Dataset for Assessing volumetric change distributions and scaling relations of thaw slumps across the Arctic

Bernhard, Philipp; Zwieback, Simon; Bergner, Nora; and Hajnsek, Irena

Arctic ice-rich permafrost is becoming increasingly vulnerable to terrain-altering thermokarst, and among the most rapid and dramatic of these changes are retrogressive thaw slumps (RTSs). They initiate when ice-rich soils are exposed and thaw, leading to the formation of a steep headwall which retreats during the summer months. The impacts and the distribution and scaling laws governing RTS changes within and between regions are unknown. Using TanDEM-X-derived digital elevation models, we estimated RTS volume and area changes over a 5-year time period from winter 2011/12 to winter 2016/17 and used for the first time probability density functions to describe their distributions. We found that over this time period all 1853 RTSs mobilized a combined volume of 17×10⁶ m³ yr⁻¹, corresponding to a volumetric change density of 77 m³ yr⁻¹ km⁻². Our remote sensing data reveal inter-regional differences in mobilized volumes, scaling laws, and terrain controls. The distributions of RTS area and volumetric change rates follow an inverse gamma function with a distinct peak and an exponential decrease for the largest RTSs. We found that the distributions in the high Arctic are shifted towards larger values than at other study sites We observed that the area-to-volume scaling was well described by a power law with an exponent of 1.15 across all study sites; however the individual sites had scaling exponents ranging from 1.05 to 1.37, indicating that regional characteristics need to be taken into account when estimating RTS volumetric changes from area changes. Among the terrain controls on RTS distributions that we examined, which included slope, adjacency to waterbodies, and aspect, the latter showed the greatest but regionally variable association with RTS occurrence. Accounting for the observed regional differences in volumetric change distributions, scaling relations, and terrain controls may enhance the modelling and monitoring of Arctic carbon, nutrient, and sediment cycles.

Citation

In order to use these data, you must cite this data set with the following citation:

Bernhard, P., Zwieback, S., Bergner, N., and Hajnsek, I.: Assessing volumetric change distributions and scaling relations of retrogressive thaw slumps across the Arctic, The Cryosphere, 16, 1–15, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-16-1-2022, 2022.

Contact

Bernhard, Philipp

Metadata Access

DCAT in RDF/XML-Format

DCAT in Turtle-Format

DCAT in JSON-LD-Format

APGC Dataset Metadata in JSON-Format

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Identifier DOI:10.3929/ethz-b-000482449
Project(s)
Institute ETH Zürich
Source https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000482449
Publication Date 2021-05-04
Version 1.0
Product retrogressive thaw slumps dataset
Sensor TanDEM-X
Files
  1. Readme.txt
  2. RTS_data_Inventory.csv
  3. RTS_data_Location.kml
Variables [Units]
  1. Area: Study region name
  2. RTSID: Numbers of RTS starting from 1 in each study region
  3. location_center_lat: Latitude degree of RTS location
  4. location_center_lon: Longitude degree of RTS location
  5. change_vol_year: yearly average volumetric change rate [m² yr⁻¹]
  6. change_area_year: yearly average area change rate [m² yr⁻¹]
  7. dem_avg_slope: mean slope in degree
  8. dem_aspect: Aspect of RTS (0° (=East), 90° (North), 180° (=West), 270° (=South))
  9. dem_elevation: Elevation from DEM
  10. location: lakeshore or hillslope
Region Circum-Arctic
Spatial Reference EPSG:4326 WGS 84
Spatial Resolution
Spatial Coverage Latitude 65.87 to 80.00 Longitude -178.84 to 100.24
Temporal Coverage 2011-2017
Temporal Resolution winter period
Format Shapefile, CSV
Is Supplement to Bernhard, P., Zwieback, S., Bergner, N., and Hajnsek, I.: Assessing volumetric change distributions and scaling relations of retrogressive thaw slumps across the Arctic, The Cryosphere, 16, 1–15, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-16-1-2022, 2022.

Dataset extent

Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors