Using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquired over a six-week period by the Japanese Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS), scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center have just completed the first-of-its-kind, large-scale, wall-to-wall image mosaic at 25 m resolution for a portion of the Amazon basin spanning some 400,000 square kilometers.
Images acquired globally over narrow timeframes provide for true “snapshots” of deforestation activities, giving leverage to monitoring programs that hinge on timely and accurate observations of forests throughout the world.
Dr. Josef Kellndorfer, who is leading the project for the Center, says, “The Japanese Space Agency JAXA has launched an amazing sensor which exhibits unprecedented geometric and radiometric accuracies allowing us to generate high quality cloud free radar image mosaics with nearly no user interaction required. The ALOS observation plan will ensure, that these high-resolution data are acquired several times per year for years to come. With a strong sensitivity of the ALOS radar imaging sensor to vegetation structure, this marks a new era in remote sensing of natural resources.”
The image mosaic is a composite of 116 individual scenes acquired by the Phased Array L-Band SAR (PALSAR) carried on board ALOS. The acquisition was made over the Xingu basin in Mato Grosso, Brazil, between June 8 and July 22, 2007. From the mosaic, Dr. Kellndorfer’s group has generated a preliminary land cover classification with emphasis on producing an accurate forest/nonforest map. In the forested areas, the sensitivity of the PALSAR data to differences in aboveground biomass is also being investigated in collaboration with the Amazon Institute of Environmental Research (IPAM).
“The area that is mapped with the mosaic of images centers on the headwaters of the Xingu River, one of the Amazon’s mighty tributaries. The indigenous groups, soy farmers, smallholders, and ranchers that live in this region are top candidates to receive payments for reducing their carbon emissions. Where this has previously taken us several months to prepare, this new mosaic took only a few days, a turnaround window that carries real significance.” says Woods Hole Research Center senior scientist Daniel Nepstad.
The mosaic marks the dawn of a new era in global Earth observation because it demonstrates the unprecedented ability of the ALOS/PALSAR to deliver high-resolution (~20 meters), regional- to continental-scale image acquisitions over narrow time frames (6-8 weeks) and through dense cloud cover and precipitation.
Ake Rosenqvist, who was instrumental in the design of the ALOS/PALSAR observation strategy at JAXA points out that “given the regional-scale nature of climate change and environmental degradation, the importance of undertaking systematic observations cannot be overly emphasized. With this in mind, the PALSAR observation strategy has been designed to provide consistent, wall-to-wall observations at fine resolution of all land areas on the Earth on a repetitive basis, in a manner that has earlier been conceived only for coarse and medium resolution instruments. ALOS is a pathfinder in this context and we hope that other space agencies and satellite providers will follow suit.”
Masanobu Shimada, who is the ALOS Science Project Manager at JAXA, states, “We are very pleased to have ALOS in orbit and operating exceptionally well. One of the main objectives of the ALOS mission is to support global forest monitoring needs. We are excited to see that the data are now being acquired operationally, and that important scientific results can be produced.”
Dr. Kellndorfer officially unveiled this new product at the international ALOS Principal Investigator symposium in Kyoto, Japan, on Monday, November 19. The mosaic and the implications of ALOS as an additional global forest monitoring tool for REDD negotiations at the UNFCC meeting in Bali are being shared with NGOs, governments, policymakers, and other organizations prior to the conference so that the findings can be included in preparations and proposals.
Elizabeth Braun | EurekAlert!
Making Oceans Plastic Free - Project tackles the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans
31.05.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
Nitrogen Oxides Emissions: Traffic Dramatically Underestimated as Major Polluter
31.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.
New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
22.06.2017 | Life Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences