeness of the field surveys by measuring the Euclidean distance between every pixel. This guided the ground-truthing campaign in late July of 2014 for addressing uncertainty based on representativeness analysis by selecting 24 1 m 1 m plots that were well and poorly represented. Ground-truthing indicated that including phenology had a better accuracy (R 2=0.75, RMSE=9.94) than the single image upscaling (R 2=0.63 , RMSE=12.05) predicted from IDW. We also updated our upscaling approach to include the 24 ground-truthing plots, and a second ground-truthing campaign in late August of 2014 indicated a better accuracy for the phenology model (R 2=0.61 , RMSE=13.78 ) than only using the original 48 plots for the phenology model (R 2=0.23 , RMSE=17.49). After all, we believe that the cluster-based IDW upscaling approach and the representativeness analysis offer new insights for upscaling high-resolution data in fragmented landscapes. This analysis and approach provides PFT maps needed to inform land surface models in Arctic ecosystems.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [3];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Univ. of Bristol, Bristol (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1327746
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Remote Sensing
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2072-4292
Publisher:
MDPI
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Arctic; WorldView-2; plant functional type; interpolation; clustering

Citation Formats

Langford, Zachary, Kumar, Jitendra, Hoffman, Forrest, Norby, Richard J., Wullschleger, Stan, Sloan, Victoria, and Iversen, Colleen. Mapping Arctic plant functional type distributions in the Barrow Environmental Observatory using WorldView-2 and LiDAR datasets. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3390/rs8090733.
Langford, Zachary, Kumar, Jitendra, Hoffman, Forrest, Norby, Richard J., Wullschleger, Stan, Sloan, Victoria, & Iversen, Colleen. Mapping Arctic plant functional type distributions in the Barrow Environmental Observatory using WorldView-2 and LiDAR datasets. United States. doi:10.3390/rs8090733.
Langford, Zachary, Kumar, Jitendra, Hoffman, Forrest, Norby, Richard J., Wullschleger, Stan, Sloan, Victoria, and Iversen, Colleen. 2016. "Mapping Arctic plant functional type distributions in the Barrow Environmental Observatory using WorldView-2 and LiDAR datasets". United States. doi:10.3390/rs8090733. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1327746.
@article{osti_1327746,
title = {Mapping Arctic plant functional type distributions in the Barrow Environmental Observatory using WorldView-2 and LiDAR datasets},
author = {Langford, Zachary and Kumar, Jitendra and Hoffman, Forrest and Norby, Richard J. and Wullschleger, Stan and Sloan, Victoria and Iversen, Colleen},
abstractNote = {Multi-scale modeling of Arctic tundra vegetation requires characterization of the heterogeneous tundra landscape, which includes representation of distinct plant functional types (PFTs). We combined high-resolution multi-spectral remote sensing imagery from the WorldView-2 satellite with light detecting and ranging (LiDAR)-derived digital elevation models (DEM) to characterize the tundra landscape in and around the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO), a 3021-hectare research reserve located at the northern edge of the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain. Vegetation surveys were conducted during the growing season (June August) of 2012 from 48 1 m 1 m plots in the study region for estimating the percent cover of PFTs (i.e., sedges, grasses, forbs, shrubs, lichens and mosses). Statistical relationships were developed between spectral and topographic remote sensing characteristics and PFT fractions at the vegetation plots from field surveys. These derived relationships were employed to statistically upscale PFT fractions for our study region of 586 hectares at 0.25-m resolution around the sampling areas within the BEO, which was bounded by the LiDAR footprint. We employed an unsupervised clustering for stratification of this polygonal tundra landscape and used the clusters for segregating the field data for our upscaling algorithm over our study region, which was an inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation. We describe two versions of PFT distribution maps upscaled by IDW from WorldView-2 imagery and LiDAR: (1) a version computed from a single image in the middle of the growing season; and (2) a version computed from multiple images through the growing season. This approach allowed us to quantify the value of phenology for improving PFT distribution estimates. We also evaluated the representativeness of the field surveys by measuring the Euclidean distance between every pixel. This guided the ground-truthing campaign in late July of 2014 for addressing uncertainty based on representativeness analysis by selecting 24 1 m 1 m plots that were well and poorly represented. Ground-truthing indicated that including phenology had a better accuracy (R2=0.75, RMSE=9.94) than the single image upscaling (R2=0.63 , RMSE=12.05) predicted from IDW. We also updated our upscaling approach to include the 24 ground-truthing plots, and a second ground-truthing campaign in late August of 2014 indicated a better accuracy for the phenology model (R2=0.61 , RMSE=13.78 ) than only using the original 48 plots for the phenology model (R2=0.23 , RMSE=17.49). After all, we believe that the cluster-based IDW upscaling approach and the representativeness analysis offer new insights for upscaling high-resolution data in fragmented landscapes. This analysis and approach provides PFT maps needed to inform land surface models in Arctic ecosystems.},
doi = {10.3390/rs8090733},
journal = {Remote Sensing},
number = 9,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

