Hydrological Remote Sensing

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, remote sensing, soil chemistry, thaw slump

Principal Investigator: Berg, Aaron A (3)
Licence Number: 16344
Organization: University of Guelph
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017 2016
Issued: Jun 29, 2018
Project Team: Simon Zwieback (Researcher, Univ. of Guelph), Qianyu Chang (Student, Univ. of Guelph)

Objective(s): To monitor the spatial variability of soil moisture at approximately a 10km resolution in the region of Trail Valley Creek (TVC); to test the soil moisture retrieval algorithms in high organic soils through both satellite based measurements; and, to measure and model the mass wasting at retrogressive thaw slumps as a function of debris thickness and moisture content near TVC.

Project Description: Our research has three main objectives:
1. to monitor the spatial variability of soil moisture at approximately a 10km resolution in the region of Trail Valley Creek (TVC);
2. to test the soil moisture retrieval algorithms in high organic soils through both satellite based measurements; and,
3. to measure and model the mass wasting at retrogressive thaw slumps as a function of debris thickness and moisture content near TVC.

To achieve the first two objectives, soil moisture monitoring probes will be installed at both the Upper Plateau and Main Met sites at TVC. At each location 5 sites will be installed with sensors placed at depths of 5cm, 10cm and 20cm and connected to a datalogger and solar panel. These stations will be installed in July, depending on the depth of the permafrost. The monitoring sites will remain installed until the beginning to mid-September when they will be removed. The installation process involves digging a hole to a depth suitable for the installation of the 20cm sensor. Soil cores will also be extracted at each depth and will be used to create a site-specific calibration of the sensors (calibration will be conducted at the University of Guelph). Each monitoring site has little to no influence on the natural environment.

For objective 3 the research team will equip two retrogressive thaw slumps with temperature sensors (inside the debris-covered headwall and contact-less thermal infrared probes). By combining these temperature measurements with geodetic measurements (terrestrial laser scanner, GPS, ablation stakes) and measurements of debris moisture, the research team will quantify how debris cover protects the ice as a function of moisture content, thus stabilizing thaw slumps. The identification of the thaw slumps will be based on helicopter reconnaissance. Three helicopter visits for conducting terrestrial laser scanning are envisioned. These data will also be an important baseline for quantifying how increased rainfall, which can evacuate the protective debris veneer, can accelerate thaw slump activity.

Researchers are available for public presentations upon request. The soil moisture monitoring network will require assistance for installation, removal and maintenance. These processes will require the assistance of local personnel who are or will be trained for the necessary tasks. A synthesis of data collected can be provided to the Aurora Research Institute upon completion.

The results of this study will mainly be communicated through peer-reviewed journal articles and through national and international conference presentations. Publications will be made available to all parties interested. There is also the possibility of local presentations made by the local research associate.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 1, 2018 to September 8, 2018.