open access publication

Preprint, 2023

A new habitat map of the Lena Delta in Arctic Siberia based on field and remote sensing datasets

In: EGUsphere, Volume 2023, Pages 1-30, 10.5194/essd-2023-36

Contributors (13)

Lisovski, Simeon (0000-0002-6399-0035) [1] [2] Runge, Alexandra (0000-0001-5047-0105) [1] [2] Shevtsova, Iuliia A (0000-0002-6287-9431) [2] Landgraf, Nele [3] Morgenstern, Anne (0000-0002-6466-7571) [2] Okoth, Ronald Reagan [2] [4] Fuchs, Matthias (0000-0003-3529-8284) [2] Lashchinskiy, Nikolay N (0000-0002-4196-7619) [5] [6] Stadie, Carl [2] [7] [8] Beamish, Alison Leslie [9] Herzschuh, Ulrike (0000-0003-0999-1261) [2] [10] Grosse, Guido (0000-0001-5895-2141) [2] [10] Heim, Birgit (0000-0003-2614-9391) [2]


  1. [1] Both authors contributed equally.
  2. [2] Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  3. [NORA names: Germany; Europe, EU; OECD]
  4. [3] Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  5. [NORA names: Germany; Europe, EU; OECD]
  6. [4] University of Würzburg
  7. [NORA names: Germany; Europe, EU; OECD]
  8. [5] Central Siberian Botanical Garden
  9. [NORA names: Russia; Europe, Non-EU]


The Lena Delta is the largest river delta in the Arctic (about 30 000 km2) and prone to rapid changes due to climate warming, associated cryosphere loss and ecological shifts. The delta is characterized by ice-rich permafrost landscapes and consists of geologically and geomorphologically diverse terraces covered with tundra vegetation and of active floodplains, featuring approximately 6 500 km of channels and over 30 000 lakes. Because of its broad landscape and habitat diversity the delta is a biodiversity hotspot with high numbers of nesting and breeding migratory birds, fish, caribou and other mammals and was designated a State Nature Reserve in 1995. Characterizing plant composition, above ground biomass and application of field spectroscopy was a major focus of a 2018 expedition to the delta. These field data collections were linked to Sentinel-2 satellite data to upscale local patterns in land cover and associated habitats to the entire delta. Here, we describe multiple field datasets collected in the Lena Delta during summer 2018 including foliage projective cover (Shevtsova et al., 2021a), above ground biomass (Shevtsova et al., 2021b), and hyperspectral field measurements (Runge et al., 2022, We further describe a detailed Sentinel-2 satellite image-based classification of habitat types for the central Lena Delta (Landgraf et al., 2022), an upscaled classification for the entire Lena Delta (Lisovski et al., 2022), as well as a synthesis product for disturbance regimes (Heim and Lisovski, 2023, in the delta that is based on the classification, the described datasets, and field expertise. We present context and detailed methods of these openly available datasets and show how they can improve our understanding of the rapidly changing Arctic tundra system. The new Lena Delta habitat distribution dataset represents a first baseline against which future observations can be compared. With the link between such detailed habitat type classifications and disturbance regimes future upscaling efforts may provide a better understanding of how Arctic lowland landscapes will respond to climate change and how this will impact land surface processes.


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  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research