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  • Multi-scale modeling of Arctic tundra vegetation requires characterization of the heterogeneous tundra landscape, which includes representation of distinct plant functional types (PFTs). We combined high-resolution multi-spectral remote sensing imagery from the WorldView-2 satellite with light detecting and ranging (LiDAR)-derived digital elevation models (DEM) to characterize the tundra landscape in and around the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO), a 3021-hectare research reserve located at the northern edge of the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain. Vegetation surveys were conducted during the growing season (June August) of 2012 from 48 1 m 1 m plots in the study region for estimating the percent cover ofmore » PFTs (i.e., sedges, grasses, forbs, shrubs, lichens and mosses). Statistical relationships were developed between spectral and topographic remote sensing characteristics and PFT fractions at the vegetation plots from field surveys. These derived relationships were employed to statistically upscale PFT fractions for our study region of 586 hectares at 0.25-m resolution around the sampling areas within the BEO, which was bounded by the LiDAR footprint. We employed an unsupervised clustering for stratification of this polygonal tundra landscape and used the clusters for segregating the field data for our upscaling algorithm over our study region, which was an inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation. We describe two versions of PFT distribution maps upscaled by IDW from WorldView-2 imagery and LiDAR: (1) a version computed from a single image in the middle of the growing season; and (2) a version computed from multiple images through the growing season. This approach allowed us to quantify the value of phenology for improving PFT distribution estimates. We also evaluated the representativeness of the field surveys by measuring the Euclidean distance between every pixel. This guided the ground-truthing campaign in late July of 2014 for addressing uncertainty based on representativeness analysis by selecting 24 1 m x 1 m plots that were well and poorly represented. Ground-truthing indicated that including phenology had a better accuracy (R 2 = 0.75, RMSE = 9.94) than the single image upscaling (R 2 = 0.63, RMSE = 12.05) predicted from IDW.We also updated our upscaling approach to include the 24 ground-truthing plots, and a second ground-truthing campaign in late August of 2014 indicated a better accuracy for the phenology model (R 2 = 0.61, RMSE = 13.78) than only using the original 48 plots for the phenology model (R 2 = 0.23, RMSE = 17.49). We believe that the cluster-based IDW upscaling approach and the representativeness analysis offer new insights for upscaling high-resolution data in fragmented landscapes. This analysis and approach provides PFT maps needed to inform land surface models in Arctic ecosystems.« less
  • Arctic ecosystems have been observed to be warming faster than the global average and are predicted to experience accelerated changes in climate due to global warming. Arctic vegetation is particularly sensitive to warming conditions and likely to exhibit shifts in species composition, phenology and productivity under changing climate. Mapping and monitoring of changes in vegetation is essential to understand the effect of climate change on the ecosystem functions. Vegetation exhibits unique spectral characteristics which can be harnessed to discriminate plant types and develop quantitative vegetation indices. We have combined high resolution multi-spectral remote sensing from the WorldView 2 satellite withmore » LIDAR-derived digital elevation models to characterize the tundra landscape on the North Slope of Alaska. Classification of landscape using spectral and topographic characteristics yields spatial regions with expectedly similar vegetation characteristics. A field campaign was conducted during peak growing season to collect vegetation harvests from a number of 1m x 1m plots in the study region, which were then analyzed for distribution of vegetation types in the plots. Statistical relationships were developed between spectral and topographic characteristics and vegetation type distributions at the vegetation plots. These derived relationships were employed to statistically upscale the vegetation distributions for the landscape based on spectral characteristics. Vegetation distributions developed are being used to provide Plant Functional Type (PFT) maps for use in the Community Land Model (CLM).« less
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