Geophysical Imaging of Permafrost Dynamics

Susan Hubbard

barrow-montageImproving climate change prediction in high latitude systems requires an accurate understanding of both continuous and threshold-dominated permafrost dynamics. Quantifying permafrost dynamics is challenging due to the need to characterize subsurface controls over large spatial regions, in high resolution, and with minimal disturbance to fragile terrestrial ecosystems. To improve such quantification, we are exploring the utility of surface geophysical data for characterizing active layer and permafrost variability and for monitoring biogeochemical changes associated with freeze-thaw processes and carbon degradation. Quantifying linkages between subsurface and land surface variability and development of multi-scale estimation approaches are expected to contribute to an improved understanding of how permafrost dynamics impact carbon cycling and energy balance in high latitude systems.


  • Dafflon, B., S. S. Hubbard, C. Ulrich, J. E. Peterson, Y. Wu, H. M. Wainwright, and T. J. Kneafsey (2016), Geophysical estimation of shallow permafrost distribution and properties in an ice-wedge polygon-dominated Arctic tundra region, Geophysics, 81(1), WA247–WA263, doi:10.1190/geo2015-0175.1. (article)
  • Öktem, R., B. Dafflon, J. E. Peterson, and S. S. Hubbard (2015), Monitoring Arctic landscape variation by pole and kite mounted cameras, Image Processing: Machine Vision Applications VIII, Proc. of SPIE-IS&T Electronic Imaging, SPIE, 9405,0940505, doi:10.1117/12.2083403. (article)
  • Gangodagamage, C., J. C. Rowland, S. S. Hubbard, S. P. Brumby,  A. K. Liljedahl, H. Wainwright, C. J. Wilson, G. L. Altmann, B. Dafflon, J. Peterson, C. Ulrich, C. E. Tweedie, and S. D. Wullschleger (2014), Extrapolating active layer thickness measurements across Arctic polygonal terrain using LiDAR and NDVI data sets, Water Resources Research, 1944-7973, doi:10.1002/2013WR014283.  (article)
  • Dafflon, B., Hubbard, S.S., Ulrich, C., and Peterson, J.E., 2013, Electrical Conductivity Imaging of Active Layer and Permafrost in an Arctic Ecosystem, through Advanced Inversion of Electromagnetic Induction Data: Vadose Zone Journal, v. 12, doi: 10.2136/vzj2012.0161. (article)
  • Hubbard, S.S., Gangodagamage, C., Dafflon, B., Wainwright, H., Peterson, J., Gusmeroli, A., Ulrich, C., Wu, Y., Wilson, C., Rowland, J., Tweedie, C., and Wullschleger, S.D., 2012, Quantifying and relating land-surface and subsurface variability in permafrost environments using LiDAR and surface geophysical datasets: Hydrogeology Journal, v. 21, p. 149–169, doi: 10.1007/s10040-012-0939-y. (article)
  • Wu, Y., Hubbard, S.S., Ulrich, C., and Wullschleger, S.D., 2013, Remote Monitoring of Freeze–Thaw Transitions in Arctic Soils Using the Complex Resistivity Method: Vadose Zone Journal, v. 12, doi: 10.2136/vzj2012.0062. (article)



NGEE Trip to Alaska 2011

NGEE Trip to Alaska 2011