Multiscale Variability and the Comparison of Ground and Satellite Radar Based Measures of Peatland Surface Motion for Peatland Monitoring

Christopher Marshall, Roxane Andersen, Peter J. Gilbert, David J. Large, Stuart Marsh, Henk Pieter Sterk, Andrew Sowter, Andrew Bradley

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Abstract

Peatland surface motion is highly diagnostic of peatland condition. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) can measure this at the landscape scale but requires ground validation. This necessitates upscaling from point to areal measures (80 × 90 m) but is hampered by a lack of data regarding the spatial variability of peat surface motion characteristics. Using a nested precise leveling approach within two areas of upland and low-lying blanket peatland within the Flow Country, Scotland, we examine the multiscale variability of peat surface motion. We then compare this with InSAR timeseries data. We find that peat surface motion varies at multiple scales within blanket peatland with decreasing dynamism with height above the water table e.g., hummocks < lawn < hollows. This trend is dependent upon a number of factors including ecohydrology, pool size/density, peat density, and slope. At the site scale motion can be grouped into central, marginal, and upland peatlands with each showing characteristic amplitude, peak timing, and response to climate events. Ground measurements which incorporate local variability show good comparability with satellite radar derived timeseries. However, current limitations of phase unwrapping in interferometry means that during an extreme drought/event InSAR readings can only qualitatively replicate peat movement in the most dynamic parts of the peatland e.g., pool systems, quaking bog.
Original languageEnglish
Article number336
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022

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