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Wang, Lingxiao; Jolivel, Maxime; Marzahn, Philip; Bernier, Monique and Ludwig, Ralf (2018): Thermokarst pond dynamics in subarctic environment monitoring with radar remote sensing. In: Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Vol. 29, No. 4: pp. 231-245

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Permafrost degradation can be monitored through changes in the surface area and depth of thermokarst ponds. Radar remote sensing allows for discrimination of thermokarst ponds of different depths across large areas because different water depths produce different ice regimes in winter. In this study, patterns in the spatial distribution of ice-cover regimes of thermokarst ponds in a typical discontinuous permafrost region are first revealed. Correlations of these ice-cover regimes with the permafrost degradation states and thermokarst pond development in two historical phases were analyzed and compared. The results indicate that the ice-cover regimes of thermokarst ponds are affected by soil texture, permafrost degradation stage and permafrost depth. Permafrost degradation is difficult to assess directly from the coverage area of floating-ice ponds and the percentage of all thermokarst ponds consisting of such floating-ice ponds in a single year. Therefore, continuous monitoring of ice-cover regimes and surface areas can help to elucidate the hydrological trajectory of the thermokarst process and permafrost state.

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