Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Monitoring Peat from Earth, Space

27.01.2010
A team of UK scientists led by Dr. Karen Newswise — Anderson (University of Exeter) has developed a new technique for monitoring the condition of peatlands. The team used a combination of images captured from Earth and space to measure spatial patterning in peatland surfaces as an indicator of their condition. This new method uses a novel coupled approach, using satellite images from space and airborne laser scanning data, and has resulted in improved peatland mapping products.

This new method could help monitor the damage that is being done to peatlands through human activity. Such disruption is contributing to global warming, as peatlands can release the carbon they absorb and store if they are damaged by drainage or peat extraction processes. This research, which appears in the January-February 2010 issue of Journal of Environmental Quality, reports that airborne laser scanning instruments are capable of measuring fine-scale peatland structures such as hummocks and hollows that typically measure less than four meters in size.

Lowland rainfed peatlands are recognized as being a globally important environmental resource because they absorb and store carbon. Their unique plant communities and their inherent wetness control their ability to act as carbon stores, but when human disturbance disrupts their surface structure, greenhouse gases are released instead. Many peatlands across the world are affected by drainage, peat removal and ecological disturbance so scientists have been working to develop a robust spatial method for monitoring peatland condition. Remote sensing techniques (where images from satellites in space are analyzed) provide a likely route for this.

The research team used data from an airborne “LiDAR,” a laser-scanning instrument, alongside data from the IKONOS satellite. They showed that when LiDAR data were combined with optical images collected from satellites, a powerful method for spatial mapping of peatland quality could be achieved.

The paper shows how use of a structural-based approach improved capabilities for mapping and monitoring peatland condition with an improvement in accuracy from 71.8% (without structural estimates) to 88.0% when airborne LiDAR data (which had been spatially preprocessed using a technique called semivariogram analysis) were used. This new approach offers an improved, physically based method for automated peatland condition mapping.

As Dr. Anderson, who led the study, noted, “This work is the first to demonstrate that peatland structures, which are linked to hydrological status and condition, can be measured using remote sensing techniques. Our approach enabled us to draw out the differences in surface pattern across the peatland and resulted in an improved mapping product which is useful for scientists, peatland managers, statutory conservation agencies, and for policy makers.”

Research is ongoing at the University of Exeter to investigate broader application of the method to other peatland sites, including an assessment of spaceborne imaging capabilities for global peatland monitoring. The ongoing work will also look at other types of peatlands, including upland peats, which show similar spatial patterning. This work was funded through a UK Natural Environment Research Council research grant to Karen Anderson (2008) and involved scientists from the University of Exeter, University of Southampton, University of East London, and Natural England.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/39/1/260.

The Journal of Environmental Quality, http://jeq.scijournals.org is a peer-reviewed, international journal of environmental quality in natural and agricultural ecosystems published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The Journal of Environmental Quality covers various aspects of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including terrestrial, atmospheric, and aquatic systems.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction
26.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds
25.07.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses

Spectrally narrow x-ray pulses may be “sharpened” by purely mechanical means. This sounds surprisingly, but a team of theoretical and experimental physicists developed and realized such a method. It is based on fast motions, precisely synchronized with the pulses, of a target interacting with the x-ray light. Thereby, photons are redistributed within the x-ray pulse to the desired spectral region.

A team of theoretical physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg has developed a novel method to intensify the spectrally broad x-ray...

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D imaging reveals how human cell nucleus organizes DNA and chromatin of its genome

28.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heavy metals in water meet their match

28.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Oestrogen regulates pathological changes of bones via bone lining cells

28.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>