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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
01 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript for further review has not been submitted.
Terrestrial laser scanning for quantifying small-scale vertical movements of the ground surface in Artic permafrost regions
Sabrina Marx1, Katharina Anders1, Sofia Antonova2, Inga Beck1, Julia Boike2, Philip Marsh3, Moritz Langer2,4, and Bernhard Höfle1,5 1GIScience, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, 69120 Germany
2Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, 14473, Germany
3Cold Regions Research Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, N2L 3C5, ON, Canada
4Department of Geography, Humboldt-University, Berlin, 10099, Germany
5Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE), Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, 69120, Germany
Abstract. Three-dimensional data acquired by terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) provides an accurate representation of Earth's surface, which is commonly used to detect and quantify topographic changes on a small scale. However, in Arctic permafrost regions the tundra vegetation and the micro-topography have significant effects on the surface representation in the captured dataset. The resulting spatial sampling of the ground is never identical between two TLS surveys. Thus, monitoring of heave and subsidence in the context of permafrost processes are challenging. This study evaluates TLS for quantifying small-scale vertical movements in an area located within the continuous permafrost zone, 50 km north-east of Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada. We propose a novel filter strategy, which accounts for spatial sampling effects and identifies TLS points suitable for multi-temporal deformation analyses. Further important prerequisites must be met, such as accurate co-registration of the TLS datasets. We found that if the ground surface is captured by more than one TLS scan position, plausible subsidence rates (up to mm-scale) can be derived; compared to e.g. standard raster-based DEM difference maps which contain change rates strongly affected by sampling effects.
Citation: Marx, S., Anders, K., Antonova, S., Beck, I., Boike, J., Marsh, P., Langer, M., and Höfle, B.: Terrestrial laser scanning for quantifying small-scale vertical movements of the ground surface in Artic permafrost regions, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Sabrina Marx et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
RC1: 'Review of esurf-2017-49', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Aug 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC1: 'Response to RC1', Sabrina Marx, 14 Nov 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
RC2: 'TLS assessment of permafrost change', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Oct 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC2: 'Response to RC2', Sabrina Marx, 14 Nov 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
Sabrina Marx et al.
Sabrina Marx et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Global climate warming causes permafrost to warm and thaw, and, consequently, to release the carbon into the atmosphere. Terrestrial laser scanning is evaluated and current methods are extended in the context of monitoring subsidence in Arctic permafrost regions. The extracted information is important to gain a deeper understanding of permafrost-related subsidence processes and provides highly accurate ground-truth data which is necessary for further developing area-wide monitoring methods.
Global climate warming causes permafrost to warm and thaw, and, consequently, to release the...