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    Very high spatial resolution commercial satellite imagery can inform observation, mapping, and documentation of micro-topographic transitions across large tundra regions. The bridging of fine-scale field studies with pan-Arctic system assessments has until now been constrained by a lack of overlap in spatial resolution and geographical coverage. This likely introduced biases in climate impacts on, and feedback from the Arctic region to the global climate system. The central objective of this exploratory study is to develop an object-based image analysis workflow to automatically extract ice-wedge polygon troughs from very high spatial resolution commercial satellite imagery. We employed a systematic experiment to understand the degree of interoperability of knowledge-based workflows across distinct tundra vegetation units—sedge tundra and tussock tundra—focusing on the same semantic class. In our multi-scale trough modelling workflow, we coupled mathematical morphological filtering with a segmentation process to enhance the quality of image object candidates and classification accuracies. Employment of the master ruleset on sedge tundra reported classification accuracies of correctness of 0.99, completeness of 0.87, and F1 score of 0.92. When the master ruleset was applied to tussock tundra without any adaptations, classification accuracies remained promising while reporting correctness of 0.87, completeness of 0.77, and an F1 score of 0.81. Overall, results suggest that the object-based image analysis-based trough modelling workflow exhibits substantial interoperability across the terrain while producing promising classification accuracies. From an Arctic earth science perspective, the mapped troughs combined with the ArcticDEM can allow hydrological assessments of lateral connectivity of the rapidly changing Arctic tundra landscape, and repeated mapping can allow us to track fine-scale changes across large regions and that has potentially major implications on larger riverine systems. 
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  4. Deep learning (DL) convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been rapidly adapted in very high spatial resolution (VHSR) satellite image analysis. DLCNN-based computer visions (CV) applications primarily aim for everyday object detection from standard red, green, blue (RGB) imagery, while earth science remote sensing applications focus on geo object detection and classification from multispectral (MS) imagery. MS imagery includes RGB and narrow spectral channels from near- and/or middle-infrared regions of reflectance spectra. The central objective of this exploratory study is to understand to what degree MS band statistics govern DLCNN model predictions. We scaffold our analysis on a case study that uses Arctic tundra permafrost landform features called ice-wedge polygons (IWPs) as candidate geo objects. We choose Mask RCNN as the DLCNN architecture to detect IWPs from eight-band Worldview-02 VHSR satellite imagery. A systematic experiment was designed to understand the impact on choosing the optimal three-band combination in model prediction. We tasked five cohorts of three-band combinations coupled with statistical measures to gauge the spectral variability of input MS bands. The candidate scenes produced high model detection accuracies for the F1 score, ranging between 0.89 to 0.95, for two different band combinations (coastal blue, blue, green (1,2,3) and green, yellow, red (3,4,5)). The mapping workflow discerned the IWPs by exhibiting low random and systematic error in the order of 0.17–0.19 and 0.20–0.21, respectively, for band combinations (1,2,3). Results suggest that the prediction accuracy of the Mask-RCNN model is significantly influenced by the input MS bands. Overall, our findings accentuate the importance of considering the image statistics of input MS bands and careful selection of optimal bands for DLCNN predictions when DLCNN architectures are restricted to three spectral channels. 
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