Monitoring of Palsa Mires Using VHR Satellite Data in Combination with aerial Laserscanning


The project aim is to develop a method that uses very high-resolution satellite data in combination with a high-resolution terrain model to detect and monitor changes in palsa mires, a mire type that can be expected to be sensitive to climate changes. Palsa mires occur, besides in Sweden, in northern Norway, Finland, Russia, Canada and Alaska, and a method for detecting changes over these vast areas may be of interest for application of a broader community.

The project is a 2-year project, which is carried out in co-operation with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the County Administration of Norrbotten and the County Administration of Dalarna. The project will initially be carried out in the palsa mire area Taavavuoma (68°30’N, 20°45’E), in northern Lapland. During 2010 these data together with field data, which were collected during summer 2009, will be used to analyse the different palsa stages to develop a method for monitoring palsa mires.

The following work will be carried out during 2010:

·     Continued field data collection in Taavavuoma and in some of the other palsa areas of interest which have been laser scanned.

·     Evaluation of the repeatability of the detailed terrain model in Taavavuoma.

·     Analysis of vegetation data in QuickBird, IKONOS and KOMPSAT data with focus on separating the different palsa stages.

·     Analysis of vegetation data combined with the detailed terrain model.

·     Method development.

·     Classification tests and evaluation of QuickBird, IKONOS and KOMPSAT data for separating different palsa stages.

·     Change analysis and comparison with Wramner (1963; 1973).

·     Preliminary evaluation of the dependence on the recording date.

·     Preliminary analysis and evaluation of how old aerial photographs can be used and included in the concept.

·     User evaluation and recommendation.

·     Status reporting.

·     Scientific article.

During 2011 the method will be tested and verified in some other key palsa areas.

If satellite data by means of vegetation analysis can be used to classify the different palsa stages between years and thus be used to indicate changes on the palsas, the relatively costly laser scanning can be restricted to areas where changes on the palsas have been indicated. A method based on satellite data also makes possible analysis over vast areas in a cost-effective way considering the other countries were palsa mires occur. The County Administration of Norrbotten, the County Administration of Dalarna, and the SEPA give the user requirements and take active part in providing field data, evaluate the results, and give user recommendations.

Points of contact

Vattenfall Power Consultant:

Laine Boresjö Bronge,,

Thomas Hedvall,

Kjell Wester,

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency:

Johan Abenius,

The County Administration of Norrbotten:

Susanne Backe,

Senast uppdaterad: 2 maj 2010