InSAR detects increase in surface subsidence caused by an Arctic tundra fire

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 



Wildfire is a major disturbance in the Arctic tundra and boreal forests, having a significant impact on soil hydrology, carbon cycling, and permafrost dynamics. This study explores the use of the microwave Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to map and quantify ground surface subsidence caused by the Anaktuvuk River fire on the North Slope of Alaska. We detected an increase of up to 8 cm of thaw-season ground subsidence after the fire, which is due to a combination of thickened active layer and permafrost thaw subsidence. Our results illustrate the effectiveness and potential of using InSAR to quantify fire impacts on the Arctic tundra, especially in regions underlain by ice-rich permafrost. Our study also suggests that surface subsidence is a more comprehensive indicator of fire impacts on ice-rich permafrost terrain than changes in active layer thickness alone.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title InSAR detects increase in surface subsidence caused by an Arctic tundra fire
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1002/2014GL060533
Volume 41
Issue 11
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Geophysical Research Letters
First page 3906
Last page 3913
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Anaktuvuk River;North Slope Of Alaska
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